Ferocious Films // 2011 // 110 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // April 28th, 2011
The game meant everything. Until now.
Basketball is everything for four high school friends in a small Midwestern town. Their team is undefeated and they've got an absolute stud running the point. The girls swoon at the sight of them and their church youth group goes out roller skating on a frequent basis, which is of course fairly awesome.
Unfortunately, these good times have an expiration date as a shifty criminal type rolls into town and seduces one of the players. He ends up sucked into some mid-level criminal tomfoolery and, worse, is along for a drive-by shooting that puts his best friend -- and leading scorer on the team -- in a coma. The odds of his survival are slim. Now battling an overwhelming sense of guilt and the ongoing investigation that draws the cops nearer to him, he will have to lean on his friends -- as well as the Almighty -- for guidance.
And yes, this is a God-centric movie. Frontier Boys is proud of the fact, too, embracing the Bible-based themes of forgiveness, prayer and repentance, and doing so vocally and enthusiastically. Christian movies are often faced with a tricky situation when they embrace the evangelical aspects of filmmaking; there's a fine line between being preachy and earnest, corny and sentimental. Then again, if your goal is to make a hearty God-fearing film that espouses the Gospel message, you don't want to distill the message to bland politically correct rubbish. Embrace your beliefs!
Having viewed a multitude of Godly films I've seen more than a few stumble, falling under the weight of too-hefty proselytization or bad moviemaking. The good news: for the most part Frontier Boys gets it right.
It won't convert anyone who's disinterested in the genre, but it's a well-made movie; nicely shot, decently acted, and scripted adequately (if a smidge on the milquetoast side). The kids aren't annoying -- even the portly comic relief -- and effectively convey the angst of having a friend near-death, which is the central faith-tester of the film.
I could take or leave the criminal shenanigans. I understand why it's important to generate conflict for our young protagonist, but it's tough to convey ruthlessness and malevolence in a movie where no one says a bad word.
Still, a recommendation -- even if it's a modest one. These guys are upfront about their worldview, but manage the difficult act of making the evangelism feel organic and not forced. The points Frontier Boys loses for a bloated runtime and an average plot are partially restored by the obvious joy that's taken in bringing the production to the screen.
The screener DVD featured a 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, 5.1 Dolby Digital surround, and no extras.
Not Guilty. Decent work, fellas.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Ferocious Films
* 2.35:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 110 Minutes
Release Year: 2011
MPAA Rating: Not Rated