THE BLAZING CANNONS is the story of two 70's obsessed cops on the trailer of a serial killer.
One of the great things about the arrival of the digital age of film, is the democratisation it has brought to the film industry. Before, working with film required a lot of training and, was always prohibitively expensive, which tended to make it an easier career to follow, if you came from a well-heeled back ground. However, this sadly barred a lot of would be film makers who had strong ideas and something to say to entertain, educate or fascinate and dazzle us with. Not so now. Now anyone can buy a camera or even carry out that 21st century new cliché, ‘making a film on an iPhone’. However, every so often, a couple of aspiring film makers not only get going and shoot a feature, but also pick a strong concept and then with great confidence, manage to create something with entertainment and commercial value too.
THE BLAZING CANNONS exactly fits into this category. A satirical comedy, which pays homage to 1970’s TV series like ‘Starsky and Hutch,’ and ‘The Professionals,’ and, well any buddy cop movie or TV series from that era, THE BLAZING CANNONS, is the brainchild of Mark Noyce and Ben Shockley, who co-wrote and directed it. Clearly made for very little indeed, the lighting style is non-existent, apart from a few after effects, and the film does not have a ‘look’ but was clearly a spirited attempt at creating the urban, gritty, street look of the TV series/films that, THE BLAZING CANNONS satirises and lampoons. Targeted at a specific audience, it has also found distribution. This makes it a clear example of how ‘knowing your audience’ will often count for far more than ‘art’ sometimes in purely monetary terms, which is over half the battle won if one wants to eventually build a sustainable career in what is essentially an industry that thrives on the marriage between commerce and art. Sadly many low budget film makers think they have to explore and torture a deep dramatic premise along with the concept, but not so with THE BLAZING CANNONS. Here the honest, unpretentious feeling of excited exuberance carries the film, and the audience is in no doubt about the enthusiasm and intent to make us laugh and to entertain. And to be sure, there are some good gags of the verbal and visual variety. In fact, this is the sort of film that starts as a simple curiosity, but if it gathers momentum, has the sort of appeal that, in the fullness of time, turned the makers of such other concept lead films like, ‘Sharknaedo’ into very successful filmmakers.
So, if you’re the sort that loves a few light weight jokes, which roll along easily like a series of sketches, or you have your mates round for a Friday Night in of fun and a few drinks, give THE BLAZING CANNONS a go. Glossy production values you will not find, and from a purist point of view, the story and script are patchy. However, to focus on that misses the point, because in terms of sheer bravado, enthusiasm and concept, this film scores just fine. It also proves quite delightfully once again, as the dearly, recently departed master screenwriter writer William Goldman once famously replied when asked about ‘what makes a successful film’, in such a maverick industry as film that, “No one knows anything.” – A freeing statement for our modern film making age that favours the bold, and which attitude lies at the very centre of this film. ***stars.
NB: It is also great that this true product of independent film making was championed by ‘The Regent Cinema,’ the UK’s oldest cinema, in Regent Street, London W1. It first opened in 1848, was recently renovated, and now boasts one of the widest screening selections anywhere in London. From old classics to new block buster releases, independent films to art house films, foreign films to documentaries, this quaint and rather lovely Victorian cinema screens them all and is well worth a visit. For more info on screening schedules and timings visit: www.regentstreetcinema.com