Lazarus (2021) - Not Entirely Dead

Have I ever mentioned how much I love Tubi? It's a free streaming service, but it has a ton of content that is hard to find like classic blaxploitation films, niche TV shows that have been forgotten and independent films from around the world. The only thing comparable to Tubi is Kanopy (having fun isn't hard with a library card). This isn't an ad for Tubi, but they brought their exclusive film Lazarus to my attention, and that's why we're here today. The comments on the trailer labeled the film as "CW-ish," and that's fine with me, I like most of The CW superhero stuff so I had to give a chance for sure.

Ray Lazarus is a dead man, for real, multiple gunshots, left for dead. He wakes up in the back of an ambulance unsure of what is going on. Soon he's contacted by a government, or corporate, agent who informs him that he is project Lazarus. He'll come back from the dead no matter how many times he dies, and he'll be able to take the memories of those he kills.

With this information Ray sets off to track down the men who had him killed. Along the way he'll get help from Nina, a drug dealer and a few of his friends. He seems to have been in a gang at some point, but it's never really made clear how he knows all of these people, except Nina. We witness Ray meet Nina after she has a failure of a drug deal. He rescues her but is killed again in the process and she takes him to her home to recuperate.

Sean Riggs might not have been the best choice for lead. The man has muscles on muscles on muscles and his fight choreography wasn't bad. He just wasn't right for the rest of the film. Riggs is excessively stiff, even when delivering jokes. We end up with a Black version of The Punisher who has a standup routine, that isn't going well. It's honestly somewhat distracting to watch in some scenes, there's just an absence of charisma. At some points it looked like he was just bored being there. That isn't to say he had the worst acting performance in the film, most of the "good guys," were pretty bad. It's just that Riggs stands out, because he's the lead and he's got a filmography dating back to the 90s featuring multiple reoccurring roles on television. He is in no way the worst actor in the film, but as a lead, he didn't carry it either.

Don't get me wrong, there's an interesting story to be told here. A man comes back from the grave with super powers and wants to hunt down his killers and take out the drug trade in his city. The problem is it all seems to come together clunky. Looking at his upcoming work R.L. Scott seems to be directing his own world of heroes with The Almighty Street Team. The problem is, we don't really know these characters. The Almighty Street Team has a comic that built a fanbase, but for the most part these characters are unknown. There's no source media that most people are already aware of such as Spider-Man or Superman. Some things just need to be explained. Did the Lazarus Project select Ray Lazarus because his last name was already Lazarus? Why is everyone so obsessed with motorcycles? 

I like the concept of creating this street level world of heroes. I love the idea of independent hero films getting some love, even if Tubi is the only place rolling out the red carpet. With the exception of one early scene, the fight scenes were serviceable to good. Despite that, some less than stellar acting and charismatic void led to me falling asleep the first time I tried to watch the film. Partially, that's my fault because it was 1am and I worked a 12 hour shift that day. I did go back and finish so there had to be something to draw me back in. I think if the plot was tightened up in some parts and a little energy was injected into the cast it could have been a good film. Lazarus isn't a bad film either, it's just serviceable. 

I'd have to put it somewhere below Meteor Man but probably above Blankman when it comes to films that aren't from Marvel or DC. That's saying something because I've seen some stinkers, like Sinister Squad and Brightburn. If you enjoy superhero content but have grown tired of the heavy mythology based DC content and mcguffin chasing Marvel content, this scratches the itch. Lazarus is something familiar, but completely different at the same time. 

You can check out some of my short stories at 12 AM Fiction or if you like vampires follow my web serial Exsanguinate and of course hear me on the Powerbomb Jutsu podcast if you enjoy pro wrestling.

Lazarus (2021) - Not Entirely Dead Lazarus (2021) - Not Entirely Dead Reviewed by Darrell S. on Monday, March 22, 2021 Rating: 5

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