Agency of Vengeance: Dark Rising

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“Hello, film poster. You appear to have my full attention.”

darkrisingThis makes a great deal more sense when you realize it’s actually a sequel, not only to Cymek’s earlier Dark Rising, but also the TV series that followed. The US/Netflix title and blurb cunningly manage to avoid mentioning this, which certainly explains the sense that you have walked into the middle of a story. For instance, none of the characters are apparently fazed by the fact that interdimensional portals have opened, allowing all manner of icky creatures to enter this Earth’s realm from a “Dark Earth”. It’s up to the Rising Dark Agency, a Government department [apparently staffed by about six people] to keep the resulting mayhem in check. Chief among its operatives are Jason Parks (Cannon, a dead-ringer for Dolph Lundgren) and Summer Vale (Kingsley, also the director’s wife), whose combination of human and demon DNA you have probably noticed on the poster. And are perhaps still staring at.

Anyway, beginning with the munching of Summer’s fiance by a giant worm during their wedding ceremony, this installment sees the arrival of wannabe deity Mardock, who appears to be trying to target Summer, as the biggest threat to his/her/its rise to power. As the RDA investigate, they also come under attack, and it’s up to the small band of survivors, along with demonic nerd Bulo (Nahrgang), to try and prevent the resurrection of Mardock. But before they get there, they discover that somebody left for dead in a previous episode, might not be quite as deceased as thought, and has now switched sides, largely out of bitterness at being abandoned.

At the risk of blowing my own trumpet, I did a much better job of explaining the plot than the film does, and it’s less a story that you follow, than one where you cling on to the roof-rack, presuming that it will all make sense, or at least come to a halt eventually. Hard to know how much blame is the makers, and how much the marketers for not mentioning all that has gone before. However, if you’re prepared to cut that aspect some slack, there are aspects that are fun, not least Kingsley, who seems to spend half the film in her underwear for one thinly-generated reason or other. It’s all in good fun though, and the non-serious tone is generally very obvious, most particularly in Bulo, though his character occasionally veers close to the line where endearing becomes irritating. It’s nice to see a matching villainess as well, with a similar… ah, taste in costumes, and I’ll confess that despite a budget well short of the imagination, overall, I was entertained, and left with a non-zero interest in going back to check out the previous installments. Hopefully, they will make rather more sense than this one.

Dir: Andrew Cymek
Star: Brigitte Kingsley, Landy Cannon, Julia Schneider, Nug Nahrgang

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