After the sad, sudden passing of online critic/Youtuber Justin Carmical, known to many as JewWario, a couple of years ago, some of his friends including Kaylyn Dicksion (aka MarzGurl) got together and completed a story he had planned on filming in his honour.
Farewell, FamiKamen Rider was born.
A no-budget venture, it's very clear from the get-go that this is a fans-only type of project for anyone who enjoyed JewWario's videos and the FamiKamen Rider reviews so reviewing it like a blockbuster would be unfair. As the title suggests: this is a farewell, a loving homage to the late reviewer who started this whole thing but also a celebration of the Kamen Rider franchise. In the vein of Ant-Man, Kamen Rider is an insect-themed superhero who appeared in manga, TV series and movies in Japan from the 70's onwards. FamiKamen Rider was a take on the character created by JewWario so he could review various obscure Japanese superhero films and games. The theme song was put together by MarzGurl and SadPanda (Julien Diaz) and a handful of such videos were put together prior to this film including this review of clumsy soda mascot Pepsiman:
Famikamen Rider was a terrific idea for a review series and the natural progression was, indeed, a movie so it's a shame that Justin Carmical couldn't complete it himself but his friends certainly put a lot of effort into doing just that and it's obvious he would have been proud of that achievement.
The film sees Marzgurl meet a rare game collector called Chris (Chris Gloria), who finds the FamiKamen Rider's cartridge at a yard sale, and they both set off on a mission to take down a new threat. Along the way, Marzgurl teaches Chris about the lost hero and his alter-ego JewWario and they fight a variety of enemies. They also meet SuFamikamen Rider, another hero based on Carmical's other character Yanki J. It's a well-meaning journey and, although the film could have easily been half an hour shorter with the first and last Acts feeling a tad sluggish at times, the fight scenes are particularly fun: the visual effects from Matt Burkett and Zach Hurst work really well. And even though the acting is done by non-actors and the poor sound quality can be distracting, the more emotional moments still resonate.
Farewell, FamiKamen Rider is not a big online project like other Channel Awesome productions such as Suburban Knights or To Boldly Flee but it does exactly what it set out to do and you can tell that, not only did a lot of effort go into it, but also a lot of heart. It's a worthy send off with cameos from other internet critics such as Linkara (Lewis Lovhaug) and Obscurus Lupa (Allison Pregler) but it's one that only true fans of JewWario's work and dated Japanese superhero lore will "get"/enjoy.
Here's to you, J-Dub.
You can watch the whole film on Youtube here: