• Throwback

    Released by MVD Visual
    Released on: July 21, 2015
    Directed by: Travis Bain
    Cast: Shawn Brack, Anthony Ring, Melanie Serafin, Vernon Wells
    Year: 2014
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    The Movie:

    Jack (Shawn Brack) and Kent (Anthony Ring) discover a map that will lead the duo to the lost treasure of Australian outlaw Thunderclap Newman. Their friendship comes to a screeching halt when, after locating the fortune, Kent decides he wants it all and attempts to kill Jack. However, something’s in the air and a strange, Bigfoot like creature disrupts Kent’s plan leading to a quick getaway for Jack and creating a man versus man versus nature scenario. Along the way, Jack teams-up with a plucky park ranger, Rhiannon (Melanie Serafin) while Kent has a tussle with an undercover police officer (Vernon Wells) working on a case involving missing hikers. Will there be any survivors of this treasure hunt?

    Yowie! It may sound like a declaration of pain but it really is the name of our Bigfoot of the Outback featured in director Travis Bain’s Throwback, a kind of melding of The Treasure of the Sierra Madre and The Legend of Boggy Creek. While the film’s title may refer to the Yowie being a “throwback” to a more primitive man it also seems to be a nod to the nature run amok films of an earlier era, the feeling of which Bain is trying to recreate. Whatever Throwback may pertain to, I feel Cryptids and Crime or Yowie and the Hendersons would have been better titles. Throwback is the worst kind of a film. It is not good by any means but it also isn’t horrible. The film is not funny nor scary and nothing interesting happens. The film just exists. After 80-plus minutes has passed, Throwback leaves your memory forever, it makes no lasting imprint. All of that said, the actual watching of the film is pleasant, just uneventful.

    One problem is Bain should have never attempted to make this feature length. He just does not have enough ideas to warrant the film’s running time. Once Jack and Rhiannon escape from Kent nothing happens for the middle 30-or-so minutes. Each character is seen just stumbling through the woods. Bain tries to overcome this by inserting the undercover cop but it is obvious he’s just there to extend the movie. The cop has one scene, a conversation with Kent, it lasts maybe 10 minutes and he is then killed off screen. At least the character was performed by Vernon Wells, who gives the film’s best performance. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my disappointment when Wells showed up on screen and was not in his Bennett costume from Commando. A Yowie versus Bennett, now that is a movie I want to see. Wells should have remarked his desire to shoot the Yowie between the balls. An easy remedy for the time problems would have been extending the search for Thunderclap Newman’s treasure. Kent and Jack literally find it on the first morning of their trip. It was so easy to find, I’m not sure how no one located it earlier.

    Unsurprisingly, the Yowie costume looked cheap and not at all convincing. However, this was never a big problem as Bain kept the shots of the creature short, fast, and typically lighted from behind creating a silhouette effect. In fact, Bain did a nice job with much of the action in the film. Kent and Jack had a couple of small brawls which were well shot and edited, as were the numerous chase scenes. The weakest action sequence in the film was the cheap, digital explosion at the film’s climax. It was not a problem that the effect was digital it was that it was just too small. It seemed like an explosion fit for a small rodent rather than giant, bipedal humanoid.


    MVD Visual unleashes Throwback onto an unsuspecting world in 1.85:1 video presentation. I will be honest the picture is pretty bad but I do not think I can blame this on MVD Visual. The extreme low budge of the film, along with the cheap digital cameras used, attributed greatly to the murky, ill-defined image. The night scenes suffered the worst as they also had to contend with bad lighting. The audio, 2.0 stereo, is fine. It won’t blow anyone’s socks off but it works fine. All of the dialogue is audible and the music, sort of a poverty row John Williams, is never over powering. The disc has an odd error at around the film’s 40-minute mark, the Vernon Wells scene repeats itself. I am not sure if this means the film is actually 10-minutes shorter or a scene was lost.

    The DVD debut of Throwback is packed with extra features. Included on the disc are an alternate ending in which Rhiannon somehow has a flashback to an event where she was not present and two deleted scenes which are nothing more than more footage of characters walking. 40-minutes of behind the scenes footage is featured. The footage is really uninformative but highlights the beauty of the Australian rain forest. Three extremely short films by Bain are included, all three of which are one joke affairs that feel very amateur. The middle film about a chance meeting at a laundromat was odd. The male character was supposed to be funny and charming but came off as a creep. Also presented are six audio-only interviews from Australian radio. The interviews aren’t bad but the information, and jokes, are repeated over-and-over. The disc is rounded out by two trailers.

    The Final Word:

    There is not much to say about Throwback. It is one of least memorable films I have ever seen. I suppose if someone is a Bigfoot junkie they might like the film, but that’s about the only audience I can think of for this film. Like I said above, it isn’t horrible, just bland and that is a far worse cinematic crime.