Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Charity Hurts


Written, edited, produced, action choreographed, starring and directed by: Andrew Thatcher

As you can tell from his credits above, Andrew Thatcher is pretty much a one man mini movie production house. Based in Australia and utilising all his micro-budget knowledge and resources, he has produced his second action feature Charity Hurts. A very tongue-in-cheek and loving homage to action films and a wry look at the world of money hungry charities, what he lacks in budget and special effects, Thatcher makes up for in guts, determination and just good old fashioned martial arts action.

Damn charity workers. They're always popping up at inappropriate moments, bothering us on the street and making a nuisance of themselves asking for our hard earned money. But there are some charities who just won't take no for an answer and if you don't pay up, they come a collecting. Jason Jones (Thatcher), who not only has an awesome action movie name, is fed up of these pushy and violence inclined charities and decides to do something about it. It's not long before he discovers the charities are being run by mob boss John Scaglioni (John Tsoutis), which means Jason Jones has to fight off wave after wave of martial arts trained charity workers as he works his way through the city to take out Scaglioni.

Now Charity Hurts is as micro-budget as they come, most likely funded out of Thatcher's pocket but he puts his heart and soul and a lot of enthusiasm into this fun fight filled film. Over its brisk 70 minute running time, his Jason Jones stumbles from one fight to the next, each confrontation getting trickier and the choreography slicker. With an impressive martial arts background, Thatcher crams the film with fast and fluid fight scenes. The dust-ups get better and more brutal as the film goes along, Thatcher taking on an ever increasing number of opponents, often several at a time. Shot and cut for clarity the fights include a taut and tight 4 on 1 free-for-all in what appears to be some kind of abandoned parking structure/industrial estate/wasteland/action movie setting du jour. The never ending fights lead to a wicked showdown between Jones and Scaglioni, with some fancy bootwork ending the film on a particularly action packed high.

Along with all the kung fu action there is a fair bit of gun-play including a great homage to John Woo, where Jones and an over-zealous cop shoot it out with a bunch of gun toting goons in gloriously over-the-top fashion. There are just as many comedy beats as action beats peppered throughout, the cast hamming it up and embracing the fun nature of the flick. On the downside the cheap effects sometimes get in the way of enjoying the action. Thatcher is certainly trying and mostly succeeding in covering as many action types as possible (kung fu, gunplay, lots of explosions) and while some of the effects add to the humour (including the most ridiculous escape by jumping out of a window ever!) the film is at its best when focusing on the marital arts action.

A fun fight flick that sates the thirst for martial arts action and while its micro-budget stylings may not be to everyone's taste, Charity Hurts shows a lot of heart and never stops being entertaining with its high quota of kung fu combat.

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