Friday, February 26, 2010

'Disk Jockey' is a quirky gangster film

Disk Jockey (2005)
Starring: Devyan DuMon, Josh Fallon, and Kristin Busk
Director: Zachary Yoshioka
Steve's Rating: Four of Ten Stars

Dane (DuMon) and Frankie B (Fallon) a pair of hitmen who are as fast with their mouths as they are with their triggers, have spent the past six years attempting to track down a computer disk stolen by a former partner, a disk that is a complete record of all the murders they've committed. Just as it seems to be within their grasp, a mysterious trio of gun-toting women snatch it away. Will our murderous heroes prevail (particularly since they only have a 60-minute movie to do so in)?

"Disk Jockey" is a strange little gangster movie that moves with lightning-fast speed from action to goofy comedy to third-wall self-mockery and back again, in a completely unpredictable fashion. This random mix of elements gives the film a playful quality and makes for interesting viewing. The actors very clearly seem to be having while making the film is also transferred to those watching it.

The film is all the more fun to watch in that its leads are actually pretty competent actors. DuMon manages to both be funny and menacing as a hitman who likes to bake pastries in his off-hours, while Fallon shines as the film's third-wall narrator (causing the action to literally freeze in place when he turns to address the viewer) and an annoying "gangsta"-type character.

Another strong aspect of the film is that the director didn't feel the need to pad it to a particularly running length. It runs a very fast, barebones 60 minutes, and not a single second is wasted. I wish more low-budget directors would take this approach. (That said, I think the film might have benefited from a couple of real character development scenes.)

On the downside, there are times when the actors are having just a little too much fun and the film crosses moves well past the line between goofiness and stupidity, such as when one of the female assassins decides to climb some monkeybars while they are covertly sneaking into a house early in the film. The film (and the actors) are also just a little too playful in an extended fight sequence between our "heroes" and their female competitors; either more practice was needed on the part of the actors, or more care was needed to have been taken in filming the fights, because I've rarely seen stage fighting so badly presented on film. Even the most generous viewer won't be able to find the fight convincing, because it's obvious that none of the kicks or blows connect. Basically, it is so obvious that everyone is play-acting that it's impossible to get into the film at those points. (On the other hand, the gun violence is rather nicely done.)

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