How do you take a movie titled The VelociPastor seriously? Short answer: you don’t. How can you when not even the filmmakers take it seriously? It’s even more ridiculous than its crazy title and crazier trailer suggests, so all you can do is go in knowing you’re going to watch something that is meant to be silly. It’s not unlike most of those portmanteau mockbuster schlock (think SharkNado, Mansquito, or Whalewolf) we see all the time on SyFy Channel, but there’s an even lower-budget charm present here that suggests everyone involved is in on the joke, even if the joke itself is still pretty awful.
The VelociPastor (I feel silly typing it) starts with happy, pure of heart Doug Jones (Greg Cohan), a young priest who witnesses the tragic death of his parents outside their church. Unable to cope with the death of his parents and finding he’s losing his faith, Dough follows the advice from Father Stewart (Daniel Steere) to travel to a place he thinks God will not follow. The place he chooses is China.
While wandering the Chinese wilderness he encounters a dying, wounded woman who gives him a mysterious artifact that looks like a dinosaur tooth. While trying to escape the ninja that wounded the woman, Doug cuts himself on the tooth and gains the powers of the “Dragon Warrior”. Upon returning home to America he discovers a new found hunger and after saving the life of Carol (Alyssa Kepinski), a local prostitute, he learns he can can turn into a dinosaur.
After learning this new power he does the only logical thing: he teams up with Carol and decides to fight and kill villains with his new reptilian abilities. But it won’t be as simple as beating up the local pimps and drug dealers. Oh no. The ninjas are in town and they’re not about to let the “Dragon Warrior” interfere with their criminal activities.
For the style this film is going for, the acting is on actually point. It’s comical. It’s unnatural. It’s terrible. But it’s very intentional. Nobody onscreen is trying to be great because this movie is silly and because it’s so terrible it actually garners quite a few laughs. Greg Cohan is surprisingly funny and clearly knows to treat this role as the silly spectacle it is. He gives 100% being comically awful and is perfectly cast as the naive young priest who discovers he has the power to transform into a dinosaur. I imagine he’s got a sense of humor in real life because he must know how ridiculous a performance he’s giving.
While not as over the top as Cohan, Alyssa Kempinksi gives an equally terrible performance as a prostitute doing what she has to do to get her through her studies. Where Cohan is focussed more on being naive and surprised, Kempinksi focuses more on delivering the emotional suffering a prostitute has endured under the evil hand of a pimp and when given the opportunity to strike back at evil jumps at it. She perfectly compliments whatever Cohan is putting out and they make a great onscreen duo delivering the most cringeworthy dialogue and performing the most comical fight scenes against ninjas.
Brendan Steere has written and directed a very cringeworthy, yet memorable film. Many times while watching I looked at my wife and muttered “what the &^*$ are we watching?” But it made me laugh, despite its cringe-worthiness and for that I compliment Steere. It’s got a title that draws your attention and the most ridiculous plot that somehow stands out among a sea of super low-budget horror movies of its kind. And it’s got ninjas. Everybody loves ninjas. And if you don’t love ninjas, then it’s got a terrible dinosaur suit that looks awful as it eats and fights the ninjas.
Even though there’s plenty wrong with this movie there is one thing that truly stands out: there wasn’t enough dinosaur action. Plenty of ninjas. Not enough dinosaur. I hope there’s a director’s cut somewhere that contains extra footage of the woefully terrible dinosaur suit. I mean, the movie’s called VelociPastor, not NinjaPastor.
The VelociPastor is, without question, one of the worst movies I’ve seen all year…and yet was still sort of entertaining. The premise is stupid, the acting atrocious, the effects only “special” in how terrible they were, but somehow it made me laugh so it gets a slight recommendation by default. My only real complaint is how little dinosaur/priest action there was; I mean, I love ninjas but I was promised more dinosaur action than I got. Still, watch to see how simply awful it is, preferably with a few open-minded friends (or kindly significant others) happy to waste 75 minutes of their lives – and with plenty of tasty alcoholic beverages at the ready.