Fan films. Almost since the beginnings of YouTube, aspiring filmmakers have been celebrating their fandom for established franchises by either re-imagining existing characters in different situations, or by creating their own characters & stories within the universes of their favorite franchises. These films range from the woefully bad, to cheesy & fun, to high production value & well-executed.
However, it’s rare that you come across one that is a great blend of all three. The folks over at Beat Down Boogie may have done just that, with their recent parody homage to Super Mario Bros.
Starring Matthew Sumner as Mario, Jarod Kearney as his brother Luigi, and Alena Koch as Princess Peach; “Mario Warfare – The Complete Movie” modernizes the Mario Bros. story, & militarizes both the Mushroom Kingdom & Bowser’s Koopa army. Bowser, ruthlessly portrayed by Rick Burnett, feels like a sadistic mob boss even though he’s not seen very much throughout the film. The rest of the main cast also give their all to their respective performances, showcasing the passion that they have for the source material. The action scenes are gritty & well-shot, and the nuanced nods to other games & movies are well-placed. There are also some nice comedic moments in which Luigi really drives home how much of a second banana his character has been over the years.
Joining the mission to stop Bowser, are some old favorites from many other games. Kirby, Link, Donkey (and Diddy) Kong, Ash Ketchum, and more all make appearances. None of the extra characters really feel like filler, as they all seem to have their place in the cast. The addition of these iconic characters into the film makes for some great scenes between each of them, and running gags about each of the franchises are perfectly utilized (“My name is LINK!!”).
This film is beautifully scored by Karel Antonin. Antonin is known for his work on video games like ‘Dex’, ‘Miner Wars 2081’, and the award-winning ‘Rune Legend’. He has also lent his musical talent to various other short films. The music in Mario Warfare does as much to set the mood to every sequence as the cinematography, lighting, and acting.
The fight sequences are very smoothly choreographed by Matthew Sumner, Micah Moore, and Brian Lee – who also seemingly channels Christian Bale in his role as Toad in the film (I hope you’ve seen Equilibrium). The fights are reminiscent of some of the better martial arts action movies of years past, and you can really tell how much work these guys put into each sequence. The action is quick, brutal, and occasionally funny, as characters that we know & love beat each other senseless.
Uploaded to YouTube on December 8, 2015, Mario Warfare – The Complete Movie is a one hour and seventeen minute adventure through the Mushroom Kingdom, as Lord Bowser & his Koopa army invade & begin to take over. While the film does have some bits of less-than-stellar acting & costuming that looks sub-par, the tongue-in-cheek writing, great cinematography, and exceedingly well-choreographed fight scenes make this a flick you’ll definitely want to check out.
While you’re at it, go check out some of the other awesome things that Beat Down Boogie has done. These guys really do seem to have a passion for games & good film-making, and I personally hope they keep up the great work.
4 Super Stars out of 5