People the least bit familiar with my writing on this site know that I give a wee bit extra attention to stories involving black talent for what I think would be obvious reasons. It’s been one of the more rewarding aspects of writing for CHUD: As I scan the trades daily for news, I’ve gotten a better macro view of what projects black actors, producers, and directors are attached to and where we’re going in the industry. The bad news is that a large part of that depresses me for various reasons that I’ve ranted on enough about already, and so I won’t completely rehash them here. But even when I’m extra hard on some suspect-sounding projects, it’s because I want to see us do so much better than we are right now.
One of the guys who’s caught my eye is Sylvain White. He’s a young cat who started in commercials and videos for Propaganda Films like a lot of young hotshots (e.g. Spike Jonze, Antoine Fuqua, Mark Romanek). He started in features with his name attached to direct-to-video dreck like I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer and Trois 3. But he came up in a big way with this year’s Stomp the Yard, which made a lot of dough for a little money. Now, he’s got some mainstream opportunities ahead as he’s already in the director’s chair for Frank Miller’s Ronin and now has signed for another dystopian future flick…only this one’s got a lot worse pedigree behind it.
Static is an uber-generic sounding futuristic flick produced by Neal Moritz, the infamous teen schlockmeister responsible for the Last Summer franchise and several other series that ride decently-performing films to the ninth circle of direct-to-video hell (e.g. The Skulls 3, Cruel Intentions 3). The plot, such as it is, follows the leader of the city’s toughest gang having to battle rival gangs as he is transported to testify against corrupt cops, so the film is basically S.W.A.T. 2: The Quickening, or 16 Mo’ Blocks, Motherfucka, or whatever other variant you’d like to attach this joke to.
I’m happy that Sylvain is getting some mainstream films coming his way, and even though I didn’t like the film, I think he earned his chance with Stomp the Yard and its box office performance. I even understand that he’d want to do another film for the guy that gave him a chance so early on. But even on the conceptual level, this film sounds dreadful. And since Antoine Fuqua’s kind of already cornered the “black-director-doing-mediocre-action-pictures” lane, I’m hoping Sylvain has something else to bring to the table. If so, I doubt we’ll see it here, but I guess you never know. In any case, the film will be released under Moritz’s Original Film production banner at Sony.
Neal Moritz. Original Film. Think about that for a sec.