By Adam Ray Palmer
The 17th annual Sci-Fi-London Film Festival has come to a close but not before Cineroom shares a few reviews with you from the movies of tomorrow – so to speak.
Today’s review is of Neil Stryker & the Tyrant of Time that screened on the final night of the festival.
Directed by Rob Taylor, Neil Stryker stars Rob Taylor, and erm, Rob Taylor.
In a future time, Neil Stryker (Rob Taylor) is a hardened Elite Forces agent famous for hunting and capturing his former mentor and villainous time-traveller, ‘The Mad Scientist’ (Rob Taylor). Following a magnificent escape, the Mad Scientist rains down chaos on the city in a quest for revenge. Stryker must now race through time and do battle with goblins, robots, and ten-foot killer penguins in order to save the world and rescue his son from the clutches of his infamous former mentor.
The movie is very reminiscent of an Austin Powers caper. An inadequate, major villain who has a slightly flirtatious relationship with the overly butch Neil Stryker whose equipped with a ridiculously gruff voice. The similarities don’t end there, the two central protagonists have a relationship that stretches back years with much animosity and jealousy alike - Dr. Evil and Powers-esque.
There’s many other movies that seemed to have influenced Neil Stryker & the Tyrant of Time. It has a 70s/80s feel like Starsky & Hutch with the pantomime villainy and soundtrack, it also has Back to the Future references and comedy quips that seem straight out of a ‘Scary Movie’ type parody. In addition, there’s an odd Ghost scene (you know… the pottery one) between the titular characters; this re-affirming the bizarre and slightly homoerotic tension between the two.
For a budget Sci-Fi movie, the CGI and effects are impressive. There’s a few sequences that of course the budget wouldn’t allow for such extravagant Guardians of the Galaxy type effects. To get around this, Rob Taylor (also director) pokes fun at the genre with humorous, and of course not possible, scenarios. The sci-fi/comedy feature is a throwback of the genres where every set, every effect and every puppet is crafted by dedicated artists – an extremely talented effort.
In the comedy department, it will be received like Marmite I imagine… it won’t be to everyone’s taste. It’s silly, obvious but extremely witty. It’s very much like a comedy movie I think I would like to create. Neil Stryker is littered with intelligent quips that keep you giggling long after the sequence has ended. I can see this film being an indie cult must-watch. There’s a scene where the ‘goodie’ group arrive at the villain’s lair which has a doorbell at the entrance, they ring it and nothing happens. Then they quibble over using the doorknob before one of them kicks the door down – there’s many frivolous sequences throughout.
Overall, Neil Stryker & the Tyrant of Time is great entertainment. From the slap-stick comedy to the random musical number 20 minutes from the climax to the sudden Nazi party sequence with Adolf Hitler. This film is a mammoth effort from the cast and crew, and it pays off. It could have easily been a valiant mess, but instead it’s a self-assured and polished production. I’m a fan of science-fiction and of foolhardy comedy – with Neil Stryker; you get both.
Cineroom’s Rating: 3.5 Stars
Neil Stryker & the Tyrant of Time screened at the SCI-FI LONDON FILM FESTIVAL 2017 which runs from 27 April – 6 May https://sci-fi-london.com/ (Twitter: @SciFiLondon)