Badsville (2018)

badsville

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A gang leader attempts to start a new life but finds major complications in this indie drama from director April Mullen.

For as long as it has been, the Badsville Kings and Aces have been in a major turf war. Always fighting each other, the two gangs have never reached a truce. For Wink, the leader of the Kings, the pressure has surmounted but right before his mother passes away, she asks Wink of one thing. That is, to leave Badsville and out of the gang life forever. Wink makes the decision to leave town and start a new life.

For Wink, the decision is sped up faster after he rescues Susie from the Aces and begins a relationship with her. When Wink announces his decision, it does not bode well with hot-headed member Benny. To make matters worse, the Aces have reignited their war with the Kings. When Benny decides to take charge and orders a rumble. Meanwhile, dissention with the Kings is eminent when Wink learns of a secret involving one of his own. Will Wink be finally able to make his promise to his mother and leave Badsville?

Gang films can be quite an interesting subgenre. There are gangster films, which have been immortalized by films such as The Public Enemy, The Godfather, and as recent as GoodFellas. There are street gang films, immortalized by the classic The Warriors. This film comes in the latter, but where these films tend to glorify the gangster, this film is more about a leader wanting to get out of the life once and for all and finds his life complicated both in positive and negative ways.

The duo of Ian McLaren and Benjamin Barrett co-wrote the film and star respectively as gang leader Wink and hot head Benny. McLaren does pretty well in the role of Wink, who longs to make a promise to his late mother by getting out of the gang life and starting life anew. Barrett’s Benny, on the other hands, thrives on being a King and despite having some loyalty to Wink, lets his nature gets the best of him. Tension rise between the two, threatening their long friendship.

Wink’s relationship with Susie, played by Tamara Duarte, plays an important role as it helps drive Wink’s promise to leave town. However, a highlight performance comes from Robert Knepper as Gavin, the current leader of rival gang the Aces. When he learns his son was humiliated by Wink, which leads to the relationship with Susie, he grabs his belt and thrashes his son. The erupting war just shows the level of tenacity Gavin unleashes towards the Kings as he wages war on a whole new level.

Badsville shows the complicated life of a gang leader just wanting to start his life over, but finds himself in a situation where he may be forced to go back on his word. Some great performances and tension make this a pretty good film.

WFG RATING: B

Epic Pictures presents a Phillm Productions film. Director: April Mullen. Producers: David J. Phillips and Douglas Sloan. Writers: Ian McLaren and Benjamin Barrett. Cinematography: Russ De Jong. Editing: Gordon Antell.

Cast: Ian McLaren, Benjamin Barrett, Tamara Duarte, Robert Knepper, Emilio Rivera, John White, Rene Rosado, Octavio Pizano, David J. Phillips, Paul James Jordan, Saxon Trainor.

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