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Jimmy Zip
Magna/Magna . R4 . COLOR . 115 mins . MA15+ . PAL


There is a large burden of misery in Jimmy's existence. Abandoned as a baby and raised in the 'care' of a belligerent, bat-wielding father and a constantly 'out of town' mother, it is no surprise that sentences like "How was your day, son?" are frequently replaced by "Get a job, you bum". Instead, Jimmy spends most of his time in his room playing with explosives, or out in the street playing with letterboxes, in an explosive fashion.

"You are nothing, you are zero, you are zip", Jimmy's father tells him after a particularly nasty confrontation. This triggers a spark in Jimmy's already fire-fuelled head. Thus, Jimmy Zip is born, fleeing his home the very next day, whilst leaving his father on the toilet with one of the best cherry-bomb attacks ever caught on celluloid. Only minutes after arriving in the city, Jimmy runs into Rick, a drug dealer and pimp, who offers him a dream job as his courier. Soon enough, after an irresistible proposition for a cherry-bomb spree, Jimmy runs into Tourettes' Syndrome sufferer and scrap-metal artist Horace. The victim of the cherry-bombing, Horace chases Jimmy and winds up with his jacket, which just happens to contain $20,000 of Rick's money. Jimmy is in big trouble and while searching for the lost money, he again stumbles across Horace's path, and soon finds in Horace a mentor who wishes to harness his pyromaniac tendances in the name of art. Eventually, when Jimmy is convinced that this is his calling, he pursues it with a new found passion, whilst knowing full well that an irritated Rick and his goons are getting closer.

This 'wrong side of the tracks', coming of age story has been done countless times before. Yet, whilst Jimmy Zip's production expenditure is almost the dictionary definition of ‘tiny’ for a feature, the film is, mostly, a very original and entertaining piece of cinema. This is due largely to the quality of performance from the actors involved, who quite obviously went into production understanding the characters very well.

Brendan Fletcher (Air Bud) is perfect in the title roll as Jimmy, and whilst many shots make him look almost comically short for a lead, he makes the best of the character, giving him a distinctly surly yet innocent quality that, in another set of shoes, could have been tragic. Adrienne Frantz (The Bold and the Beautiful) is a little less convincing in her support as Sheila, a street kid who rescues Jimmy from a severe beating on his first night in town. Whilst her provision of the all important 'dreamer' roll is sufficient, her Soap Opera background unfortunately glares through quite obviously. However, it is Robert Gossett (Arlington Road, City of Angels) who provides the most impressive performance as Horace. Although the only other cinematic portrayal of Tourettes' Syndrome that I am aware of is in Deuce Bigalow, Robert Gossett's take on this affliction seems extremely convincing, and as Jimmy's mentor, he fills the character with invaluable presence.


Nothing to really complain about here. Considering the film's relatively small budget, it would be difficult to get the quality up to some of the blockbusters out there. What has been provided is just fine. There seems to be no visible MPEG artefacts, and whilst the black levels are not brilliant, I have certainly seen far, far worse. The only real problems evident are in the slightly dull colours that have obviously originated from the format the film was shot on.

Likewise, the stereo soundtrack provided is surprisingly good, with good dialogue levels, a nice rock soundtrack and even a few small surround effects in couple of scenes. While the music is often just below a professional mix, this is an issue with performer/producer Geoff Levin, who has otherwise done a champion job of creating the appropriately urban soundtrack. There are also a few small issues with slightly out-of-phase explosions and crashes. Again, this is obviously a result in the source of the recording, and not the transfer itself.

There is not much to find in the extras section here, save the usual stuff. There is a detailed biography section for the cast and crew, as well as some brief information about the artwork created for the film and a small synopsis.

Even I am guilty of avoiding low-budget, straight to video releases like this, simply because, like a now much wiser Icarus, I know that it is damn likely that I am going to get burnt. However, I highly recommend giving Jimmy Zip a solid viewing, if anything, to see how good these sort of releases actually can be.

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  •   And I quote...
    "..a very original and entertaining piece of cinema. "
    - Ben Pollock
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Omni SL-P2000KD
    • TV:
          Palsonic 71cm
    • Speakers:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Centre Speaker:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Surrounds:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          standard s-video
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