An experiment in ultra-low-budget filmmaking, western style!
Written By: Jak Locke
Directed By: Jak Locke
I always love getting a chance to watch a truly low budget indie production. Something can be said about the creativity that can be found when you simply don't have the money. With that said however, a certain amount of "indie issues" always seem to pop up when you mix low budget with the grand vision of a studio piece. For the more experienced filmmaker, not having much cash can lead to numerous innovations; for the budding producer however, it can be a nightmare. Knowing how and what to do can easily make or break an indie film. "Targeted" is a perfect example of a great idea that although good, could have been so much more, if the production team simply tailored the script(s) to what they could do, not what they wished they could. Is it entertaining? The short answer is yes. Yes is it. "Targeted" contains enough positives to easily outweigh the short comings of the film. I love a good Spaghetti Western and this movie has much more than a taste. I also couldn't help but think of some classic "Three Stooges" episodes when watching. Nothing right up front, but it did have that feeling. Writer/director Jak Locke ends up delivering an entertaining film just not an amazing one. Now days however, indie or studio... who does?
An interesting aspect of "Targeted" is the inclusion of a second script. More to the point, a second film. Reportedly, written by a child and put together. Of the two, the second was my favorite. Dialog like "You're gross" has been planted into my head and still gives me a chuckle. Aside from the comedic elements of the script itself, the second film seemed technically superior as well. My biggest peeve with "Targeted" was the constant use of cross transitions and shaky, jumpy camera work. This doesn't seem as "in your face" in script B.
The technical work alone is what I was writing about above. Knowing what you should and shouldn't try with a limited budget. Using locked shots over moving ones would have benefited "Targeted" in a major way. Written simply... if you don't have a great camera, or steadi-cam operator; if you don't have a dolly or jib don't attempt the complex shot! Compose a good locked off shot instead! You may think the motion or complexity will add production value, but when it's jittering and jumping all over the place... it doesn't. It actually degrades the scene. "Targeted" is full of shots like this and it really hurt the production. Use what you have, not what you want.
Where Jak Locke did hit a home run was the use of props and locations. Loved them! You simply can't have a western if you don't have the visual set pieces. Complimenting the props of the film was some damn fine acting by the cast. When I write "damn fine" I don't really mean spot on dramatic... I mean perfect for the style of the production. Just the right amount of cheese-y lines and accents performed by a group that appeared to be having some real fun. All other aspects aside, if you're having fun with something it always shines through.
"Targeted" is not the perfect low budget indie flick but it easily earns it's grade. The numerous special features and "B Script" make Jak Locke an instant director to watch in my books. Give this man some money and let's see what comes next! Name dropping aside, "Targeted" is a solid film with plenty to giggle about. An easy view for any lover of the genre.
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