Super Task Force One
Starring: Steve Rudzinski, Seth Gontkovic, Aleen Isley
Director: Steve Rudzinski
Duration: 69 mins
Fifteen years after the government decommissions Super Task Force Six, a team of alien/monster/robot-fighting superheroes, it’s subliminal controller, Emperor Zagel, threatens the planet with the combined power of each of the six Task Force members. That is until one of the Force’s transformation devices falls into the unsuspecting hands of a mild-mannered writer, Jason, granting him superhuman strength, a large gun, and the onerous “task” of saving the world. Together with the help of both his girlfriend and Super Task Force superfan best friend, Jason must surmount harrowing odds in order to overthrow Emperor Zagel and thwart his evil plans.
Employing some of its most dominant “tokusatsu” inspirations like Super Sentai and Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers as a storytelling template, Super Task Force One is a fun, action-packed, and family friendly original low-budget film and a refreshing change of pace from the filmmakers’ previous three slasher-horror offerings. Fans of homegrown, independent films of the fantastic will find a lot to enjoy about this movie, but what sticks out the most (at least to me) is director Rudzinski’s constant ambition to outdo himself with his pictures. This film’s predecessor, Everyone Must Die (which could almost be a companion piece to STFO if only for their shared cast members), succeeded in taking a familiar genre baseline and progressing it with new ideas. While Super Task Force One may not be as mold-breaking as EMD, the director uses this same forward-thinking and nerve to tackle a completely new genre and utilize new techniques (computer-generated effects being the most evident).
When initially viewing the movie, one’s first impression will probably be that Super Task Force One did not cost a substantial amount of money to make. True that, the budget of this picture might not have even covered Kirstie Alley’s lasagna tab from It Takes Two; and although the film looks gorgeous, the results from budgetary limitations are obvious (though not ruinous). The CGI explosions, robots, transformations, and so on can often seem comparable to the music video for “Money for Nothing,” but for a film made for only a couple grand, the mere inclusion of such prominent CGI effects helps give STFO a more grandiose presentation. Other nitpicky drawbacks include a slew of home-customized costumes and props and a necessary reliance on amateur or low-level acting. Luckily, the film’s bells and whistles are not the focal point of STFO, the unique and engaging story is, with a tasteful amount of humor and an energetic soundtrack.
I suppose I must make a disclaimer stating that I am rather uneducated when it comes to this type of cinema. Although a casual fan of Toho’s and Daiei’s kaiju films and a former avid watcher of Power Rangers and VR Troopers, I had never even heard the word “tokusatsu” before learning of STFO, and therefore cannot make a truly accurate assessment on this film’s execution with regards to its genre. Rations of salt grains aside, Super Task Force One won me over with its cleverness, spirit, entertainment value, and its filmmakers’ determination to chart unexplored territories.