Fifth City (2007) – By Duane L. Martin

 There’s bad stuff goin’ down in the city.  A building disappears, an obsessed limo driver finds himself in conflict with a rival group of goth limo drivers, a woman finds a strange object on the ground and struggles to free herself from the grasp of an abusive ex, a chubby guy with deep thoughts and a martial arts master has aspirations of being a demi-god.

Sounds pretty complicated huh?  I think the best way to describe Fifth City would be to say it like if someone took The Matrix, Six-String Samurai and Highlander and threw them in a blender.  To top it all off, this film is more or less a comedy.  Well it’s kind of a comedy.  It’s sort of a comedy, drama, action, martial arts flick.  Confused yet?  Just wait till you see the movie.

This is one of those films that takes a while before it starts making sense.  It starts out pretty randomly with the disappearance of a building and then moves right into the main story by introducing the main character, Guy the obsessed limo driver slash martial arts master, and basically heads off into everything else from there.

Now for a low budget movie, the effects are pretty decent, and actually pretty fun as well.  The acting is good and I don’t really have any complaints about anything as far as the film goes.  However, there is one area in which this film just shines and sets it out far and above any other independent film I’ve reviewed over the last three plus years, and that’s the fighting scenes.  This film very literally has the best martial arts fighting scenes I’ve ever seen in an independent film.  The action is extremely fast and incredibly well choreographed and is far better even than a lot of the kung fu movies I’ve seen.  The fights are fun as well, often taking advantage of the comedy aspects of the film, while never losing their badass feel.  I just can’t even tell you how impressed I was with how the fights came off on the screen.  I’ve seen several independent films that include martial arts in their storyline, and they almost always look clunky, slow and poorly choreographed.  They could really take a lesson from Fifth City, as this film is like a master class on how to do it right.

Technically, the film is well done.  It’s well paced, with good editing so that it doesn’t feel overly stretched out.  The fighting scenes especially are incredibly well edited, lending even more to the feeling of fast, furious action.  The sound and the lighting were good too, and the only thing I can really ding this film on is that a lot of the dialogue sounded memorized and recited rather than having a natural flow to it.  Some of the actors were better with the dialogue than others, but generally, the film was such a mixed bag of characters, you hardly notice the line delivery issues after a while.

Fifth City is a great film.  It’s fun and entertaining and really well put together.  You can find out more about the film by visiting the Piranha Films website at http://www.piranha-pictures.com.  Do yourself a favor and check it out.  If you get a chance to see this film, I think you’ll be as impressed with it as I was.