Two brothers find themselves in the worst of predicaments in this short film from South Africa that made its debut at the Los Angeles Shorts International Film Festival.
Uncanny twins Remus and Romulus were left to die in the forest after they were born. However, a she-wolf raised them. As they became kids, the duo finds themselves knocked out and sent to the residence of Nero, who trains fighters for sport and to sell them off to rich folks who raise them as deadly threats in an underground fight ring. Nine years have passed and both Remus and Romulus have proven themselves to be Nero’s best proteges. Remus is sold to Mrs. Wilson, whose daughter Zana, has feelings for him. As for Romulus, he is sold to the insane Mr. Xanadou and his associate, Mr. Zadinski. Three years later, Remus and Romulus are destined to meet again, but not as they hope.
From the mind of South African actor and producer Cameron Scott (Triggered) comes this film that takes the classic Remus and Romulus legends and adds the spin of an underground fighting tournament where they meet again in the direst of situations, having changed in complete opposite directions. Changing the story from how the brothers quarreled over where their wolf mom was to an underground fight ring brings to mind the likes of the brothers becoming “slaves” to their new “masters” despite their trainer Nero, excellently played by Jonathan Pienaar (American Ninja 2: The Confrontation), asking the two new masters to treat them with respect as he sees them as “sons” he has raised.
However, the major kudos goes to the two lead actors, Cameron Scott and Hungani Ndvolu as the ill-fated brothers. Scott’s Romulus, disfigured from a knockout blow as a kid, is regressed into a “beast” by his new owner, Mr. Xanadou, played with an over-the-top likeness by Charlie Bouguenon. This is reminiscent of the Jet Li-Bob Hoskins relationship pre-Morgan Freeman in Unleashed. As for Ndvolu’s Remus, he finds peace with his relationship with Zana, played by Izel Bezuidenholt and yet he respects the fact they can’t be together out of respect for her mother, his owner Mrs. Wilson, played by Sandi Schultz.
Craig Macrae, a stuntman whose work include Mad Max: Fury Road and Avengers: Age of Ultron, served as stunt coordinator here. Both Scott and Ndvolu showcase some pretty good bare knuckle and close quarters combat in their fight scenes. Their climactic confrontation against each other as is Romulus’ fight before can be quite graphic and kudos goes to the SFX team for using practical effects as opposed to shoddy CGI. This clearly is set to lift the South Africa’s rich film industry.
Ring of Beasts is a great 30-minute short film that melds the Remus and Romulus legend and puts the underground fight ring spin on things. The cast, notably Cameron Scott, Hungani Ndvolu, and Jonathan Pienaar do churn out amazing performances in their roles. One can only hope this gets international exposure in the near future.
WFG RATING: A
A Kingdom Kome Production. Director: Adriano Miguel. Producers: Cameron Scott and Orr Koren. Writer: Cameron Scott. Cinematography: Rick Joaquim. Editing: William Kalmer.
Cast: Jonathan Pienaar, Cameron Scott, Hungani Ndvolu, Sandi Schultz, Izel Bezuidenholt, Charlie Bouguenon, Bonko Khoza, Brümilda van Rensburg.
The film is now available to view at the Shorts Network on YouTube. Monthly subscription is $2.99/month and includes all films in the Los Angeles Shorts International Film Festival.