In the neo-noir drama Do It, we follow an elderly pharmacy clerk named Bernie (Russ Kingston), a man who has had it with the way his home town of LA operates, and how it affects him. As his life unravels all around him, Bernie decides the only way to take away all these awful feelings away is to hatch a plan to kill the Mayor of LA (David C Waite) when the mayor arrives to his pharmacy in a few days. He walks the street at night, befriends a young prostitute with a heart of gold named Tori (Joanne Ryan) and tires to find good in the city he loves and hates in equal amounts. As Bernie’s experiences push him to the brink of insanity over the next few days before the Mayor visits his pharmacy, he battles a fight against himself and his city that could lead to disastrous consequences.
The plot of Do It echoes Scorsese’s classic 1976 Taxi Driver in many ways, but this 25 minute short fails to capture anything close to the power that film conveys. Although heavy on style, with a very frenetic shooting and editing style from writer/director Steve Petersen, the characters lack any real depth and are more or less cookie cutter caricatures from other films of its ilk. The seedy side of Los Angeles must exist, bur Petersen’s vision of it seems to look like something out of a Michael Bay film or a P. Diddy music video, and generally involves nasty generic characters beating each other up or sniffing cocaine on a subway. The film takes a pause in the story to allow for an overly long sequence in which a pimp berates and beats up poor Bernie. Russ Kingston is an enjoyable face to watch on screen, but his character has little dimension to work on.
It is understandable what writer/director Petersen is trying to say, Do It does observe that Los Angeles can be a violent and terrifying place to live, and can drive one to say “enough is enough”. Although the intentions of the film are there, the message falls flat in a sea of fast cuts and glossy shots that really don’t add up to much.