Camp and cameos again play a huge role in ‘Surge of Power: Revenge of the Sequel.’
Surge of Power: Revenge of the Sequel
Directors: Antonio Lexerot, Vincent J. Roth
By David-Elijah Nahmod
You have to hand it to Vincent J. Roth. The openly gay actor/filmmaker and comic book geek gets his dream projects made and released.
About a decade ago, Roth offered his debut film. “Surge of Power: The Stuff Of Heroes” was a mad, campy adventure about Surge (Roth, who also wrote the screenplay), a gay superhero. In his first adventure, Surge thwarted an anti-gay hate crime and battled the evil Metal Master (John Venturini), an arch-villain.
Though cheaply produced, the film’s special effects were surprisingly good, and the film got an added boost by scoring dozens of cameos from the kinds of celebrities who appear at comic book conventions, such as “Star Trek’s” Nichelle Nichols and Noel Neil, who portrayed Lois Lane on TV’s “Adventures of Superman” during the 1950s.
Now, 10 years after Surge first appeared on screen, comes the sequel you’ve been waiting for. OK, that’s highly unlikely, but here it is anyway.
“Surge of Power: Revenge Of The Sequel” is now available for your viewing pleasure on DVD. In this second film, Roth and Venturini reprise their roles as Surge and Metal Master, the latter of whom has just gotten out of jail. We also meet Metal Master’s parents (Gil Gerard of TV’s “Buck Rogers” and “The Exorcist’s” Linda Blair), who turn out to be quite the homophobes.
Metal Master, we learn, is a survivor of conversion therapy. His parents still don’t approve of his gay lifestyle but apparently are OK with his criminal activities.
Metal Master is determined to wreak havoc again. He teams up with the evil Augur (Eric Roberts), who’s after a mysterious metal element called “Celinedionium,” one of the film’s many silly pop references.
Of course its Surge who comes to the rescue. He follows Metal Master and Augur to Las Vegas to do battle, although he does take a break from fighting crime to go out on a date with a cute blond.
Sound a bit ridiculous? It is. But it’s also loads of fun. As with the first film, the story is told as a comic book geek reads “Surge of Power” comics. And the star cameos don’t stop. In addition to a returning Nichelle Nichols and Noel Neil (in her final appearance), look for Bruce Vilanch, Lou Ferrigno (“The Incredible Hulk”), Robert Picardo (“Star Trek”), Dawn Wells (“Gilligan’s Island”), Kathy Garver (“Family Affair”), the aforementioned Roberts, Gerard and Blair, among many others.
It’s like watching a parade of all the people Roth watched on TV during his childhood.
Some reviews for “Surge of Power: Revenge Of The Sequel” have been harsh: The Los Angeles Times called the film “inept.” This is grossly unfair. “Surge” is an independent film, produced as a labor of love on a paltry budget by a guy who knows his comic books and his pop culture.
For what it is, the film is surprisingly well done. As before, the effects are impressive.
And don’t worry, Roth is promising a third outing with Surge. Hopefully it won’t take him another 10 years to complete it.
David-Elijah Nahmod is a San Francisco-based writer whose eclectic career includes work for LGBTQ and Jewish publications as well as monster magazines. You can follow him on Twitter at @DavidElijahN and read his monthly film-review column at PrizmNews.com.