— by CAM SMITH —
It’s tough to know what to make of the recently leaked trailer for the Timur Bekmambetov-produced airborne car opus “Black Lightning.”
While, in theory, a vehicle-centric comic-book origin tale makes for an interesting concept, it is impossible to take anything about this too-serious-for-its-own-good trailer as anything other than slickly produced camp. If you can make it through the clip, featuring the high-flying adventures of a misfit Russian lad in a super-powered Volga, without breaking into fits of disbelieving laughter, you are a stronger-willed individual than I.
Taking cues from a litany of cinematic caped hero sagas, not to mention “Transformers,” “Black Lightning” is yet another trudge down the well-worn path of epic spectacles featuring social outcasts who, through circumstances too outlandish and convoluted to imagine, find themselves in possession of special abilities that enable them to win the girl of their dreams, save the day from wide-eyed, hysterical doom-mongers and learn VALUABLE LESSONS.
Although the effects are as bold, slow-mo and flashy as Bekmambetov’s “Wanted,” the film seems to bear all the originality of a mid-1980s B-level actioner, with a requisite sneering corporate scoundrel — who yearns to create an evil army of villainous Volgas! Egads! — and tortured hero’s journey signalled by solitary scenes of anguished glaring.
And while “Spider-Man” pulled off the screaming newspaper headline cliché just dandy, the attempts by “Black Lightning” just feel silly — “Black Lightning is a People’s Hero!”
Still, this flick is probably the closest any of us will come to a feature-length M.A.S.K. adaptation, so, pride be damned, count me in.
Directed by first-time helmer Alexandr Voitinsky, Black Lightning’s release date remains, like the car itself, up in the air.
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