Foxxy Madonna vs the Black Death (RePost from the old Ryan’s Reviews site)

Description (from
There is a dark sect in the fight against evil – an elite underground organization of unorthodox secret preacher agents who get down for a higher power! Monica Barajas (Shade of Grey, Loss) is Foxxy Madonna – a butt-kicking, chain-smoking preacher chick with a small arsenal, a bad attitude, and a mysteriously powerful “crucifist.” And she’s gonna need em all as she’s about to embark on her most dangerous mission yet! The notorious Black Death (Jomar “Dez” Banks – Shade of Grey, Mime) is about to unleash a virus of Biblical proportions upon the world. And it’s up to the foxxiest of heroes to stop him. Whether it’s preventing the plague to end humanity, burning a demonically possessed guy to death, or dueling fisticuffs with a chalkboard-wielding psychopath, Foxxy Madonna is up to the challenge!

Major Cast:
Monica Barajas as Foxxy Madonna / Sam Pinkerton; Jomar “Dez” Banks as The Black Death; Scott Ganyo as Gabriel; David Barajas as Chalkboard; Jennifer Berkemeier as G.O.D., Troy Butler as The Possessed, Phil Lechuga as Henchman

Written by Jakob Bilinski, Edward Hatfield, and Christopher Wilkerson

Directed by Jakob Bilinski

When I first finished watching FMvtBD, my first impression was: not bad. Not overly awesome, but not bad. It was a fun, decently-fast paced modern theological exploitation flick, with servants of G.O.D. packing heat. The dialogue was snappy, but it could be a little slicker; the acting was good overall (which is better than most low/no budget flicks, where I would say that decent-at-best is the norm… but we know when you can’t pay your actor you take the quality that you can get), but was inconsistent – some people were good, while others not so much. Don’t get me wrong – I was entertained for the entire 15 or so minutes that I watched FMvtBD – I just wasn’t blown away.

Then I watched an interview on the DVD where director Jakob Bilinski and “The Black Death” actor Jomar “Dez” Banks explained that this film was part of a 48-hour film fest, and was completed from first concept to final edit within a single weekend. Bilinski explained that they received an email with four “must-include” bits of information – a genre, a character, a prop, and a line of dialogue – and inspired by a recent viewing of the trailer for the (then) upcoming Tarantino / Rodriguez Grindhouse, FMvtBD was created. In a weekend. Let me recant my earlier middle-of-the-road stance… for a film made in a weekend, FMvtBD is an incredibly well designed, shot, and edited short. I have seen many shorts that had 5 to 10 times the amount of planning and execution time, and half (if that) the creativity, composition, sound quality, and overall entertainment value that FMvtBD crammed into a single weekend.

I recommend the director’s cut, which incorporates additional scenes that were cut from the film fest version, as well as more in-depth post-production (as time was not a constraint on the director’s cut). FMvtBD‘s director’s cut includes color correction / manipulation to help achieve that slightly washed out / blown out 70’s exploitation feel, as well as the requisite faux film scratches. Also included are decent digital effects, which can often ruin an ultra-indy production by betraying the budget… in looking damn cheesy. However, FMvtBD used the digital effects sparingly, and the effects that were included (mostly digital muzzle blasts and bullet hits) were well done. The film was shot on a “prosumer” camera, and for the most part the 16:9 print looks very nice; the only part of the film that appeared to be of lower quality were the shots in the (very 70’s) opening credits, these seemed to have either been shot on a lower quality camera, or processed differently as they looked very “DV.”

One thing that really impressed me about FMvtBD was the quality of the sound. Some of the foley-type effects sounded a little low-rent, but the dialogue quality was well above average for your typical low/no budget flick. And the sound in the film was well balanced – I didn’t have to turn it up extra loud to understand the dialogue, nor did I have to turn it way down once the guns started popping.

Overall, I was impressed by the quality of FMvtBD, especially considering the time constraints under which it was conceived and created. It was a fun little flick that left itself open for a continuation of the story – which I would gladly spend another 15 minutes watching.

Overall 7.5 / 10

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