“I’ve got an advantage over thugs and gangsters… I’m incredibly brave. And I have a whistle.” – Mr. Excellent.
2010, the same year that Kick-Ass and Super were released, another film was produced, but outside a couple film festivals, sadly not many people saw it. Now thanks to the magic of Vimeo the film can be seen by all. That film is The Amazing Mr. Excellent, written and directed by Steve Wilson Briggs.
Like those films that had large budgets and known casts, Mr. Excellent tells the story of Duncan Quinn (Joseph Estlack), a thirty-something guy with a dead-end job, a wife and two kids. Still searching for his purpose in life, he loses his job and is mugged. One night while getting a midnight snack he’s zapped by “120 volts of heroic energy” while watching a public access show starring Saul Goode (director Steve Wilson Briggs) the disco preacher. The next morning when he wakes up he thinks that he has been given superpowers and has been charged by god to be a superhero.
So he makes himself a costume and hits the street to serve the people. He realizes there is more crime in the ghetto so he heads to a park in Oakland to help out. There he gets in trouble with some gangsters. Luckily he gets helped out by Ray Hilliard (David Jones) and ex-basketball player and community advocate. Ray thinks Mr. Excellent is crazy, but continues to help him out to keep him out of trouble.
Estlack does a really good job playing Duncan. The film starts a little slow but when he becomes Mr. Excellent the film starts to pick up speed. When Ray steps into the film it gets even better as the chemistry between Estlack and Jones is fantastic. When Ray joins the film, the whole movie steps into the Bromantic Comedy realm with some great saving the day montages and that moment when things get too real and Duncan quits the Mr. Excellent life.
However, the star of the show is Steve Wilson Briggs as Saule Good who steals ever scene he’s in. Briggs also succeeded in writing such a good script that the financial limitations did not prevent it from being the thoroughly fun and entertaining film that it is.
What’s really great about this film is that it does a good job of not only telling Duncan’s story, but showing life in the tougher neighborhoods. It shows that change can happen and that doesn’t take a crazy white man to do it. It’s a fun film about finding purpose in one’s life and making a difference in your community and really, what better message can a film offer than that?
There’s no denying that it’s a low budget film. It doesn’t have good lighting and it doesn’t have award winning performances (however it is worth noting that the film was named Best of Fest at the Temecula International Film Festival), but the film is overflowing with heart, which makes up for everything else the film is lacking.
I felt that Super didn’t work as a film because it was so dark and unpleasant. In every way that Super didn’t work, The Amazing Mr. Excellent excels. It’s a fun, entertaining film and you can watch it for free at vimeo, so you really don’t have any excuse not to watch it. You can also check out the website here.
Tags: From The Inside, Kick Ass, Super