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Blindsided: The Game Review

May 15, 2018 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
Blindsided: The Game
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Blindsided: The Game Review  

Blindsided: The Game Review

Eric Jacobus– Walter
Roger Yuan– Gordon
Nicholas Verdi– Nico
Joe Bucaro III– Sal
Luke LaFontaine– Luke
Khalid Ghajji– Kojo
Pete Antico– Gene
Brett Sheerin– Joey
David William No– Ace
Justin Hall– Dean
Karen Pang– Jogger

Directed by Clayton J. Barber
Screenplay by Eric Jacobus, based on a story by Clayton J. Barber

Produced by Jacobus Barber Productions

Runtime– 45 minutes


Blindsided: The Game, directed by Clayton J. Barber, is a sort of expansion of the short film known as Blindsided that was released in 2017 (check out my review of that short film here). While it hasn’t been expanded to feature length (The Game, clocks in at a little over 45 minutes), it’s great to see more of the world created by Barber and co-writer and star Eric Jacobus and more of the Jacobus character, Walter, in action.

Jacobus stars as Walter Cooke, a mysterious blind man who has a penchant for baking apple pies. In fact, when we first see Walter he’s in the midst of making a pie, going through the usual pie making motions. When the pie is done and Walter sits down to have a piece, he quickly realizes that he needs new milk. So Walter walks to a nearby local market to get some new milk and, while he’s there, more apples. We see how he navigates the world sans the ability to see, using his wits, his other senses, and a handy dandy stick. When he gets to the store, he interacts with his friend, the store owner Gordon (Roger Yuan), and the group of thugs that have come inside to intimidate Gordon and obtain the money Gordon owes to a local mobster. At first, it seems like Walter, while concerned for his friend, is going to “mind his own business” and leave the store with his milk and apples. However, when the thugs, led by Nico (Nicholas Verdi), take Gordon out to the alley behind the store to rough him up, Walter decides that he needs to intervene and help his friend. But what can a blind man do against three thugs?

Walter isn’t just a blind man. Walter is also a badass martial artist, and despite not being able to see his enemy, he can defeat anyone with this skills, his other senses, and that stick. Walter eventually defeats Nico and his henchmen and he rescues his friend from harm. Is Gordon safe, though, now?

Nope. And that’s where the original Blindsided ends and the new segment, The Game, begins. Nico goes back to thug HQ and tells his boss Sal (Joe Bucaro III) what happened. As you’d expect, Sal isn’t happy with Nico’s inability to do his job, to collect money and keep order. Sal tells his employee that he needs him to obtain Gordon’s money and he can do whatever he needs to. Nico takes a gun from a drawer and goes looking for Gordon again.

Meanwhile, Walter is back home eating his pie, drinking his milk, and figuring out what his next move will be. Gordon is still in trouble, that’s obvious, but what about himself? If and when Nico finds out who he is and where he lives Nico will come looking for him. That’s what thugs like Nico do. Walter has a trick up his sleeve, though, something no one will expect. Out of the blue, Gordon decides to go see Walter and thank him for his help with a drink. Walter accepts. And so Walter and Gordon go to a bar for a drink. It’s here that we learn why, exactly, Gordon owes Sal money. Gordon has a gambling problem, and Gordon used to be a member of Sal’s gang back in the day. Sal hates him and he wants the money Gordon owes him. It’s a sad story and one that Walter thinks he can help with.

So then some stuff happens, Walter and Gordon go for a little walk, and Nico and his fellow thugs show up to smack both Walter and Gordon around. Once again, Walter gets the upper hand on his opponents and destroys them, actually taking one of Nico’s fingers in the process. What the hell, man? How can one blind man be so dangerous and so hard to beat?

So then some more stuff happens, Nico goes back to the HQ to regroup (and get some help for his missing finger), and Walter goes back home to change clothes. Walter apparently needs a snappier coat with what he plans to do next. And what is Walter’s plan? He’s going to go see Sal and see if he can somehow pay off Gordon’s debt. By gambling.

Gambling? Yes, gambling. Poker, to be exact. Sal and his other henchmen are surprised when Walter shows up alone at the thug HQ, but Sal lets Walter in and eventually agrees to play cards with him. Can Walter somehow work off Gordon’s debt? Will Walter get out of thug HQ alive?

Because this is a martial arts action flick, you know that, eventually, Walter is going to throw down with the main bad guys and it’s going to try to be awesome. That’s what all martial arts action flicks, at least the ones that I’ve seen, aspire to do. Thankfully, Blindsided: The Game manages to be awesome and then some.

The Game section of Blindsided amps up the action quite a bit, and the stakes get higher and higher with each new brawl. The finger slicing bit is shocking as you don’t really expect to see anyone losing a body part (the movie’s tone doesn’t suggest that that’s something would happen in this world), but it works because, in the big scheme of things, it’s a funny moment. And that’s what Blindsided: The Game wants to do. It wants to be funny. It wants to have a sense of humor. And it succeeds on that. That isn’t to say that the martial arts on display aren’t brutal and thrilling, but you’re supposed to have fun with the movie. It’s meant to be a good time. It isn’t meant to be super serious piece of martial arts cinema.

Now, I do want to say that, while funny and a good time, Blindsided: The Game isn’t goofy and it isn’t a parody. Jacobus made two wonderful short films, Rope a Dope and Rope a Dope 2 that one could call goofy. The Game is different and features a different kind of humor. The only real similarity is the skill and screen presence of star Jacobus. The man is simply amazing.

I can’t stress how good Jacobus is in this movie. His fight scenes are breathtaking. When using either a blind person stick or a sword, he’s incredibly dangerous and someone you can’t take your eyes off. And when he isn’t kicking ass and taking names, when he’s just Walter the baker, he has an innate integrity that would make you want to see him even if he wasn’t a skilled martial artist. Amazing stuff.

Roger Yuan does a decent job as Gordon, Walter’s friend. He gets in some good action sequences, but he’s more or less around to provide Walter a reason to kick the crap out of some bad guys. You sympathize with him because, well, would you want to be constantly harassed by armed thugs?

Nicholas Verdi amps up the douchebag as Nico, Sal’s main henchman. He’s a bad guy through and through, and actually makes you wish he would lose more appendages. Luke LaFontaine has a few funny scenes as one of Sal’s other henchmen, Luke (naturally). He’s kind of bawdy and loud, but he also has a cute puppy hanging around with him for some reason. Can you really hate a guy with a dog, even if he is a dangerous thug?

As for Joe Bucaro III, he’s hilarious and disgusting as Sal the mob boss. You’ve seen mob bosses like him before, sure, but Bucaro manages to give him a mean-spirited yet funny edge that makes you want to watch him. In a way, Bucaro’s Sal reminds me of Gary Klar’s Steel from George A. Romero’s Day of the Dead. If Steel hadn’t been killed during a zombie apocalypse, he’d probably be like Sal.

Blindsided: The Game is an awesome 45 minutes of funny martial arts cinema. It’s something, much like the original Blindsided, that you absolutely have to see. The movie will be available for free to watch on YouTube starting May 17th. Be sure to check it out. If you liked the original Blindsided, are a fan of Eric Jacobus, and like well made, exciting martial arts action flicks, you need to see Blindsided: The Game.

See Blindsided: The Game. See it, see it, see it.

So what do we have here?

Dead bodies: None. There is a dead finger, though. One dead finger.

Explosions: None.

Nudity?: None.

Doobage: Apple pie making, dice playing, sour milk, hot sauce drinking, drinking directly from the sink, blind man preventing a woman not paying attention from being hit by a car, shopping, garbage bag throwing, blind person stick martial arts hooey, attempted knife assault, pants removal, neck slicing, soda can distraction, shirt slicing, multiple people talking about gambling, pie eating, fresh milk drinking, harmonica hooey, a sword hidden inside of a cane, pie delivery, public drinking, finger slicing, a swank new jacket, severed finger throwing, poker playing, card slicing, messing around with the lights, mannequin punching, ear cutting, locking people in a car trunk, crying, hand slicing, a wicked knife-vs-sword fight, a roof fight, freefall into a dumpster, charity, and some hilarious outtakes.

Kim Richards?: None.

Gratuitous: Eric Jacobus, Eric Jacobus making an apple pie, a Martial Arts Mafia newspaper, talk of apple pie, Roger Yuan, a cute puppy dog, Eric Jacobus owning a harmonica, gambling, multiple movie posters in the background, ten thousand, and some hilarious outtakes.

Best lines: “Morning, Walter,” “Yeah, you’re almost out of honey crisps,” “Hey, blind man. Hurry up,” “You know these guys?,” “Hey, Walter, get lost,” “Hey, blind man! I wouldn’t do that if I were you!,” “Walter! One o’clock!,” “I’ll see you around, blind man,” “The unseen is my world, Gordon,” “Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Where’s Gordon’s money?,” “Get the fuck out of here!,” “Sometimes, even a blind man can see what’s coming,” “So you’re a gambler, too? Ii gamble every time I walk out the front door. If I don’t have a plan I’m dead,” “All great minds drink alike,” “Stop fucking with me!,” “Where’s the OxyContin?,” “He took my fucking finger, man,” “I’m looking for Sal,” “Watch your step,” “You know luck is a short term loan, Walter. So is life,” “Are you kidding me, that shit?,” “Where I’m from we deal from the top of the deck,” “What is he, a ghost?,” “My ear! You cut off my ear! Listen next time. Who does that? You fucking psycho!,” and “Sorry about the finger”

The final score: review Virtually Perfect
The 411
Blindsided: The Game is a well-made, funny martial arts action flick that showcases the considerable skills of star Eric Jacobus. From kicking ass to screen presence, the guy has it all and then some, and The Game is a terrific showcase for what he can do. In fact, The Game is a terrific showcase for everyone in it, not to mention director and co-writer Clayton J. Barber. If you’re a fan of martial arts action flicks you absolutely need to see Blindsided: The Game. And when you’re done with it, try to guess if there are more adventures out there for Walter. I think there are.