22nd Jan2018

VOD Vault #9 – Sasq-Watch / Gun Shy

by Phil Wheat

Another week, another installment of VOD Vault – taking a look at some on-demand releases that have hit various VOD platforms recently. It’s been more than a few months since our last installment, so what say we kick off this debut edition for 2018 with two films that share something in common… Comedy!


Stars: Paul Brittain, Adam Herschman, Christine Bently, Neil Flynn, Tim Meadows, Dean J. West, Sherri Eakin, John McConnell, Chip Carriere | Written by James Weldon | Directed by Drew Hall


The legend of Bigfoot has been mined in genre movies for decades – from the cheesy exploitation films of the 70s to more recent fare such as Sightings or Bigfoot Country. However aside from THAT popular 80s family film, Bigfoot hasn’t really been the focus of cinematic comedy… Until now. Originally titled Nigel and Oscar vs. Bigfoot, Sasq-Watch gathers together a bunch of familiar faces from TV (including shows Saturday Night Live and Scrubs)  for a film that follows the all-too-familar faux-documentary format of Parks and Recreation and the films of Christopher Guest.

Sasq-Watch tells the story of two brothers, Nigel (Paul Brittain) and Oscar (Adam Herschman). The duo have been obsessed with Bigfoot ever since they saw one out their bedroom window as kids. Finally get together the funding for a sasquatch expedition, the pair set off into the woods hoping to win the Damien Hogel Foundation’s $500,000 prize – given to those who provide definitive evidence that Bigfoot is real. But when their guide bails and rival Claus (Tim Meadows) also joins the hunt, they must assemble a rag-tag crew of outdoorsmen to be first to track down the undiscovered beast…

OK, so the story is nothing new – how many films have you seen that features bunch of idiots making an idiotic plan and it failing stupendoudsly? But Sasq-Watch is less about the journey and more about the moments. Moments of ridiculous humour that had me laughing out loud, moments of sweet-natured self-discovery and moments of sheer genius… and that includes a selection of fantastic montages set to 80s metal power ballads, including the legendary “You’re The Best” from The Karate Kid. Right up my street then!

Like Christopher Guest’s oeuvre, the humour of Sasq-Watch is delivered completely deadpan; nothing is played for laughs yet the film is hilarious. Leads Paul Brittain and Adam Herschman (pictured above), as brothers Nigel and Oscar respetively, lead the cast with aplomb, with Herschman – so, so good in teen comedy Accepted – playing up to the more extreme stupidty of the situation, as he did in that aforementioned 2006 film. Yet for all his stupidity, Oscar is a loveable and delightful foil for the more stoic, more determined Nigel; and it’s their releationship, their comradery, that provides the empathic core to the film.

A refreshingly fun, stupid, yet sweet-natured comedy, Sasq-Watch is out now on DVD and digital from Screen Media Films.

Gun Shy

Stars: Antonio Banderas, Olga Kurylenko, Ben Cura, Mark Valley, David Mitchell, Aisling Loftus, Martin Dingle Wall, Emiliano Jofre, Ellie Goffe | Written and Directed by Simon West


Gun Shy follows Turk Henry; a mega platinum rock star who’s married to a supermodel and rich beyond his wildest dreams. Whilst on holiday, his wife is mysteriously abducted by a group of renegade, ship-less pirates. With little assistance from local authorities Turk is forced to embark on a mission to rescue his wife using life skills better suited to playing bass, playing the field, and partying. He is forced to navigate through deadly jungles and take on ruthless bandits in this truly hilarious, action-packed romp.

It seems that Antonio Banderas may be headed into the “Nicolas Cage” phase of his career – given that he’s appearing in more and more direct to market movies, some of which are the anithesis of what we’ve come to expect from the former Zorro. Though to be fair to Banderas, these latest movies are, unlike Cage’s oeuvre, a lot more interesting than some of his recent appearances. With Gun Shy, Antonio Banderas is an absolute revelation. Yes we’ve seen him give fun performances before – such as the tongue in cheek father role in Spy Kids – but here he seems to be channeling a Spanish version of Steel Panther or one of the members of Spinal Tap, complete with dick jokes a plenty.

Speaking of which… Gun Shy, whilst billed as an action movie in some quarters, has the same underlying tongue-in-cheek humour that made West’s Con Air so much fun, only this time it’s turned up to 11, making the film almost farcical – with some of the humour, especially that of Martin Dingle Wall’s bright-toothed mercenary, bordering on Carry On style misogny and innuendo.

Made thanks to crowdfunding, Gun Shy was never going to match the spectacle of Simon West’s other work but as a ridiculous over-the-top action comedy, the film succeeds in spades. I honestlyu could watch Antonio Banderas and Martin Dingle Wall as these two characters in a myriad of further adventures. Of course that’s probably not going to happen due to just how “out there” the humour in this film is, far too broad for mainstream audiences to appreciate. But for those – like me – who can appreciate the more stranger end of the filmic spectrum and that love wacky, outlandish films, Gun Shy fits the bill entirely.

Gun Shy is available now on iTunes, Amazon, BT, Google Play, Microsoft Store, Sky Store, Sony Playstation Store, and Virgin Movies.


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