Streaming platform Go90, partnered with El Rey Network, is currently airing a very interesting new show. “Rebel Without a Crew: The Series” is a type of alternative reality show documentary series, that follows executive producer Robert Rodriguez as he enlists five indie filmmakers to make their own movies in 14 days on a $7,000 budget. There’s a lot of backstory and history to the contest, and we highly recommend you just watch it because it’s quite a ride!
All of the films will be available on the platform, as well as on tumblr for anyone outside of the United States, shortly after the show finishes airing its 12 episodes. One film in particular has caught our attention after its premiere at SXSW: “Monday”. Filmmaker Alejandro Montoya Marin adapted his short film into a full feature action-comedy that, without spoiling too many details, rivals the golden age of action-comedies of the early 2000’s.
Drawing inspiration from Scorsese’s “After Hours”, the artistry took on a life that resembles a fresh version of fellow Scorsese fan Quentin Tarantino’s work, and brought it into the current age. None of this is meant to underplay the film’s self-aware humour that had us cracking up, because Montoya Marin firmly carved out his own space amongst the other action-comedy legends. The film took the ever growing modern use of pop culture references in dialogue to add a modern take on the genre, but unlike most shows currently running it subverted expectations by having the jokes go noticeably underappreciated by the other characters and had a punny feel that made the film’s characters surprisngly relatable and even more hilarious.
We all know people and character’s like our protagonist Jim, and Jamie H. Jung made the character well rounded to the point we could want to smack him one moment and were rooting for him the next. Kenneth McGlothin gets a special shout out too because his “tough guy that has it together then gets whooped” portrayal was hilarious. The rest of the cast did brilliantly as well, but the unexpected breakout stars for us were the femme fatale hitwomen. A small behind the scenes tidbit, that you can (and should) watch on Rebel Without a Crew, is that the hitman role was suppsed to be cast male, but because of casting issues Montoya Marin switched the role to women and made magic when he recruited Anna Schatte and Sofia Embid, who delivered performances in a way that rivaled Melissa McCarthy’s “Spy” (another favourite action-comedy of ours).
Which brings us to our point: Alejandro Montoya Marin was able to make an action-comedy on par with other films we are seeing in the mainstream, except he did it on a fraction of the budget with minimal crew and practically no time. With a demand for original streaming content continuing to grow and the Hollywood formula becoming less viable, streaming giants like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon should take note of what was accomplished here and what these filmmakers proved they’re capable of. It’s time to create a new formula, and there’s a conversation to be had about meeting in the middle between the obsolete machine of Hollywood and the Rebel Without a Crew formula, to usher in a new generatin of film. The industry should pay attention, because Montoya Marin could honestly be leading a coming wave of change for film.