NON HORROR REVIEW- There is plenty of fun that is housed within Nick Love’s written and directed ‘American Hero,’ and right along with that, lies a certain level of heartwarming qualities that make this 2015 effort as entertaining as it ended up being.
A near silent release date of December 11, 2015 in selected theaters and iTunes, ‘American Hero’ kind of snuck out on us with very little promotional backing, which is shame because this is one of the better films that has been released in this manner. Definitely deserving more of push.
‘American Hero,’ with a budget of less than a million dollars performs some pretty heroic feats as it stands, with higher quality effects that never seem lazy. Instead they feel energetically innovative, even if we’ve seen some of the same types of powers in “Hitch”, “Chronicle” and so on. Nonetheless, these borrowed powers are still cool to watch, especially from leading actor, Stephen Dorff (Blade, Public Enemies.) Kudos to Love on his excellent executions.
Alongside Dorff is the great comedian, Eddie Griffin (Foolish, Undercover Brother) who’s character is confined to a wheelchair, and somehow it seems as if his comedic powers are just as confined and useless as his character’s legs…an unfortunate let down.
Griffin attempts to make up for the lack of comedic strength in ‘American Hero’ by developing into a heartwarming character, although oftentimes the whole relationship design of the main characters seemed too rushed, as they reach for emotional attachment that is usually absent of genuine qualities. In fact, the whole relationship seems to use not only the racial difference as a crutch, but the disability of Griffin’s character “Lucille” as well. Overall it works in the storytelling sense, but not as savvy as a relationship of this stature should develop into, or better yet, stay away from all together.
Dorff plays “Melvin” who, like the majority of us, suffers from different forms of addiction. Booze, pill and parties are the main three, and we get lots of sequence filling dances, weird faces, with or without a fun looking Native American war bonnet, jumping from rooftops and so on from Dorff. Initially these seemed overly redundant, but as the story progresses we begin to see the precious qualities, confusion and gentle loving nature of Melvin as a character, whom is all too life like, providing a level of familiarity that makes audiences feel as if they know him.
Melvin also has special powers, in which up until the movie begins, he has used as parlor tricks and magic shows. In other words, it’s no secret that he can do some strange tricks. In this character of Melvin, Dorff excels in great bounds, deserving of higher credit than what he has been given thus far as he plays the part perfectly as viewers will be able to tell how much fun and dedication Dorff focused on during production and filming of ‘American Hero.’
The story begins with a litigation battle between Melvin regarding visitation privileges for his son, Rex (Jonathan Billions) and somewhere in between that fight and the finale of this 86 minute film, Melvin gets encouragement from all angles to use his power to help clean up a rotting community.
The short journey we see in ‘American Hero’ is a haze, but a fun ride, tapping into average Joes and Joannas, almost as if giving the audience an opportunity to live out Melvin’s life as if they were empowered with the specialties that he has been endowed with, because he covers just about everything that one would dream of doing, given that situation.
I recommend this film, as it was put together remarkably well for the lower budget, including two strong leads. I hope that ‘American Hero’ gets more of a promotional push so that it can help drown out other films of this magnitude that are garbage.