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  • Writer's pictureGuy Jeffries

Search/Destroy: A Strontium Dog Fan Film Review

A friend and fellow blogger posted this link in our Facebook group and I was instantly excited when recognising both the subject material and the names behind the camera. Sterlacchini being the man who co-wrote and directed the Judge Dredd-themed short, Judge Minty back in 2013, and Stephen Green being the DoP and visual effects. If you haven't seen it, I suggest you watch that too.

Now the subject matter is someone else from the Judge Dredd universe, well from the 2000AD comic book series that was created by John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra, the same two people who gave birth to Judge Dredd, who were later joined by Alan Grant. Johnny Alpha, or better coined as a Strontium Dog which was a nickname given to the mutant bounty hunters who hunt down criminals for the Search/Destroy agency.

It's 2180 and post the great nuclear war and a large majority of the British population has been wiped out leaving behind an almost wild western society of humans and mutants. Though not the superhuman kind of mutant and more so outrageously deformed beyond recognition which earns many characters silly nicknames, being the subjects of strong racism in the surviving world. Much like Dredd, the story and political background of Strontium Dog is brilliant, describing a New Britain after the nuclear devastation with intergalactic space colonies and power struggles between the new government, the new church and the monarchy. It places this right up there with the best comics to come out of Britain.

Some outlaw across the galaxy is collecting Strontium Dog badges by eradicating whoever turns up to take the bounty. Next up is our hero Johnny Alpha and his loyal Viking sidekick, Wurf Sternhammer. As said before, the mutants of Strontium Dog are more deformed than gifted with superpowers, however, Johnny Alpha's glowing eyes have the ability to see through walls and read people's minds and he has an assortment of creatively dangerous gadgetry like his electrified knuckle dusters and his time drogue that can temporarily reverse time a few moments.

The performances are superb, most notably Simpson's portrayal of the mutant bounty hunter and Horsham was born to be a space Viking. Good to see Dehn return from Judge Minty as the colonel. The special effects and production are totally on point and really displays what's achievable on a low budget, showing up the big boys with their multi-million dollar budgets.

This short film flipped me right out to the comics, I love the touches and nods to the source material that make up the brilliant character of Alpha. His righteous conscience that simmers underneath his hard, tough bounty hunter shell, he's the original space cowboy.

You can certainly tell it's made by true fans of the comics and urges me to return to 2000AD and read up on the adventures of Johnny Alpha. I would love to see more from these guys.

If you're a fan of the comics or of some great sci-fi action, I urge you to watch. Clicking on the film poster below will direct you to the full film.

Running Time: 8

The Cast: 8

Performance: 6

Direction: 8

Story: 8

Script: 7

Creativity: 9

Soundtrack: 6

Job Description: 10

The Extra Bonus Point: 10 for bringing back some forgotten, fond memories.

Would I buy the Blu-ray?: Yes.

80% 8/10

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