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Reporter’s notebook: “VelociPastor”

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Courtesy of Wild Eye Releasing
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Cast: Greg Cohan, Alyssa Kempinski, Daniel Steere, Fernando Pacheco de Castro
Director: Brendan Steere
Release Date: Aug. 13, 2019

The review you are now reading marks my 50th on “Static and Screen.”

This is obviously a monumental achievement, and not any old movie will do for such a milestone. But how about a film where a priest/part-time dinosaur fights drug-dealing ninjas in his tighty whities?

Yep, that will work.

Thus, I welcome you back to “Reporter’s Notebook,” our semi-regular feature on movies so bad they’re brilliant. Tonight’s subject: the brilliantly named “VelociPastor” (not rated, but with plenty of R-rated violence, language and sexual content).

I’m tempted to give a bit more of an introduction and perhaps a synopsis of the film, but come on: You and I both know you are here for the ninja-fighting dinosaur. So let’s get right to it, shall we?

0:20- Our opening title card tells us that the film has been “Rated X by an all-Christian jury.” Let’s ignore the fact that the X rating has been out of use for 30 years. But jury? Since when do juries rate movies? Also, is that something juries should start doing? Because I would totally volunteer for jury duty.

1:19- It’s time to play “Guess the Budget!” Considering that, instead of a car on fire, the screen just shows the words “VFX: Car on fire,” I’m guessing maybe $5?

1:48- The priest, whose name is Doug, receives guidance from his mentor Father Stewart: “So your parents died, Doug. That’s what parents do. They die on you.” Time to find a new mentor Doug.

2:31- Also Father Stewart is letting Doug get hammered with the church’s communion wine. Seriously Doug, find a new mentor.

2:35- In case you’re wondering if Daniel Steere, who plays Father Stewart, is related to “VelociPastor” director Brendan Steere, you better believe it. Daniel is Brendan’s dad so at least they’ll have something they can awkwardly talk about at Thanksgiving!

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Courtesy of Wild Eye Releasing

3:22- Now there is a song playing called “Extinction Love,” which is a bit too on-the-nose if I’m being honest.

5:38- The action has moved from somewhere in the USA (probably New Jersey) to China, which also looks like New Jersey.

6:26- While looking dramatically into the middle distance, Doug comes to an important realization: “China is east!”

7:00- Doug receives a weird looking dino claw that he is told will turn him into “The Dragon Warrior.” This really makes me want to see a mashup of “VelociPastor” and “Kung Fu Panda” set in China/New Jersey.

7:17- Ninjas!!!

9:41- I am happy to report that, yes, one of the characters in this film is named Frankie Mermaid, and he is a pimp. Enough said.

11:56- Carol the prostitute continues to smoke a cigarette while watching a man get murdered by Dino Doug. You know, like a normal well-adjusted psychopath.

15:30- Doug: “Dinosaurs never existed, and even if they did, I don’t transform into one.” Seriously, this is the guy who gets awesome dino powers?

16:13- Words cannot describe Doug’s outfit right now. I’m at a loss.

17:42- Carol: “There is surprisingly little demand for hooker-doctor-lawyers.” And that folks is what is wrong with America.

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Courtesy of Wild Eye Releasing

19:28- Frankie Mermaid in Doug’s confessional booth: “I took candy from a baby, and then I threw the baby in the river so he couldn’t snitch.”

20:05- And he killed Doug’s parents! Plot twist!

22:32- Carol: “I don’t know much about God.” Doug: “I don’t know much about dinosaurs.”

27:06- Seriously, the bad guys have their maniacal laugh down pat.

28:15- On Doug’s reading list: “All About Dinosaurs” and “Crime 2.”

32:51- Doug’s dad in flashback: “We’ll pick you up after priest college.” That is most definitely not what it is called, but Doug’s dad seems like a nice guy. Kind of a bummer he was only alive for the first minute of the movie.

33:10- I love how the film’s makeup crew, if there was one, made absolutely no effort to hide the acne on the face of Greg Cohan, who plays Doug. My budget guess is now revised to $3.

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Courtesy of Wild Eye Releasing

35:50- Now Father Stewart gets his own flashback set in Vietnam, which bears a striking resemblance to China/New Jersey. Also, the soldiers are wearing tennis shoes, which I am fairly certain are not regulation.

35:51- Among Father Stewart’s army buddies: Johnny Bones and Ricky Invincible.

37:59- Father Stewart’s army buddy Ali has been killed. We know this because there is blood everywhere. But he is still puffing his cigarette. Some habits die hard.

43:22- The ninjas are Australian, apparently.

48:20- Now there’s a montage showing the entire movie thus far. Including the opening credits.

49:28- The tighty whitey ninja fight you’ve been waiting for is finally here folks. And it is glorious.

52:16- A small but delightful detail: Father Stewart is talking in English to the head ninja. The head ninja is talking in Japanese to Father Stewart. And they both understand each other perfectly.

52:45- Father Stewart: “What does drug smuggling have to do with Christianity?” Ninja: “Everything.”

54:05- Doug: “Good thing that ninja told us where his hideout was before he died.” The ninja most definitely did not do this.

57:49- Apparently, Doug is also a Jedi, which is kind of cool.

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Courtesy of Wild Eye Releasing

61:59- Doug’s staring dramatically into the middle distance again. So much so that a ninja is checking his watch.

62:02- We finally have our first good look at Dino Doug, and he is quite possibly the most ridiculous dinosaur to grace the big screen. And keep in mind, I’ve seen 1959’s “Journey to the Center of the Earth” where the dinosaurs were played by iguanas.

65:18- Doug rips off the lead ninja’s head. The lead ninja’s head also very clearly belongs to a mannikin.

65:31- And as Doug rips off the ninja’s head, we cut to a Gandhi quote, which seems fitting.

65:54- Caught up in the heat of battle, Doug has apparently forgotten that his girlfriend was brutally maimed. I’m just going to say it Doug: You’re not a great boyfriend.

66:14- There is a wardrobe malfunction so delightful, I dare not spoil it for you.

68:03- Doug has resigned from the church so he can chase ninjas “all over the world.” So, you know, New Jersey.

As always in “Reporter’s Notebook,” I will assign “VelociPastor” no star rating since bad movies, even more than good films, can be an acquired taste. But come on: If you’ve read to the end of this, and you’re not queueing “VelociPastor” up on Amazon Prime right now, what is wrong with you?

About the author

Stephen Dow is an award-winning journalist with a passion for film – not just consuming it, but thoughtfully and actively engaging with it. He believes that these modern myths have a lot to tell us about our world and ourselves.  He can be reached at staticandscreen@gmail.com.

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