Chapter Three - Power Struggle

Starring: Jane Dodd, Helen Oakleigh, Phil Reynolds and Keith Ducklin
Fantom Films
RRP: 11.99

Certificate: 12
Available 06 November 2006

As her financial and telekinetic powers increase Jenny Blake is slowly loosing her mind, paranoia and the pursuit of power take their toll, driving her further and further into madness. At stake are the lives of four young women, whose only hope of salvation lay in the hands of Rosalind Goodway, an ex CIA agent Campell Lee and Derek Stanton, a retired parapsychologist...

Explode: Power Struggle is the third in a series of films from Fantomfilms. One of the major problems I had with the disc was its playability. The fifty minute feature is provided as a DVD-R, which, whilst it should have had good compatibility would only play on my computers. All of the stand alone DVD players really struggled to play the disc with most of them just refusing.

Shot for shot, the cinematography isn't half bad, with the composition often making you forget that this isn't a made for television show. The soundscape isn't so good though, one would presume that the makers were restricted to hand held microphones and a bit of overdubbing, unfortunately this leads to tinny and somewhat indistinct vocals in large open areas, but is more acceptable in enclosed spaces.

The special effects are not extensive, but what there is looks pretty convincing. The show has an audio track which sounds very much like The Dave Matthews Band, which is no bad thing.

As for the acting, well at times during arguments and other emotionally charged scenes this works well. The problem is that all the actors emote, nearly all the time, leading to a lack of overall texture in the piece, there are few quiet or still moments. The actors seem to be in constant movement and although I know little about these fine people I would suspect that they are more used to theatre acting, where everything has to be so much bigger.

I wouldn't suggest that if you are interested in this series that you don't start with this DVD, not that there is anything wrong with the narrative, but it seems to rely on the audiences knowledge of the previous two stories - meaning that, as a stand alone product, it can be somewhat confusing as to what is going on.

It sounds like I had a real downer on this story and nothing could be further from the truth. Sure the production has its problems but it had the good foundation of a solid script. The direction was professional, with only a few shots jarring you out of the story. It was certainly intriguing enough to pique my interest in seeing the first two in the series.

The disc has a number of extras for fans of the show including outtakes, a short, audio and an interview with Ian Fairbairn (who guest stars in the show) about his early years trying to break into acting - at a little over ten minutes it ends just as your getting into it. Included on the disc is a feature length commentary by the director and one of the cast.

So not a bad effort, very reminiscent of a lot of the shows that were made following the last cancellation of Doctor Who. It seems that effort and enthusiasm never died and I look forward to seeing the crew and cast grow as independent film makers.

Charles Packer