Now, here’s something a little bit special – and another treat for fans of live action 2000AD adaptations, especially in the wake of the announcement of the JUDGE DREDD: MEGA-CITY ONE TV series, due for release in the next couple of years.
The worlds of 2000AD have never had an easy ride when it comes to translating to the big or small screen, what with the quite-rightfully-earned poor critical reception of the 1995 Sylvester Stallone effort or the not-earned-at-all-what-the-hell-people lacklustre box office return of 2012’s DREDD, starring Karl Urban. There have been a couple of projects that have skirted around the concepts appearing on the pages of the Galaxy’s Greatest Comic but nothing that’s ever really stuck the landing. It’s been the work of creators of the fan films, pulled together by those who eat, sleep and breathe the characters that they have loved to read over the years, to really make an impression.
2013’s JUDGE MINTY was a stunning effort by director/co-writer Steven Sterlacchini and writer Michael Carroll, telling the story of an aging judge who becomes empathic and decides to retire. AS described on IMDb, “…by law, every judge that opts for retirement receives full honors and must leave Mega-City One to find a good death in the wastelands ruled by savage gangs, beasts and anarchy.” Yes, MINTY even made its own IMDb entry – that’s how good it was.
And now Sterlacchini is back for another hit, this time paired up with partner-in-crime (for both writing and directing duties) with Stephen Green, for a short film, based on another 2000AD property: STRONTIUM DOG, as created by Carlos Ezquerra, Alan Grant and John Wagner in 1978, originally from the pages of UK comic STARLORD, before transferring over to the 2000AD banner shortly after.
SEARCH / DESTROY is a brilliant watch and well worth your time to check out, partly if you like your sci-fi action romps but mostly if you’re a big ol’ 2000AD fan. It’s a proper fan film, in that it doesn’t take a great deal of time bothering to establish the universe for beginners, and some of the special effects are a little over cooked (flashy when they didn’t need to be, exposing them as SFX, instead of blending into the scenes a bit more naturally – “Ooh, look what we can do!”) but those two niggles don’t take away from the short being a fun watch with a real Western vibe to it. Lovely.
Have a look and tell us what you think – a comments section below, heavens knows that’s what it’s there for…
In the far future strontium-90 fallout has created a race of mutants, outcasts from society, despised by the ‘norms’ and given only the dirtiest job – bounty hunting. Johnny Alpha is one such mutant, working for the Search/Destroy (Strontium Dog) Agency, hunting down criminals for the Galactic Crime Commission, aided by his trusty Viking sidekick, Wulf Sternhammer.
SEARCH/DESTROY: A STRONTIUM DOG FAN FILM, is an unofficial, not for profit project, based on the work of John Wagner, Carlos Ezquerra and Alan Grant. The short film is produced by the team behind the JUDGE DREDD based fan film, JUDGE MINTY, and follows Johnny and Wulf as they investigate a spate of Strontium Dog disappearances.
Featuring Matthew Simpson as Johnny Alpha and Kevin Horsham as Wulf Sternhammer, preview screenings and production images have received positive reactions from co-creators John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra.
The film received its premiere at 2000 AD’s 40 Years of Thrill-Power Festival, on February the 11th 2017 and is now available to view online for free.
Strontium Dog is a trademark of Rebellion A/S, All Rights Reserved. Strontium Dog is the creation of John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra.