When the dogs in the neighborhood start disappearing, 12 year old Ryan (Paris Smith), a comic book enthusiast, and her friends --beautiful Alaina (Adia Dinh), fast David (Andre Kennedy), clever Ian (Keith Nagel), tiny Cole (Jayden Besana), shrill Amber (A'Mani Simmons), subtle Lauren (Alyssa Kennedy), and cunning Samantha (Michela Crayton)-- decide to form a superheroes club and find the dogs, themselves. After all, the police aren't doing anything about it. When Lauren's dog also goes missing, the team realize that it is up to them to do something.
By contrived coincidence, Ryan stumbles upon an old comic book talking about a dangerous villain, Dagmar (Timothy Taylor) , who is stealing dogs to blow up the town. She is sure this is the strange man that she's been seeing about town, but of course, the police do not believe her. Even as she is about to tell her friends, the evil Dagmar, who really is the comic book villain, kidnaps Ryan.
With a stretch of the imagination, Ryan manages to contact her friends who come to her rescue. Together, the eight kids save the dogs and the city….much to the astonishment of the cops.
The title R.A.D.I.C.A.L.S comes from the initials of the kids.
Written by Gary Petras and produced Berenika Bailey and Jeff Solomon and directed by Berenika Bailey, who made the movie because she wanted to empower kids and liked the "feel good" atmosphere of the story. The movie stars Adia Dinh, Keith Nagel, Alyssa Kennedy, Michaela Crayton, Jayden Besana, A'mani Simmons, Paris Smith, Andre Kennedy and Timothy Taylor.
The story concept is supposed to be Sandlot meets Spy Kids, but the movie, which was done as a low budget feature, has none of the effects or gadgets that Spy Kids has and none of the kids really have any super powers, although they do develop their own unique abilities a bit more.
The production value was decent for a low budget film but the audio could have been better. I had to raise the volume on my TV higher than normal to hear what the kids were saying. The dialogue was not only "on the nose" with the kids saying everything they were thinking, but there was often too much repetition of things, which I, as an adult viewer, found a bit irritating. There was also a lot of lecturing in the movie, which might appeal to the kids, but, I believe, could have been shown in other ways.
Truly a single quadrant movie, this family film would be of interest to kids below the age of 10, especially because of the strong female lead heroine, but older kids and adults might find the story a bit coincidental and predictable. It didn't have the double entendres that many of the kids stories have, which keep the adults in the audience amused, as well. Since we really knew what was going to happen, there was no at the edge of your seat wonder.
The film, which will be hitting many of the festivals, will shortly be available on DVD at many of your local rental stores, as well as Netflix and iTunes. More information about it can be had www.magicelevator.com
Published on Feb 18, 2013