Stuntman and martial artist Kely McClung proves one thing with this action film: even with a very small budget, one can make a quality action thriller by making the most of it.
Jack Davis was once one of the best government operatives. However, he has decided to start his life over and return to civilian life. However, when he learns that his brother Jim, who has been working for the U.S. Embassy in Thailand, has been kidnapped, Jack must go back to the life he planned to leave. Unlike his previous missions, this is now about his family.
Jack travels to many locations to track down his brother. The journey eventually leads him to Thailand, where he learns of a conspiracy that endangers not only his brother, but eventually threatens the government. Meanwhile, as Jim knows his brother could help him out of this predicament, he has his brother’s spirit and refuses to talk. Jack finds himself determined to rescue his brother and put an end to the conspiracy before it’s too late.
In the world of cinema, it can be said that budgets could make an impact on the quality of the film. However, there are perfectionists who are willing to go overbudget and those who make the most out of their budget. Case in point of the latter, this film from stuntman and filmmaker Kely McClung. One would never expect this film to have a budget of only $20,000. No, that’s not a typo. McClung and co-star Robert Pralgo were a virtual two-man crew with a budget of only $20,000. One can only wonder if it is possible to make a film for only $20,000. Well, Kely McClung proves that the answer is a resounding yes.
McClung wrote the screenplay and directed an actually watchable independent film that allowed him to not only showcase his martial arts skills, but actually showcase his acting talent as our hero Jack, who is determined to go to any great lengths to save his brother. Robert Pralgo makes the most of his screen time as the kidnapped Jim, who has that mental strength like his brother and yes, he spends most of the film getting punched in the face and abused, but it only makes him stronger in spirit. The villain is played by German-born Muay Thai champion turned actor and stuntman Erik Markus Schuetz. Schuetz, who is known for his performances in Ong-Bak and The Sanctuary, truly looks like he is having fun in the role while Thai actress Sarin Pinatha plays an unexpected ally of Jack’s in his quest to rescue his brother.
McClung also served as the film’s action director and his experience as a stuntman and fight coordinator make him worthy of making the most out of the budget and deliver some pretty decent fisticuffs. While some are marred by the extreme close ups and quick cuts, you have to remember that we’re talking about a $20,000 budget. However, for the most part, the action is fun to watch. One notable scene involves Jack taking down members of a Muay Thai school with sound effects displayed on the screen a la Batman (the 1966 series). Seeing that brings a bit of fun to the action. McClung’s experience in many forms of martial arts come to good use in the film as he’s either throwing spinning kicks, arm and wrist locks, and even some grounded grappling moves in his fight scenes.
Blood Factor may not be the best movie but it is not a complete mess either. One thing’s for sure. It truly makes the most of its budget and is driven by the performance of the man behind it, Kely McClung.
Afterlight Pictures presents a Media Arts International Film Corporation production in association with My Thai Films Ltd. Director: Kely McClung. Producers: Kely McClung and Robert Pralgo. Writer: Kely McClung. Cinematography: Troy Barusso. Editing: Kely McClung.
Cast: Kely McClung, Robert Pralgo, Erik Markus Schuetz, Sarin Pinatha, Vince Canlas, Nawanun Anoma, Karla Droege, Kenroy Grant, Mark Harris, Amusen Jeajan, Mark Law.
WFG RATING: B-