Immortal (2008)

Rating: **
Review Date: 7/28/08
Director: Eric Jacobus, Chelsea Steffensen
Cast: Joe Henley, Chelsea Steffensen, Eric Jacobus, Gavin Merrick, Sean Grove, Amberly Bell, Nathaniel Pierson, Jake Evinger, cameo by Andy Leung

A disappointing outing from The Stunt People that reminds me way too much of my senior film project in high school. The writing and acting are painfully adolescent and the video quality is poor. On top of that, the CGI effects are downright embarrassing and should have been toned down considerably. For better or worse, it's played completely straight and isn't hamstrung by the goofy humor of their previous films, "Undercut" (2006) and "Contour" (2006). Three people are chosen to learn the elemental martial arts and become immortal, but only one of them is worthy of the burden it brings. Cory (Joe Henley) is a reluctant boxer in training, Alex (Chelsea Steffensen) is a ballet dancer, and David (Eric Jacobus) is a small-time drug dealer. The majority of the film documents their martial arts training, and then the training of their disciples 25 years later. The finale centers around an all-out brawl to determine the sole surviving immortal (only an immortal can kill an immortal).

As you would expect, the stuntwork is excellent, but there's not enough actual combat for my taste. It follows the standard formula of the hero's tale, watching the characters grow and hone their skills for that one ultimate fight. Unfortunately, it's just not very interesting. The acting is incredibly wooden, and the ADR makes it sound even more awkward and out of place. The camera work is also overly static, and doesn't do a very good job of capturing the intensity of the action. This, and the poor quality of the video surprised me the most, based on seeing their previous work. It will be interesting to see what The Stunt People come up with next.