What is Immortal about?
I genuinely enjoyed IMMORTAL, an early stab at movie making by the action/martial arts troupe The Stunt People. The plot involves three young men and their quest for supernatural physical and spiritual power. Joe Henley plays 'Cory Wallace', Chelsea Steffensen plays 'Alex Archer', and Eric Jacobus (of CONTOUR, DOGS OF CHINATOWN, and more recently DETECTIVE STORY) plays 'David Graves'.For fans of independent action flicks, there is much to like. Sure, the acting is all over the map. Gavin Merrick, as 'Adam Archer', is corny and over the top, complete with mullet (his character changes dramatically later), while Joe Henley is quiet and sincere as 'Cory Wallace', the embodiment of youthful innocence. As with other movies by The Stunt People, actors play multiple parts, adding to the fun. (My favorite is when Eric Jacobus appears on a TV screen briefly as a newscaster, wearing a very silly mustache). Just when you get used to a certain cartoon-ish quality, such as Chelsea Steffensen's scenes as used car salesman 'Fast Eddy', you'll be surprised with something dramatic and well played, like Joe Henley's phone call to his dad, or Amberly Bell's discovery of a friend's body in a shack. Still, you generally watch a Stunt People movie for the stunts, and there are plenty. Fight scenes are numerous and dynamic, and some are very inventive. It is always exciting when you know the actors ARE the stunt people, so there are no jarring cuts from Hollywood superstars to their identically dressed doubles. Additionally, the first half of the story is set in 1984, allowing for a flashback to 1980's era fashions. Low budget or not, there are many moments when everything really comes together.Some areas need work, too. The opening scene, set during the crusades, has an unconvincing location, like a barn at a public park. I think it could be saved, though, by remaking the whole scene, actors and all, as artwork, such as was used for the opening credits. Speaking of unconvincing, I have to comment on the character 'Jonathan Howlett' and his (ahem) British accent. It was so bad that I honestly couldn't make it out, thinking the actor, Sean Grove, was actually going for Chinese, or Korean! Also, part of the plot involves mastery of the elements. I initially felt this should play a larger part in the finale; however, I am ultimately happier that special visual effects did not detract from the fighting.The DVD has tons of extras, including deleted scenes (featuring a lengthy indoor fight), a 'making of' short, and several other projects by The Stunt People. Also, most of the cast is on hand for commentary, and they really have fun with it (a bit too much, every now and then). They are themselves highly critical, pointing out what works, but more than happy to observe what did NOT work, whether due to budget, time constraints, or their own shortcomings as actors. I found the commentary to be informative and also very amusing.In the end, IMMORTAL is a vital link in the history of The Stunt People, not a perfect movie, yet perfectly enjoyable. This is a nice measure of how far that company of players has come in a short period of time. The production values get better with every film, but the heart is in no greater evidence than it is in IMMORTAL.