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THE INNOCENCE SAGA I:

THE INNOCENT KILLERS (2008)

-Review by Nic Brown-

How does a business man go from zero to building a Fortune 100 company in just ten years? For Collin Donovan (Craig Rainey), founder of Donovan Enterprises, the answer is that you don’t play by the rules and if you have a problem you eliminate it. To that end Donovan has assembled a group of seven “special operatives” called The Innocent Killers. The film THE INNOCENT KILLERS is the first installment of writer/director Brett Mauser’s INNOCENCE SAGA, a ten part series that will be released one film at a time over the next two years.

 

THE INNOCENT KILLERS, while able to exist as a stand alone film on many levels, is clearly part of a series. The film opens with a pair of San Antonio police detectives, Mike Lorenzo (Brett Mauser, who acts in the film as well) and his partner Diane Loveland (Ryan Harris), dealing with an informant who seems to have gone crazy and taken a hostage. It turns out the informant is only trying to stay alive and figures being surrounded by cops is the way to do it. What’s got him that scared? He’s come into possession of an antique coin and he warns the detectives that everyone who has the coin ends up dead, and that respected businessman Collin Donovan is somehow involved.

 

With the coin now in a police evidence locker it might seem that would be the end, but Donovan is after the coin and he sends his Innocent Killers to take it from the police. The coin is retrieved for Donovan, but in the process most of the Innocent Killers team is killed along with many more police, including Mike’s partner Diane. Now the story follows a convoluted path as Mike seeks to bring the seemingly untouchable Donovan to justice and Donovan’s plans begin to make themselves clear.

 

If THE INNOCENT KILLERS were not part one of a much larger series, then the complex plot and numerous characters that are introduced would make the film difficult to watch. However, Mauser makes it clear from the start that this is just one part of a much larger story, so the viewer is left to trust that things will make more sense as the story progresses. Having seen the second film in the series, THE SHADOW RISING, it is evident that is the case.

 

Mauser has done an impressive feat. Just getting ten films made is an accomplishment many independent filmmakers only dream of. Mauser didn’t only make ten films; he completed principal photography and much of the post-production in one year. This means that all of the films to be released within the next few years. Despite the rushed schedule presented by this endeavor and the budgetary limitations that go hand in hand with most independent film projects, THE INNOCENT KILLERS is a solid action film filled with interesting characters and an impressive amount of action. While most of the acting is well done, sometimes the dialogue drags and the audience must remind themselves that there is more to the story than just this film, so some events are not explained right away and will only make sense when the rest of films are added in.

 

On the plus side for the film, many of the actors stand out in their roles. Most noteworthy were Matthew Jasso and Jade Esteban Estrada. Jasso’s portrayal of Joey Pantinelli, one of the killers, is impressive, especially as the character’s views of loyalty and honor are challenged by events. Estrada’s performance as Jax is worth noting for the way he steals the show in almost every scene he’s in as he brings an outrageous mix of ruthlessness and campiness together to create possibly the most memorable of the film’s characters.

 

THE INNOCENT KILLERS has good action, interesting characters, and a story that is compelling despite, or possibly because of, its complexity. So if you have the opportunity, check out Brett Mauser’s THE INNOCENT KILLERS, but be sure you bring a score card - you may need it to keep up.

Learn more about the INNOCENCE SAGA by visiting www.Ponderousproductions.com



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