Messy Morality: Our Review of ‘Archenemy’ on Blu-Ray

Posted in Blu-Ray/DVD, Movies by - March 01, 2021
Messy Morality: Our Review of ‘Archenemy’ on Blu-Ray

Occasionally…worlds have to collide.

On Blu-Ray now, Archenemy is a visually kinetic ride that while occasionally messy has a strong core value to it all underneath all the insanity.

Max Fist (Joe Manganiello) claims to be a hero from another dimension who fell through time and space to Earth, where he has no powers. No one believes his stories except for a local teen named Hamster. Together, they take to the streets to wipe out the local drug syndicate and its vicious crime boss known as The Manager.

From writer/director Adam Egypt Mortimer; Archenemy is kind of a hot mess, but it’s an ultra violent, highly entertaining one.

It’s a story of the classic anti-hero at its core, but wrapped in blood, guts and a whole lot of neon.  As his follow up from the well regarded Daniel Isn’t Real, this movie borrows from a whole hell of a lot of standard super hero tropes while allowing it to exist in semi-dystopian world.  Mortimer leans on the production design mixed with the interspersing of animated elements that feel pulled from a Ralph Bakshi fever dream to make it all feel very high octane and kind of feels like if H.P. Lovecraft had written and directed Kickass.  Sometimes it is just style for style sake but even when it all goes a little around the end with its slow-mo action sequences, crazy monologues and drug use, it all kind of works because it never loses focus on the comic book structure and positive themes of good guys standing up to bad guys that it is splattering on screening.  Even in moments when the script is a little thin, it’s held together thanks to some surprisingly strong performances.

Joe Manganiello (who also serves as producer here) as our hero Max Fist is basically channeling The Punisher if it was played by Nicolas Cage.  Manganiello leans into this one hard and is having a fair bit of fun running through the streets punching, kicking and shooting whoever he damn well pleases.  He’s not trying to win an Oscar or anything, but you can easily tell that he’s having fun with this one.

Young stars Zolee Griggs and Skylan Brooks carry their end well while Brooks and Manganiello have great chemistry bantering back and forth in an awkwardly likeably big brother/little brother dynamic.  Glenn Howerton is all kinds of smarmy fun as the bad guy ‘The Manager’ while Amy Seimetz is having all kinds of fun chewing the scenery as our bad guy drug dealer who actually has a larger connection with Manganiello’s Max Fist.  While the film doesn’t allow for too many moments of genuine character development with any of the characters, the core group of the ensemble get the job done trying to get the story across.

It’s really all a redemption story, for our younger characters trying to get out of their situation and for Max trying to rediscover his definition of being a hero.  It’s all comic book 101, but in a roundabout and weirdly violent kind of way.

Picture and sound quality on the BD are actually pretty good, and the special features include a short behind the scenes making of the film.

Archenemy is all about facing your demons and having to courage to push through them, even when you know you might have to get a little messy to do it.

This post was written by
David Voigt is a Toronto based writer with a problem and a passion for the moving image and all things cinema. Having moved from production to the critical side of the aisle for well over 10 years now at outlets like, Criticize This, Dork Shelf (Now That Shelf), to.Night Newspaper he’s been all across his city, the country and the continent in search of all the news and reviews that are fit to print from the world of cinema.
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