One of two things can happen here. Either you'll think my rating should be a little higher, or you'll think it should be slightly lower. One thing however, is for sure. "Wasters" is all about having a good time, and doing it with some serious style. Make no mistake, this short film is highly stylized. Taking queues from grindhouse cinema and making them your own is one thing, stitching it all together at a breakneck pace, and doing it well is another. "Wasters" is that other, and I had an absolute blast watching. Swinging the rating scale a half star one way - or the other doesn't change one simple fact. Like it's atmospheric surroundings, Molotov Mitchell's short film leaves average in the dust.
The story is simple, and honestly doesn't even matter much. It's 1985 and this Earth isn't quite like the one we know. Criminals are shipped off to the Wastelands. A large scale concentration camp of sorts, but definitely not a place you want to enter. Then, we have another small group of people. Bounty hunters of sorts, called Wasters. These people will enter the Wastelands and retrieve items, or do other bounty related deeds. It's not a friendly place, and this short film is all about the action. With more murders than a serial killer with a permanent pardon, "Wasters" instantly starts off strong and bloody - and never lets up.
Having to create a low budget film is tough. Especially if you're attempting to create one that is actually watchable. It may be true that gear is getting cheaper, but can still easily cost an arm and a leg. So today, there are a lot more people attempting to make their mark within the industry. Yet it still takes a certain amount of natural talent, a driven group of people and experience. Oh yes... experience is usually what makes a shitty film a good one - or a good one a great one.
I'm not sure what experience level Molotov Mitchell currently sits at... but I do know one thing - embracing the fact this is a low budget production, and planning/shooting accordingly, was the decision of a great filmmaker. Creating a grindhouse style production allowed certain technical elements to be not only forgiven, but expected. "Wasters" isn't about having the cleanest, most polished shots possible. It's about grit and chaos - yet it still needs to be put together properly to work. Right? I'm pleased to say that it is... mostly.
As an action flick, I gotta say there is definitely no shortage of carnage. It's like one giant action scene with mixed, but mostly good results. A few of the combat instances did look a little strange, but more often than not, they felt pretty... action-y. Is that even a word? A great technique was used, quick zooms and such, to really make some of the hits pop. But some of the sound effects were a little over the top cartoon for me. But again, thanks to a lightning fast, and excellent edit, it all mostly worked. I also have to say I loved the props. Especially the bigger one - the Mangler. Haha. If I did have to really complain about one thing in particular, it would be the high number of fades used. Namely, the fade to blacks. Especially during the ending sequences. Sure. It's all about style, and some of them did work well. Others... not so much. I kept wishing for hard cuts - but this was never a huge problem. For me anyhow.
At the end of the day, "Wasters" is a really fun, down and dirty battle - in a not so fun, down and dirty world. Lots of fighting, lots of music and everything you'd expect from this style of film. And then some. Perfect? No. But that's a lot of the fun. Grab yourself a couple shots of whiskey, grip that beer tight - and enjoy the ride buckaroo. Three and a half stars.