Let me just try to swallow in what I just watched. This here is about these two wanna-be robbers, Jerome & O.T. (played by Black Deniro & Dave Patten). They randomly stroll around Philadelphia, looking for people to rob at night when no one’s looking. It just so happens that the one couple they’ve caught is related to an Italian mob gang. When O.T. nervously shoots the couple, that pisses off the ring leader of the gang.
It’s up to mainly Jerome to get himself and his family out of this mess before they get themselves killed. Right at the start of this film, which premiered at a festival in 2017, in select theaters on October of 2018, then labeled itself as a 2019 film, as it hit streaming services, such as Netflix. I’m calling this a 2019 movie because that’s what they want it to be, so don’t try to correct me on this BS of a movie.
Where I’m trying to get at, this started off as an R-Rated film, with the thugs dropping several F-Bombs at this couple. When O.T. starts shooting them, no blood comes out of either. The girlfriend falls quicker than the boyfriend, who you later find has some sort of superpower they don’t explain, but right here, something doesn’t add up.
I’m making a big deal out of the lack of blood, never mind the bad dialogue before it, because for as edgy as this film wants to be, it’s too lazy to commit. You’ll get drops of blood here and there, but then there’s also moments where someone gets shot or bashed in the head with a gun, no blood or bruises show. You look at the $100,000 budget and go “Oh, well everything makes sense now because it’s an indie film”…no, this here is an insult to indie films, even the bad ones.
Of course, that would be a dramatic statement if this is the only thing to go by, but this film gets everything wrong as movie, no less a crime story. Your protagonists in this story are all dumb. After these robbers continue their lives, seeing the news report of the murder they’ve committed, they go right straight to taking guns away from a dealer without paying for them. The police gives up on searching and that dealer never tries to kill them for not paying him back like he says.
The script, which is written by Black Deniro, is full of holes that I could not begin to fathom. I know this is a movie and not real life, but there’s that limit to how much stupid you can buy before you even go “I can’t forgive this”. I mentioned that the assaulted boyfriend, whose name is Dominic (played by Dominic Costa), has superpowers they don’t ever touch on, which is having a bullet-proof chest. Every point he gets shot in the chest, he’ll feel it alright, but it won’t kill him, or at least, you can’t tell since there’s no blood half the time.
Plus, Dominic is so much of a super-villain that he talks in evil monologue from the moment you hear him. Of course, he’s the one thirsty for revenge since his girlfriend didn’t make it, so he’s leading the hunt.
Sure, look past the opening stupidity of our main characters, even the military brother of Jerome (actor doesn’t matter, he’s not in anything else), who’s supposed to be the smart one out of the crew, talking about “I was in the military, so I’ve got more sense”…but when Jerome & O.T. suggest “Who needs to pay off the guns dealer when we can spend it on the strip club for some titties?”, the tough military brother smiles and says in a smooth tone “Yeah, titties”. By the way, the strip club montage is also PG-13 in this R-Rated movie.
It doesn’t lead anywhere, like so much in this film, but you get some booty shakes and breast bouncing for a short bit. Where I’m trying to get at is when Dominic approaches O.T. at his house (after the convenience of his nurse being O.T.s girlfriend) and this is the starting interaction:
You’d expect O.T. to be scared or at least a little intimidated that a guy he accidentally shot and supposedly kill came back into his house, alive. Instead, he’s like “No biggie! I’ can kill you again” and of course, he fails. When someone comes back from the dead, you’re first thought should be “You’re alive?! How?!” not “Look at this punk. I can take him”. I mean this is after O.T. knows about Dominic’s connection to the Italian mob, and he is still ignorant as heck.
I’ve got to cover the Italian mob, because that’s where part of the juiciness comes from. This movie is unapologetically racist towards Italians. Every trope you’d see in a kids cartoon or in stereotypical portrayal of Italians, you’re going to get that here in full force. What if someone made a cruddy version of The Godfather and put in the dumb bullies from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers as the comedy duo henchman, with fake Italian accents? You get the villains in this movie.
Tommy & Billy (played by Nick & Peter Ferriero) play so much into their types that they stop to have an argument about meatballs. Also, the key to finding any Italian mobster is done by simply going to your nearest pizza restaurant and sure enough, you’ll always find them.
I’ll say, you will have unintentional fun with this, from the hilariously bad acting, to the messy filmmaking beyond the inconsistent use of blood when needed. We’re talking about sitcom transitions to scenes and some just abruptly fading to the next. I know cosplayers and videotagraphers that can pull off what this didn’t with much less than $100,000, so it’s not of being an indie film with a small budget.
I remember someone telling me that they don’t like watching indie films because “They’re not really as good as the blockbusters”. I tend to disagree with that statement, but Backfire 2019, is an excellent argument for that belief. I can seriously go all day with talking about the writing, because what I’ll say as a positive, it never stops surprising with stupid.
I did not mention the little girl Jerome helps take care of with his fiance Aminha (played by Jowharah Jones) and how the comedy duo shot her, yet, he never cared to find out what happened to her till the very end of the movie. Aminha is sad at first, but she let’s go too, until the twist. No, what stresses them out is when the Italians shoot up the strip club they were in earlier. Yet, it doesn’t stop there.
The only other thing I will mention is that this film ends on a sequel tease, like there’s other people besides me who knows about this movie and wants a part 2. I had fun watching Backfire solely to poke fun at it, though on reflection, it’s also very mean-spirited in its writing, so some will reasonably get pissed.
This is a rare case where I give a movie I had a good-bad time with an “Avoid” stamp, because this does not need to be an example of what indie films look like. Plus, all those people talking about how bad films like the Hellboy reboot are, really needs to see this to understand what the bottom of the barrel bad means.