Even the most jaded among us has to admit that The VelociPastor is a great title for a movie. It immediately tells you just about everything you need to know. Someone in the movie is both a man of the cloth and a dinosaur. What a freakish combination! It may not be enough of a concept to carry ninety minutes of a film, but it’s pretty cool.
The VelociPastor, though, finds itself backed up against the sticky wicket of the grindhouse genre. While it is a spoof of other shapeshifter movies of the Seventies, such as Sonny Chiba’s Wolf Guy, the movie also leans heavily upon the schtick of making fun of those B-movies. Some scenes are fuzzed out. The camera work is intentionally amateurish. At one point, instead of showing a car on fire, we are shown an empty street with an on-screen legend that reads “Car on fire.”
This is a low-budget film, and we get that. The VelociPastor is tremendously self-aware of what it is and is not. Like any comedy, some of the jokes hit. Some land on the ground with a resounding thud. But it realizes it is never going to hit the heights of a great horror/comedy, like Satanic Panic, or even the lowbrow joys of Dude Bro Party Massacre III. So, here’s what you do get.
There are tremendously hammy performances from the entire cast, especially Jesse Turits as Sam, the White Ninja. The dinosaur is wonderfully non-articulated, with a tendency to simply boop bad guys with its snout. The soundtrack features some fantastic songs, and that’s not sarcastic. “Didn’t Have Time to Think” by Math the Band is a track I would happily play on repeat for a while.
The rest of The VelociPastor is not great, but the argument can be made that it isn’t designed to be. This is supposed to be a cheesy, cheeky little movie. One could even say it’s supposed to be so bad, it’s good. That conceit only goes so far. In my opinion, the best bad movies are the ones that don’t know they’re bad. The VelociPastor knows far too well its shortcomings because they are deliberate.
Maybe it is that self-awareness that prevents The VelociPastor from being the sort of cult classic it attempts to emulate. Look, a priest who turns into a dinosaur to take out pimps and drug smugglers really is a great concept. But the movie only elicits chuckles, not belly laughs. The gore isn’t over the top enough to become humorous. Like a road construction crew, most of The VelociPastor doesn’t work. In the end, The VelociPastor becomes the one thing it was not trying to be: cute.
The VelociPastor was unleashed by Wild Eye Releasing on digital and VOD platforms August 13 with a Blu-ray release scheduled for September 17.