Tubi: Lazarus (2021)

I love this movie.

Lazarus is a Tubi original movie, and nothing says “expect quality” quite like the status of Tubi original. Released in 2021, Lazarus is the work of R.L. Scott who took on the role of director, writer, producer, executive producer, cinematographer, fight choreographer, and presumably prepared the craft services food making sure to add a little smooch to every sandwich.

The plot of Lazarus revolves around Ray Lazarus (Sean Riggs) who is murdered and inexplicably brought back from the dead to seek revenge on the people who killed him and topple a drug empire that controls Paradise City. Big bad guy Testament (Adam Palladino) is a crime lord whose sister is dying from a disease or something. There’s a few mentions of Testament maybe wanting to utilize Lazarus’ powers to cure whatever her unnamed disease is. I have no clue because the movie forgets this plot point.

One thing I love about movies like Lazarus is that just about every actor character is overacting to the best of their limited abilities. Everyone feels strained and most of the actors are overly sweaty during the film, like they all had food poisoning during the shooting because R.L. Scott served bad clams on ice he got on clearance, or director R.L. Scott had every actor place a chestnut in between their butt cheeks when reading their lines. Alternately the studio wasn’t air conditioned and everyone seems to be wearing fifty pounds of cotton. I don’t think you could extract an ounce of genuine emotion from the entire hour and forty five minute runtime outside of “I’d rather be anywhere else right now.”

The fight choreography, for what it’s worth, is fine. Out of everything in the film, the biggest letdown comes from the sound department, whose shoddy and inconsistent job adding sound effects to fights leaves them feeling dull and quiet. If this movie came out in the theaters it would be completely overshadowed by the sound of the audience munching on their popcorn and farting into the reclining seats, and I say that out of experience. I’m not sure how this film had four production studios attached to it and nobody thought it’d be beneficial to crank the fight audio past ASMR volume.

One theory I have with this film is that R.L. Scott bought a CD of fight sound effects at Goodwill and really wanted to put them to use. Particularly the film loves the trope where characters grab each other and break their necks to finish fights. During the “climactic” large scale fight sequence, this is basically how everyone kills the person they are fighting.

I’d also like to point out that nearly everyone in this film has a really stupid name. You’ve got names like Endless, Poet, Hellborn, Benjamin Poge, Ember, Epiphany, Sticks, Stones, Twitch, Tay Jay, Chapel. There are plots that go absolutely nowhere and despite the fact that I did pay attention to the whole film, I had no clue what had been accomplished by the time the end credits rolled. It feels like one of those cases where they film 75% of the movie and suddenly lose their funding, forcing the crew to make something out of what they’ve got.

At an hour and forty five minutes you could be doing pretty much anything else and have it be more productive than watching this movie. I can stomach low budget films with bad acting, but the nonsensical plot that goes nowhere kills what little this movie had going for it.

Rating: D-

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