Tuesday, December 11, 2018

SuperGrid: The WolfCop Team Goes Post-Apocalyptic

They used to be so polite, but in the dark and stormy future, Canada will be known for cannibalism. Hard to believe, but that comes straight from a new Canadian-produced Saskatchewan-shot post-apocalyptic action-road movie-family drama. Of course, the United States is not much better since the outbreak of the Black Lung plague. Things are bad everywhere, but there are serious smuggling opportunities to be found on the lawless titular SuperGrid highway connecting Fargo country to the Great White North. The guilt-ridden Deke convinces his brother Jesse to come back for one last contraband run in Lowell Dean’s SuperGrid (trailer here), which opens this Friday in select Canadian cities.

Deke has black lung, but at least he is not dead yet, like his sister. He recruited her to drive during an unusually dangerous run forced on him by post-apocalyptic gangster Lazlo. Even though she was killed, Deke still owes him his cargo, whatever that might be. After some brotherly angst, Jesse agrees to join him, but the bickering only stops when they know they are in dire trouble (actually, that is pretty often). Fortunately, Jesse’s ex-wife North and her partner Owl form the Overwatch security agency are discretely riding shotgun, as an off-the-books favor to Deke.

There is nothing particularly original about this foray into the near-future wasteland, but SuperGrid is still an enjoyable time at the movies, because it has so much humanity and attitude. Dean and several of several cast-members of his wildly entertaining WolfCop movies, including the big dog himself, Leo Fafard, truly bring out the human element in this tale of estranged brothers. Viewers quickly invest in them and North. The island of civilization represented by a resilient First Nations community is also a smart piece of world-building.

Fafard really commands the screen playing it straight-as-an-arrow as Jesse, the no-fooling-around brother. He and Marshall Williams really sound like brothers who get on each other’s last nerves. Natalie Krill also shows some decent action chops as North. Plus, Tinsel Korey helps boost the film’s intelligence and sensitivity as Eagle, the First Nations doctor.

SuperGrid has tons of logical holes, but it is impossible to dislike such a dashed resourceful, bootstrap-pulling film. Based on this film and the Wolfcops, we would watch anything Dean and his repertory company took a swing at. But seriously, when’s the new WolfCop coming out? Recommended with weird affection for fans of the post-apocalypse, SuperGrid opens this Friday (12/14) in Toronto at the Carlton Cinemat and in Ottawa at the Mayfair Theatre, with a VOD release coming on both sides of the border next Tuesday (12/18)—and special thanks to GAT.