Starring Franklin Correa, Janet Miranda, Emilio Pantero, Gerard Adimando
Fight Choreography by Franklin Correa
Directed by Franklin Correa
Flashdrive is an independent film by stuntman/actor Franklin Correa about drug dealers and the price a reporter pays to “out” them, and the revenge that follows.
The film starts as we need Ashley Romano (Miranda), a journalist trying to get scoop on a group of local drug dealers. She acquires a flashdrive from her contacts, who is killed not long after by the viscous Antonio (Pantero), a dealer who wants the drive and the potential money it contains. Poor Ashley is found by Antonio’s goons, and she is killed in a surprisingly visceral scene. We then follow Johnny Franco, a mixed martial artist and Ashley’s boyfriend, who gets the drive and finds out what’s on it, and uses it knowing it will draw out Ashley’s killers, and soon enough he comes face to face with Antonio…
Flashdrive had a lot of promise and requires patience to watch. The story moves along at its own pace, and not as fast as what I am admittedly used to. The actors do okay, and Emilio Pantero is great as Antonio, but I felt the film spent too much time with him and not enough letting us get to know Johnny. Janet Miranda does a good job as the beautiful up and coming reporter who meets a bad end. Franklin Correa was merely okay. His acting wasn’t great but not terrible either, just sort of…there. My biggest issue is really with the amount of time spent with the bad guys. I needed to see more of Johnny, and to understand his relationship with Ashely. They never even had a scene together, which was problematic for me to get invested in the story. The film is independent, so not everything will be perfect, and a few camera shots left a lot of what’s called “negative space” (any large areas of space to the right or left of the talent. Audiences expect something to fill the space eventually.) but the biggest visual issue I had was in regard to the lighting, which was not done very well, and can make all the difference in the world. As I watched it online it was on an .avi file, so that may explain the clarity of the film.There were a few points where the audio wasn’t very good either. It would drop out entirely in several moments. Once again, it may have been an issue with the file type I watched it on.
The fighting style of the film is mixed martial arts, and those scenes are fine, but there aren’t nearly enough of them (as compared with other indie films done today) and I didn’t have the emotional investment I felt I should have due to not getting to know Ashley or Johnny prior to the events that occur. The CGI effects work (for the gun scenes) was well done, and the choreography followed more realistic martial arts fighting, which was refreshing. I just wish there had be more of them.
Having said what I’ve said, I applaud any project that is able to get off of the ground and get made, and here is no different. There were things to like, such as Emilio Pantero’s performance as Antonio, and the film’s music was also quite good, as were the effects. The film doesn’t resolve itself at the end, leaving things open for a sequel. I hope Franklin Correa gets a chance to make it, having learned a few lessons (mostly technical) from his experiences making this film. I think the next one could be something quite good.
Kiai-Kick’s Grade: 5
A promising first feature from director Franklin Correa despite the (few) technical problems with the film. I hope to see the sequel with improvements made. It’s all a matter of experience and experimenting. Fine performances from Emilio Pantero and Janet Miranda.