Plot: Joe Stryker (Joe Watts) has fallen into a spiral of booze, sex, and violence, watching as the city streets he swore to protect suffer the same fate. He hasn’t been the same after his beloved wife was murdered in some of ritualistic attack, so while he is still on the police force, his methods are much different. Even the other officers seem leery of Stryker in recent times, as he is often late, hung over, and impossible to deal with, as he refuses to take orders or do things by the book. When a new drug is unleashed on the streets, Stryker sees a chance to settle the score once and for all, if he can prove a local businessman (Jon McCollum) is a sadistic crime lord. To make that happen however, Stryker will have to hit the streets, shake down thugs, and endure a tidal wave of violence, but if he can survive all that, he might have a shot at vengeance and putting the past behind him.
Entertainment Value: This indie action movie is a perfect example of how passion, creativity, and a colorful cast & crew can more than compensate for a low budget, as Joe Stryker is massive fun. The narrative might be familiar, the rogue cop out for revenge, but the end result feels unique, thanks to a constant flow of outlandish moments and an over the top sense of humor. Our lead has greasy hair, stonewashed jeans, and an endless parade of cheesy one liners, while he is surrounded by an energetic supporting cast, including Jon McCollum as our villain. Between Joe Watts’ grimy hero and McCollum’s sleazy crime boss, you might think the smaller roles would be lost in the shuffle, but that doesn’t happen here. The film is smart enough to give nearly all the characters moments to shine in and does so without veering off the main thread, which is impressive. The action is low rent, but always fun to watch and since the movie never takes itself too seriously, the hokey shootouts and other set pieces are often peppered with bursts of humor to boot. The performances are wild and the cast really embraces the madness, which makes the already hilarious material even more fun, so even when the humor stalls, the cast makes it work. I had a great time with Joe Stryker and I commend everyone involved, the passion shines on screen and the movie is highly recommended.
The movie includes some naked flesh, with a couple of topless scenes, as well as a memorable sequence involving jean shorts and a dude’s balls. You haven’t lived until you’ve seen a dude wielding nunchucks while his sack dangles out of his short, short, ever so short shorts. You can also bask in some low rent, high fun bloodshed here, including an epic face demolishing session. The special effects aren’t great, but the visual impact is still there and for many genre fans, the DIY elements are more than enough to compensate. The violence also includes decapitation, a throat slash, a geyser level wound at one point, and crimes against a glorious wig. The gun battles are CGI fueled and don’t look realistic, but again, have that DIY charm. The dialogue is fantastic and the movie delivers a consistent stream of outlandish exchanges, hokey one liners, and various insults, most of which are hilarious. As I mentioned before, the characters are colorful and the performers really run with the wackiness, so even routine conversations tend to skew toward the absurd. A lot of quotable lines in Joe Stryker, so fans of ridiculous dialogue will have fun here. The insanity scale’s needle moves from the dialogue, characters, and general anything goes atmosphere of the movie, plus a number of outrageous scenarios. I still think about the sauerkraut negotiation tactic, but there’s a good deal of just bananas stuff here.
Overall Insanity: 7/10