I honestly relished the opportunity to cover more J.R Bookwalter, really genuinely relished it. after spending damn near a month covering his early works and the infamous “SOV Six Pack” I felt like this was very much the “Spiderman Far From Home” to the six packs “Avengers Endgame” And honestly? I absolutely was NOT dissapointed.
It really felt like, after the six pack, Bookwalter had burnt out and REALLY wanted to recenter, refocus, reprioritise and give his absolute ALL to whatever he made next. and when I tell you that I think this is arguably one of (if not THE) best film J.R has made, and I would be MORE than happy to say its one of (if not THE) best SOV film ever produced. I am not saying that lightly. this films exceptional in its field, really honestly exceptional. And each day your not sat in front of this for the first time is a sadder day my friend. so hop to it!
There are more Bookwalter films out there to cover, and believe me; when they get a bluray release, you better believe i’ll be right there DAY ONE to buy and cover them. I dont know if he’s going to re-release all his films, but i’ll cover as many as I can get my hands on!
Well! as part of my exploration into the life and career of J.R Bookwalter I sat down with some VERY pleasent people and we took a look at “Chick Boxer” one of the most notorious films in the “SOV Six Pack” collection. it was a real blast hanging with these guys and I really hope we get to do it again soon!
If you enjoy hearing my friends screams of pain you can find much more of their work at the below links:
Now this. This charts the point where I feel that J.R and what was left of the cast and crew realised the SOV six pack project was well and truely on a hiding to nothing. Not only did the budget get DRASTICALLY cut to a little under $1250 PER PROJECT. but it was still the middle of a freezing Ohio winter and deadlines for these projects were rolling closer and closer.
Its understandable after the work on Chick Boxer and Maximum Impact pretty much lost J.R most of his crew, a chunk of his cast and at least a writer or two that the cart was now pulling the horse and not the other way around. I dont doubt J.R’s proficiency as a director one bit. These films would have never seen the light of day if he wasnt short of legendary in the directors seat. But it’s clear to see at this point that the project was running away with itself and things were starting to reach a head.
I mention in my review that I had a similar experience to J.R when it comes to this movie as I to made the stupid STUPID mistake to go and make a movie outdoors with a skeleton crew in the middle of a freezing winter for about a week with minimal to no supplies, and honestly the stress and the weather damn near drove us all away from ever doing anything film releated ever again. So I can only IMAGINE what J.R was dealing with when not only was he dealing with that level of craptitude but that he also had Home Cinema Video breathing down his neck to deliver a finished product. I mean, I can only compare his experience to mine, and I at least had the relief of not having to work to deadlines.
Anyway; Galaxy of the Dinosaurs is a cheap but cheerful affair. it really did give me “Red Dwarf” vibes based on the script, and I think this movie may actually be my favourite script purely from a tone and dialogue standpoint out of any of the movies featured in the six pack.
Given that Maximum impact was recorded in the same block as Chick Boxer its not surprising to hear that the film suffered similar issues to Chick Boxer. now it’s not a technical disaster like Chick Boxer is, but it DOES suffer from the issue of it being recorded around christmas time. So even though the “Professional” film makers had all piled into this project to get the job done. they were still having to deal with the uphill battle of having to contend attention wise with chirstmas and everything that came with it.
That not only mean dealing with actors who were too busy shopping to remember their lines, but they also had to deal with crew who had the same issue and plummeting tempratures across the board. it really was a terrible time to decide to make 2 movies back to back. But…these guys did it. It means that, no matter how bland or just…not quite there this film is. they still managed to power through and deliver an end product thats actually not that bad. looking back on the set i’d say that Chick Boxer was the definite low point of the set in terms of production quality. but if we plotted a graph it would show a “V” shape almost. and Maximum impact would be on the other side of that sharp dip. the films that came after this. in their own way are entertaining (if not technically lacking) but this movie? I can at least applaud it that its TRYING to be good. J.R and crew hadnt thrown in the towel, they wanted to make this work and despite its GLARING flaws. I think I have to applaud a film that tries over one that doesnt every time.
I had a rather pleasent surprise while these reviews were going live. JR Bookwalter the man himself was doing a live stream Q&A for a new release for makeflix and I dropped in to ask a question about whether he’d ever consider getting back into directing (his answer was “never say never!” so here’s hoping for the SOV 12 pack in 2024!) but while watching he mentioned in passing that he’d actually been checking out a couple of these reviews as they dropped! which…well I was honestly quite beside myself as, while I have had the odd director, DOP, Cam Op or in one specific case producer drop by to tell me about how their movie sucked, or that they were grateful for my honesty. i’ve never had someone say that live, on video. TO ME.
Anyway; I mention that because this was the review he referenced specifically when he said he’d seen a couple of the reviews I’d done. and…if you’ve seen my review of this in advance of reading this post. you’ll know that I was not a fan of this movie…didnt care for it at all…hates a strong word but I do believe I said this movie was “The kind of film you take to a bad movie night when you dont like anyone in attendence.” which was then quoted in a tweet by J.R Bookwalter himself. POSITIVELY I might add!…but still. he hates this movie. I…didnt care for this movie. most people i’ve shown this film to (Because im an evil fuck) hated this movie. this is not a good movie. the poster and title is about as good as it gets.
In my minds eye I imagined Chick boxer to be a kind of gritty “Rocky” type flick. y’know, a young girl is bullied or harrassed or…I dunno SOMETHING happens. and she decides to “Get tough” cue several training montages and eventually said weedy girl is now a martial artist taking on the scum of the streets vigilante style, with the papers and police not really knowing what to make of her. almost like what was done in “Robot Ninja” but without the super hero costume and the scene where a guy removes and inserts weird tubes into his arm.
Instead we got…well I’ll let the review do the rest of the work.
Zombie cop is problematic but it is my favourite film in the SOV six pack. There isnt really much more I can say about that. Honestly, I thought the film was going to go one way and it surprised me very much by going in a different direction. based on the title and rough plot outlines I saw floating around online before I got into this one. I was thinking that the “Zombie” element of zombie cop was going to be played on a lot more. I was expecting visual gags of him losing limbs or having to fight the urges to eat brains to get justice served, or other things like that. hell I was astounded at the restraint of the writer/director for not doing a scene where our hero ends up in the same shape as the Black Knight from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. I was envisioning something a bit more in line with “Dead Heat“. But instead this is kind of closer to “Robocop” with just a dash of Voodoo magic thrown in for good measure. the zombie aspects definitely present, but it’s more Aesthetic than anything else. it isnt really played on too heavily and instead a more action driven narrative is played up which I really wasnt expecting and honestly I was quite delighted in the direction it chose as I think the risk of it falling into campy oblivion by doing comedy zombie tropes would have been all be inevitable otherwise.
On a technical level this is possibly one of the best SOV movies I’ve ever seen. it’s proficient, professional for the most part and has some quite big set pieces which, given the budget, were quite the spectacle. is it perfect? no. but is it bloody good fun? absolutely.
So! after a gentle breaking in to the career of J.R Bookwalter with “Robot Ninja” and “The Dead Next Door” we now finally begin our trail down the “SOV Six Pack” a box set that, in all honesty I had zero intention of buying because I didnt know it existed until a rather helpful soul on a VERY small discord I hang out in threw a link to Makeflix while also pointing out the six pack as being a pretty decent deal for the cost (it was part of the black friday sales for that year, retailing at $50 + shipping) given that the cost of this set was usually closer to $80 at the time. I figured I’d literally blind buy this thing just to see what the crack was with it (because black friday brings out the excessive side in all of us) so! I ordered it expecting a flimsy case containing 6 Blurays with a feature and a couple of extras on each disc, and what I got instead was an ASTOUNDING piece of value for money.
this is going to sound like an advert (and I assure you I did pay for my copy. no freebies) but the design of the six pack box was nicely handled. with a clean signature from J.R himself on the back of the packing, each bluray comes with some gorgeous new cover art (As seen on each of the thumbnails in these reviews) and they’re all just…BRIMMING with extras, multiple commentary tracks, multiple making of’s trailers, marketing materials. and to top it all off this set came with full scores as CD’s AND posters of some of the new art work which, as soon as I move to a bigger property WILL get framed! (because who doesnt want a chick boxer poster on their wall!?)
Anyway! this set is a phenominal job not just on packaging and contents but on presentation as well…barring Chick boxer (which really didnt get a particularly smooth ride from an archive standpoint) all these films have been totally from the ground up remastered. they look ace. im genuinely really impressed with the work that’s gone into this set. and if it wasnt sold out i’d be telling you to go and grab it right now!
What I CAN say is that apparently single releases for all 6 films are looking likely to come out either at the end of 2021 or the start of 2022 so do keep your eyes peeled because these are films you dont want to miss!
And kicking things off is “Kingdom of the Vampire.” a film that wasnt particularly my cup of tea. But, I can at least appreciate the craftsmanship that went into producing it. this is a film where the film makers are learning to shoot SOV and it’s great to see how quickly those skills get honed.