King Jeff’s Troubleshooters tells an entertaining and familiar story in the world of science fiction on a micro-budget
From it’s open scene, it is easy to find the influences of Blade Runner in King Jeff’s Troubleshooters.
For fans of the former, there is an obvious homage to the opening scene in Blade Runner where Leon is taking the Voight-Kampff test to determine whether he is human or replicant. And perhaps, as the story unfolds, this opening scene of Troubleshooters more similarly parallels the baseline test in Blade Runner 2049.
Troubleshooters follows Chilly Wallace (Gorio) and fellow troubleshooter Sandoval Wolf ( King Jeff). Wallace and Wolf are partners tasked with tracking down and killing rogue security robots.
In essence, King Jeff’s movie also borrows its primary theme from Blade Runner as well, while mixing in a dash of Terminator 2 with the artificial intelligence of these robotic beings, making them sentient and turning them against those who have created them.
There is also some entertaining banter between the two protagonists, revealing a Tarantino-like influence in the development of the characters.
Now, where you stand as a viewer with this movie will significantly depend on your understanding and/or appreciation of low-budget filmmaking. Well, not just low-budget filmmaking, but microbudget, as this is where Troubleshooters falls.
Movies in the sub-fifty thousand dollar range are considered micro-budget. and until they hit $150,000, they are considered ultra-low budget.
Troubleshooters was clearly done on a minimal budget, but King Jeff and producing partner Gorio make use of every penny that had (and didn’t have to make this movie work as best they could).
The robots are minimalistic costumes and might even be the lead actors at times in different outfits, but the effort from the filmmakers is clearly there to make this movie compelling. And with the subtle and not so subtle references to sci-fi movies such as Blade Runner and The Terminator, among others, there is a clear love of the genre and filmmaking as well.
Troubleshooters makes a strong effort to work within its financial limitations when it comes to special effects. Some of the effects work quite well and others are reminiscent of the 1990’s science fiction show Lexx, where the effects never quite worked, but the show had an odd and likeable appeal, similar to Troubleshooters.
Gorio and King Jeff are entertaining and charismatic actors, who are very capable in their roles and make the story interesting beyond its budgetary limitations.
The story is well-written, the acting is solid, and the camera work is very creative at times.
With a running time of 62 minutes, Troubleshooters gives us just enough to make it fun and entertaining while never trying to trick the viewer into thinking it is something more than it is.
King Jeff is a consistent storyteller who continues to show growth and it will be fun to see what he can do with a bigger budget down the road should he be given the opportunity.
Ed’s Grade: B-