NYAFF 2010: Power Kids (AKA Force of Five) Review

Contributor; Seattle, Washington
to Vote
NYAFF 2010: Power Kids (AKA Force of Five) Review
Power Kids is a movie awesome in its ridiculousness, spectacular in its madness. It is by all appearances a kids' film that just happens to involve a group of plucky preteens battling a hospital full of rebels to get possession of a transplant heart. Watching this movie you WILL see buckets of blood, knees to the face, head, groin, and chest, and hardcore RC car racing all set to an orchestral synthesized soundtrack. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

There is a hardcore RC race pitting our plucky, orphaned leads against a group of cheating street toughs that leads to the youngest of the orphans, Wun, to suffer a cardiac episode requiring the immediate transplant of a new heart. Unfortunately, the only transplant option that's available is stuck at the local hospital a barricade of ethnic Teelor rebels/terrorists led by Johnny Nguyen seeking human rights for their minority group. Led by Wun's older brother Wuth, the kids sneak into the hospital and attempt to steal the heart and make an escape as the terrorists hold the entire staff hostage.

The movie feels a bit schizophrenic, with the "kids-at-play" elements sitting uneasily alongside the story of ethnic terrorism and human rights. The kids aren't especially natural actors, coming from the same place performance-wise as the children that occupy the DTV family films that formerly choked video store shelves and now the family section of Netflix. That's not to say they're not tremendous physical performers, participating in a parade of thrilling action scenes demanded by the increasingly bizarre script, but they're just not particularly charismatic actors at this stage in their careers. Think junior Tony Jaa's and you'll get the picture.

The actual production seems threadbare at times, with English-speaking actors stammering through their lines, scenes that are problematically under-lit, and the occasional stunt scene that seems to be the product of a "one take is good enough" philosophy. At the same time, there's the virtuosity of many of the fights with a particularly brutal and well-choreographed encounter between the kids and the lead rebel playing over and over in a little highlight reel in my head. And I was being a little glib about the RC race scene, but there's actually some real talent behind the camera when your DP is able to make a race between plastic toys cars downright gripping - but such is the case here.

Power Kids is a hard one to recommend because it's obviously a kids' film that has no business being seen by children - I'm not even sure children should be in it. I can describe the action to you in all of its lurid, gory detail, but it wouldn't do justice to the actual spectacle of the watching it. At the same, it's filled with so many insane action beats that I'd feel remiss in not recommending it.

Charles is a freelance writer and game designer. You can find more of his writing at his blog, Monster In Your Veins
to Vote
Screen Anarchy logo
Do you feel this content is inappropriate or infringes upon your rights? Click here to report it, or see our DMCA policy.
andrewzJuly 8, 2010 12:34 PM

I thought this might be a re-release of the film "Lucky Seven" before I realized that "Lucky Seven" had two more kids in it.

The fighting kid movie is interesting. It makes me wonder for whom these kinds of films are being made as the reviewer states.

I wish I could buy both in a two-fer DVD pack at Costco.

Charles WebbJuly 8, 2010 12:36 PM

Ha, maybe there won't be a two-pack but you can at least get Power Kids on DVD/Blu Ray sometime in the next couple of months through Magnolia, I think.

Rhythm-XJuly 8, 2010 12:56 PM

Magnolia's release is out now - you can already get the Blu-ray used from Amazon for under $10.

J HurtadoJuly 9, 2010 1:06 PM

Like I just did. Must have more Johnny Nguyen, even though I know he isn't a main character in this. Just watched Clash last night and that man is a force to be reckoned with.