The internet is the great equalizer. Literally. So many interesting projects are coming to fruition thanks to crowd funding sites like Kickstarter and GoFundMe. Previously, the internet was a means to distribute your work and connect with an audience. Now you can actually convert that audience into revenue.
That’s exactly what filmmakers Digger T Mesch and Jan Utstein-O’neill did with their film Agent 88. Agent 88 is the story of an 88 year old assassin with alshymers. After being rejected by the studio system Mesch and Utstien-O’neil took their project to kickstarter where it connected with people on a visceral level. They collected over $100,000 on the crowd funding site. The new found revenue allowed Mesch and Utstien-O’neil to finish the pilot of a web series that they’d been working on.
Agent 88 an interesting cocktail of slapstick humor and kung fu. Almost more so than the narrative of the film the cast of Agent 88 is what draws you in. Agent 88 is played by Kay D’arcy who is extremely charming in the titular role. Her real life knowledge of martial arts is evident in the finished product. The supporting cast is peopled by veteran B-movie actors that you’re sure to recognize as ‘ that guy’. Carlos Gallardo aka El Mariachi, Damion Poitier aka Thanos in the Avengers, Joseph Gatt aka that robot guy on the bridge of the Enterprise in Star Trek Into Darkness and Scott Vance aka The Healer from X-Files all deliver fun performances.
Director Digger T Mesch’s visual skills are on display at ever turn. From the compositions to the way he moves the camera, Mesch is an exciting visual director. Writer William O’neill’s script is fun, if a bit uneven. The script really nails the ‘Agent 88 is old and kinda like Mr Magoo’ side of things. But it has a strange preoccupation with puns. Everyone likes puns, right? Of course they do. When they’re good. Unfortunately, the puns in Agent 88 aren’t always great.
Overall, the web series pilot, dubbed Episode X, is quite satisfying. The narrative is fun, it establishes the universe, and then neatly wraps everything up. When Mesch and Utstein-O’neill get a green light to produce a full length web series, it’ll surely be a sight to behold.