REVIEW: 'Undercover Bike Cop' (2019), a short film by Retro Video Pictures
Updated: May 20, 2021
Set in a future where crime is the law, a former cop and his supernaturally possessed bike partner go undercover to preserve justice. However, when a group of leather jacket goons steal the bike he must find a way to get it back from them.
"Undercover Bike Cop (UBC) was something that my friends and I joked about making in high school. When I started getting into synthwave and retro-ness years later, I thought this would be a good idea to play around with in that style. The goal was always just to have fun, we were just a group of friends making a movie."
"The inspirations for the film came when I really started getting into watching older films. Walter Hill's The Warriors and Streets of Fire were big inspirations for the film's structure. The idea of the supernaturally possessed bike came from John Carpenter's Christine. China Girl, Blade Runner, and Liquid Sky inspired the lighting and outdoor atmosphere."
- Brandon Espana (writer/director/producer)
Outside the Spotlight says: Set in an unspecified future where crime and law are no longer black and white, an undercover bike cop has his bike stolen as he tries to uphold the morals of yesteryear.
Retro Video Pictures certainly live up to their name as Brandon Espana's whole package is reminiscent of 1970's exploitation cinema and the grainy textures and atmosphere give it a back-shelf video store rental feel, in the absolute best way possible. With a feeling of some not-so-distant but also very distant future with this building feeling of dread as if we perhaps aren't supposed to be seeing it.
The film's use of of high contrast and vivid colours really transport the viewer into some alternate reality the same way a fever-dream might and the soundtrack is anxiety-inducing akin to filmic trips 'Beyond the Black Rainbow' and 'Mandy'. All this, along with the dialogue and its delivery, narration and neon lights contribute to the film's quality causing Undercover Bike Cop to look both brand new and long lost.
UBC is a wonderful addition to this niche genre and especially right now as everybody has their appetites whet for a cyberpunky future, UBC is worth checking out.
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Written directed, produced, production design, visual effects, colouring, DP, ADR by Brandon Espana
First assistant camera Melissa Alzate
Camera operation by Keren Hitterman, Brandon Espana and Ali Shmaisani
Sound production and boom operation by Robert Stroud
Stills photography by Olivia Cugilari and Keren Hitterman
Transportation captain: Olivia Cugliari
Credits by Anthony Capansana
Production assistants: Olivia Cugliari, Colin Gregory and Elise Bailey
Elliot Jannetta as the Undercover Bike Cop
Leo Di Leo as Stefano
Ali Shmisani as Maximus
Kanishka Wilson as Bones
Calum Csunyoscka as the narrator
Keenan Howard as A2
Kelisha Daley as Tiny
Colin Gregory as Ren
Alex Osborne as Bronson
Adelina Rachel as Violet
Chris Bucker as Shamrock
Arsen Martyrosian as A2's backup
Connor Mcdonald, Mohammad Choudhry and Melissa Alsate as Goon Posse members
With special thanks to:
Juan Carlos Espana