This review was commissioned by Eamonn over on my Ko-fi account.

I can’t imagine watching this and not having a great time. It’s reputation as one of the worst films of all time is grossly exaggerated, as I had way too much fun watching this for the experience to resemble anything bad. If we’re going to tie ourselves down to the nitty gritty technical aspects of it all, then sure, it’s a “bad” movie. But art is just as much about the spirit and heart of a thing as it is all the finer details, and this film lacks in none of that.

Created as basically an audition reel for lead star Jimmy Bennett, Fatal Deviation was put together with no budget, no experience, and all ambition. Bennett has claimed he just needed to show to Hong Kong producers interested in working with him, and basically roped in some friends to help him make this film. For something done on the fly without any real infrastructure or institutional support behind it, there’s a shocking level of competence behind this all.

Again, this would be awful in a cinema for a paying audience. But throwing a pirated copy up on YouTube and watching it with some friends, it’s not even as bad as one might imagine. They’re able to get good coverage on most of their scenes, there’s a certain element of creativity and even thought placed behind the editing. And there’s also no denying how sick some of this action is.

Chief among that would be Jimmy Bennett’s legitimate martial arts background. A good chunk of the film is dedicated to B-roll of him training and he looks awesome in all of it. With his jacked muscles, perfect leg splits, and big spinning wheel kicks. Hell yeah, sick as fuck. Jimmy Bennett feels like the greatest Antonio Inoki opponent to never happen. I want to book him in a dozen Different Style Fights against the likes of Aoyagi and Liger and Onita. Let this man bleed and kick his way to something truly special.

This gets highlighted best in the Bealtaine tournament where he takes on a who’s who of nameless jobbers on his way to defeat the hulking Seagull who’s fresh from an excursion in Hong Kong. Jimmy’s not the best actor in the world, but when he’s leaning against the people in the crowd, trying to catch his wind to go on facing Seagull, one catches glimpse of a real ass babyface. Hell yeah, Jimmy, get his ass.

But even the big action setpieces are surprisingly exciting and earnestly done. There’s multiple car crashes that come across really well, the scene where Jimmy stands on a moving motorcycle to shoot out his enemies rocks unironically, I don’t care about your physics.

Also, the soundtrack absolutely rules. It has no place in an action thriller like this, it sounds more like soft rock that one might find in some A24 period coming of age piece, but it’s sticky and it’s fun and I pop every time I hear it. ‘

Also, a cowboy flashes his ass and some of his dick in the last ten minutes of the movie. Don’t ask me for the context, I promise it won’t help.

IS IT BETTER THAN 6/3/94? Yes.

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