Chase [2018 Raymond Yusuff Short Film] Review

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AKA: N/A

Genre:
Sci-Fi/Action
Year Released: 2018

Distributor:
Critics Company

Origin: Nigeria
Running Time: 5 minutes
Rating/Recommended Audience: PG

Related Films/Series:
N/A
For Fans Of: Z: The Beginning, X-Men, Fantastic Four, Unbreakable, The Terminator, The Matrix, Avengers
Notes:
-Chase is streaming on YouTube.

-Special thanks to Ben Richardson for introducing me to these filmmakers.
Fun Facts:
-Chase is the debut film from The Critics Company who are a collective of teenage Nigerian filmmakers.

-This and many of their films were made using smartphones.

-Want to know who commented on Chase and considered himself a fan of that movie? Lil Nas X. Yes, the inventor of country trap music best known for his song “Old Town Road” with Billy Ray Cyrus supports The Critics Company.

-The Critics Company are based in Kaduna State, Nigeria which is in Northwestern Nigeria with over 3/4 of a million people living there. Chase takes place in Kudenda which is a small village in that state.

-Hilarious in Hindsight: One of the characters is wearing a Marvel shirt and there are powers shown that are associated with certain superheroes. There was stretchy limbs used just like Mr. Fantastic, flame powers just like Human Torch, and one character controls the weather like Storm!


YouTube has been convenient when it comes to discovering independent filmmakers highlighting their own short films. They’re free to watch and they can be diamonds in the rough. Really fits with the ethics of Iridium Eye, don’t you think? One aspect of indie films that I really didn’t cover as much would be filmmaking collectives having their own studios, directors, actors, editors, writers, and other personnel. What really gives me hope comes from movie makers who make their own projects without the need for professional equipment or big budgets let alone any kind of budgets at all.

This case involves the debut work from young filmmakers outside of Hollywood and Nollywood.

Chase is a sci-fi film that involves a heist going on. One person takes a secret box from a top secret facility, and he’s pursued by masked men and others from that company who have access to superpowers. Fighting ensues and it’s revealed that the box contains access to superpowers. How will this event play out in Northwestern Nigeria?

Let’s talk about the production first and be honest with ourselves. You and I would’ve never been able to tell this was made with broken smartphones unless you did your research. The raw footage, special effects, green screen backgrounds, and even CGI may not impress Joss Whedon or James Cameron, but I would certainly argue that this looks like at least a couple thousand dollars worth of production instead of it coming from something with a shoestring budget. I have seen and reviewed movies made by adults with worse visuals and effects than this, so The Critics Company have a knack for filming. The action scenes were thrilling despite their brevity and it feels like a superhero film mixed with a heist movie (there’s an Ant-Man joke in there somewhere). Even though there’s not much dialogue, I can understand what is going on as the plot is basic, but not didactic in it’s execution. Much like another Nigerian film Lunch Time Heroes, there’s a universal feeling where a story like this could happen anywhere and it really doesn’t play up stereotypes about the country or continent at large. Good on you, Critics!

Chase does slow down a bit at times for me. While the plot is easy to follow, I do wish I knew the names of all the characters which was also an issue with Offside by Jafar Panahi if anyone remembers that review. I would like to know the characters names and what they are about. Mentioning that Hilarious in Hindsight aspect in the fun facts section, the MCU influences can be a bit much with the superpowers, scoring, and aesthetics. I thought the acting got stiff especially near the end and the ending could’ve been expanded a bit. While I could guess what would happen after the credits rolled, I thought Chase could also work as a mini-series or a longer short film.

I’m not going to lie and say that I hated this film. Quite the opposite. This was a nice debut from The Critics Company. Chase offered so much action packed fun in a short time span. Even for a guy who’s dealing with superhero fatigue, even I cracked a smile watching this short film. The production looks better than the lack of budget in this film. Everything was easy to follow for the most part and so much effort was put into it. I do wish I knew who the characters were and have seen a few more minutes. The Marvel fanboying got to be much at times, but there was certainly enough uniqueness to forgive it. I’ll check out their microfilm projects and their other works.


Adjustable Rating System:

Add 1 point if you like superhero or sci-fi movies.
Subtract 1-3 points if you want something with a more complete story.


Pros:

-Competent filming and effects
-Fun action scenes
-Universal aspects to the plot

Cons:
-Stiff acting during dialogue scenes
-MCU fanboying
-Unnamed characters can be confusing

Final Score: 8/10 points

Content Warning: Chase is a tame watch. There’s a lot of fighting, but Marvel and DC movies are more violent than that.

-Curtis Monroe

All photos property of their respective owners and used under US “Fair Use” laws. Chase is property of The Critics Company. The screenshot is from YouTube and is property of The Critics Company.

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