Cry Havoc! And let slip the dogs of war! Or, in the immortal words of the Baha Men, who let the dogs out?! Dust of War (2013’s directorial offering by Andrew Knightlinger) delivers a study in badassery with a side of kickassery in this post-apocalyptic dystopian SciFi action flick. Buckle up, Boozers, shit’s about to get real, real dusty.
Dust of War follows two burly bounty hunter brosephs, Steven Luke’s “Abel” and Gary Graham’s “Tom Dixie”, as they set out to deliver the last hope mankind has, Jordan McFadden’s “Ellie”, against evil alien invaders battling a d-bag opposition leader, Bates Wilder’s “General Chizum”, and increasingly insurmountable odds along the way. Will Jay and Almost-Silent Bob rescue the girl and save the world? Will Foxxy Cleopatra discover what her secret is that could mean their salvation? Will Lionel Richie ever find what he’s been looking for?
The stark backdrop of ever-evolving landscapes deserted by modern society set against the gritty character study that was Dust of War was an enigma wrapped in a mystery wrapped in Stephen Luke’s cheekbones (sharp enough to do rails of cocaine off of…) And somewhere, somehow, Lindsay Lohan knows someone speaks of her spirit animal.
The simplicity of plot allowed the actor’s purity of purpose to shine through the layers of artfully arranged dust and grime caked on by what must have been a cadre of production assistants (or, you know, a highly trained ferret fed nothing but Ritalin and Glamour magazines). The dialogue was streamlined to the point of sparse minimalism; which only served to tantalize and intrigue. The fact that I knew almost nothing about these broody characters and still gave a shit about what happened to them speaks volumes to the strong direction and talent pool of a relatively unknown cast. This movie was like a blind date you actually let round Third Base… Third Base is when you wrap them in duct tape and chain them in your basement, right? Cool.
Dust of War used special effects minimally; opting instead to rely on the complex depths of its characters to illustrate its narrative. Even the villains, who could’ve easily been Flat Stanleys and shallow, one-note characters, had shades of hidden purpose making even the antagonists relatable assholes (I hope Kanye took notes).
The charisma and magnetic pull from each actor no matter the size of the role (gangster nods to Doug Jones for a multi-faced “Jebediah Strumm”, Hank Ostendorff’s fantastically irreverent “Klamp”, and Tony Todd’s darkly offbeat “Crispus Hansen”), kept me locked and loaded on what would happen next for this Robin Hood and his Not-So-Merry-Kind-Of-Sweaty band of men and women. The connection between Abel and Elli was slow burning but especially engaging as well (not to mention more interesting than any of the epic shartfests by Kristen Stewart or Rob Pattinson). Seriously, these two Dust of War leads accomplished more with holding hands than Twilight ever did with teen angst and Taco Bell constipation face.
Think about the best blowjob you ever had, guys. Got it? Okay. Now think about if ten minutes before the end they taped an IOU to your dick and bounced. How frustrated are you? A lot? Yeah. Picture me ten minutes before Dust of War ended just like that. For such an engrossing slow-burn to pop off (what felt like) prematurely and then hand the audience a Deus Ex Machina that ripped open some Lindsay Lohan, I mean Amanda Bynes, I mean crazy-ass plot holes leaving the audience in the most epic WTF moment since we never found out if Pat was a man or woman? *bangsheadonkeyboard* * bangsheadonkeyboard* * bangsheadonkeyboard*
Add to that flashes of hipster-like art for art’s own sake and a moment or two of overly dramatic dialogue and this sly, witty nod to a post-apocalyptic odyssey (despite a less-than-flawless execution) still managed to be two-for-one tacos, I mean birthday butt stuff, I mean awesome.
Dust of War is one of the best Indie films I’ve seen in a long time. Watch it, rent it, feel up your slightly drunk hot neighbor that’s looking for some rebound action to it, today. Two post-apocalyptic nipples way, way up.
Take a Drink: anytime someone gets captured, stabbed or dies.
Do a Shot: whenever you see an alien/alien ship.
Take a Drink: for every Great Escape.
Take a Sip: whenever Abel actually speaks. Bonus Shot: if it’s a voiceover.
Take a Drink: anytime somebody goes Hannibal Lecter.
Do a Shot: for every rattlesnake and/or land mine.
Shotgun a Beer: for the showdown at the OK Corral.