The Adventure Force, left to right, Trevor, Khalil, Ollie, Joey, and Jack.
When we think of hero team up movies, our minds probably immediately picture big, tent pole blockbusters from Marvel and DC. However, with all the different streaming and video on demand options that exist nowadays, you can sometimes find lower budget yet heartwarming and heroic stories from the comfort of your own home. Adventure Force 5 is an original science fiction film from the Walmart owned over-the-top streaming platform VUDU that was released in 2019. It stars Dylan Arnold, Tate Birchmore, Donald Bowen, Marleik Mar Mar Walker, Kartik Ash, Jamie-Lynn Sigler, and Ernie Hudson. The film is free to watch on the service as part of their “Movies On Us” program, which focuses on “family-friendly, advertiser-friendly content” derived from existing and new MGM properties.
Ollie and Khalil pick up Jack after he is thrown out of the school.
The film follows five tech savvy kids that must band together and use an arsenal of homemade gadgets to fight back against a threat to their quiet beach town. A swarm of drone-like monsters called Terra Borgs are recklessly released from Takkara Corporation labs by evil tech prodigy Nolan Seturmer (Arnold). Nolan also unleashes a signal that hypnotizes anyone who was holding a cell phone, causing them to lumber off in a trance. With nearly everyone in town vanished and under the control of Nolan, young gamer Jack Zapata (Birchmore) and his older brother Joey (Bowen) gather a group of kids to stop Nolan and save the town. They recruit skater girl Ollie (Davis), martial arts expert Khalil (Ash), and inventor Trevor (Walker). They gear up with a slew of zany weapons and gadgets created by Trevor to stop Nolan and save their town and the world.
The Adventure Force 5 is ready to take on Nolan and his Terra-Borgs.
The gadget portion of this film is where the whole Walmart integration greatly comes into play. The gadgets used by the kids in this film are based on a line of dart blasters that are exclusive to Walmart. This kind of “story about a certain product” approach has been done a lot since The Lego Movie, including The Emoji Movie, Playmobil: The Movie, and The Ninjago Movie. However, all of these other films falter with this concept because they did not have the same creative team that gave The Lego Movie it’s incredible heart and humor. This film attempts to pull off that concept on a much smaller scale and while it’s not a deal breaker, seeing the kids use what are essentially Nerf guns to save the world is a bit cringe-worthy.
Joey and Jack chase after the drones in front of the school.
If you’re looking for a light-hearted, family-friendly action-adventure film, then Adventure Force 5 a good option because you can watch it for free. The story is very straight-forward, and the action is decent considering the budget. The diverse group of kids are lovable enough, and while none of them bring any heavy hitting acting chops to their roles, together they create a group you want to root for. Ernie Hudson (Ghostbusters) is the big name in this film, and he is a very welcome sight, bringing a charisma that the film needed. While the fact that Adventure Force 5 is a promotional vehicle for the toys is inescapable, it's still an entertaining enough sci-fi adventure that kids and pre-teens can enjoy.
Jack screaming during the final battle.
Closeup of Jack's chucks as he sets off a movable surveillance camera.
The two brothers Jack and Joey (Tate Birchmore and Donald Bowen) both wear high top chucks throughout the film, Jack in a black pair and Joey in a grey pair with black shoelaces. This is typical footwear for young gamers these days. Because they wear baggy jeans with their chucks, there are not a lot of great shots of them. One of the best closeups is toward the beginning of the film when Jack sends off a surveillance drone to spy on Nolan's lab. Another occurs when Jack is hurrying through the darkened acquarium to escape from Nolan. There is also a good shot of some white Chuck 70s, worn by a bully who makes the mistake of taking on Khalil, who is a martial arts expert. Khalil quickly dispatches the bully and his friend after they make racist remarks and knock Khalil's phone onto the ground.
When Khalil takes on two bullies, one is wearing white Chuck ’70 high tops.
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