Chuck Steel: Night of the Trampires Review
If a curfew in bars and nightclubs in Los Angeles sees drinking population disappearing from the streets The confused local police department calls in loose cannon police Chuck Steel (Michael Mort) to investigate. With the help of the eccentric instructor Abraham Van Rental (also Mort), Steel finds himself fighting the "Trampires" Half-tramps, half-vampires bent on achieving world dominance.
Mike Mort's 2013 short, a claymation film Raging Balls Of Steel Justice introduced Chuck Steel (Mort), self-described'maverick, renegade loose cannon, lonely police officer on the edge who does not play by the rules'. The film riffs on classic '80s police films like Cobra or Tango & Cash, Mort's hilarious, testosterone-filled humor was received with enthusiasm enough to be a $20 million feature length film about the jolly and cocky cop. The outcome, Chuck Steel: Night Of The Trampires which can be described as – better or worse similar to the original but with a bigger budget.
It's 1986, and whilst LA is under siege from "Trampires" – half-hobo-half-vampires who brilliantly can only be killed with holy coffee or by piercing the liver – the police force have been softened to the point of redundancy by suspiciously named therapist Dr A. Cular (a delightful Jennifer Saunders). In desperate times, Police Captain Jack Schitt (Mort) puts Steel on the case. In a reluctant alliance with Kook Abraham Van Rental (Mort again in the role of Peter Cushing), Steel will do his best to defend his city from zombie annihilation.
The imagination and the craftsmanship that drive Mort's art – hundreds of incrediblely expressive characters and an array of stunning sets that populate the movie and make an impression throughout. The best part is that this film is reminiscent of the violent humor from Team America and the kineticism and visual heft of the best Aardman. The film's circus-set finale Mort's love of chaos and his years of mastering claymation blend perfectly in Steel as well as the Trampires battling in a fight that reaches Godzilla and Kong level of devastation as well as the roaring gnarliness of Evil Dead. It's all pure bobbins however, it's awe-inspiringly gorgeous.
However, even though Mort's attempt to bring back the essence of the films he grew up watching is filled with nostalgic delights but it also comes with an abundance of offensive stereotypes and sexist jokes that obscenely highlight the more ugly elements of the genre. It's a pity that these ridiculous, exaggerated and sometimes just plain stupid jokes appear so frequently as a means of writing as they seriously undermine the film's otherwise lots to provide.