Growing up in the 90’s, I’ve seen my fair share of bad straight to video action films. More often then not they were the worst thing a film can be, boring. I was sorely disappointed many many times after watching my selections from the video store. At some point though, after watching hundreds of bad movies, I started to find the truly awful. The films made by amateurs to with no know-how but with buckets of enthusiasm. I’m always on the lookout for such z-grade fun flicks and Lost Faith fits the bill. Big time.
Steve Nekoda (played by the film’s director, writer, and producer) is having a really bad day. His wife gets kidnapped by a group of martial artist paramilitaries in the hopes of selling her into sex slavery. The cops don’t care and it’s up to Steve to find her and bring her home. His house also gets robbed, his car runs out of gas, and he gets arrested for stealing a car. That has to be one of the worst days on record. Everywhere he goes he gets in a fight. The guy just can’t get a break.
I LOVED this movie. It’s filmed on a camcorder and has some of the hammiest lines I’ve heard since Samurai Cop. The film has a great fast pace and almost no downtime. No boredom here my friends! Just wall to wall spin kicks and punches. For being a zero budget film the quality isn’t unwatchable either. The film actually gets better and better from a technical standpoint as it goes along. I imagine the film must have been shot in order and was a learn by doing experience. The choreography also isn’t halfbad, i’ve certainly seen a lot worse from much higher budgeted films. The kicks and punches feel pretty real and the canned sound effects made it so much more fun. The film is earnest like Miami Connection with only a few “funny” scenes that nearly ruin the vibe of the film but thankfully the “humor” is pulled back from the brink just in time. The head bad guy has a great asshole mustache and I can certainly see him being a jerk in real life. Our hero is charismatic and fun to watch too. It’s obvious he’s a real martial artist who wanted to use his skills to make a movie. He really gives it his all in the fight scenes and by the end I was rooting for him and actually believing that he was exhausted. He probably was. Directing, acting, producing, and doing endless spin kicks must have worn him out something fierce.
The dvd itself is packed with great special features too. Usually with films of the caliber no one involved wants to admit their role in the film and special features are scarce. Here we’re treated to a making of/behind the scenes feature that was made at the time the movie was filmed. We also get great commentary tracks and a new feature showing us how to kick ass like Steve Nekoda.
I absolutely love the DIY ethic showcased in Lost Faith. They didn’t have the money or the equipment to do the film but they did it anyway and now we get to enjoy the fruits of their labor. I really love that Joel Wynkoop isn’t ashamed of the film. It would be easy to be embarrassed by it but he’s still acting today! The guy has 107 acting credits, and 13 directing credits, all of which are low budget films and shorts. This year alone he has 5 acting credits to his name. Amazing. The only problem is now I gotta start tracking all this stuff down! Yes, it’s very low quality. Yes, the acting is poor in most cases. But there’s so much enthusiasm and heart put into this that it’s damn near impossible not to enjoy. It certainly falls under the umbrella of “so bad it’s good,” and would be a hoot with a large group, but afterwards I wanted to shake Wynkoop’s hand and thank him for such a good time. You can buy the dvd here or the ultimate set here.