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Reviews Database > DVD REVIEWS (R) > RISE OF THE BLACK BAT (2012)
Published by David Carter on 2015/3/25 (743 reads)
Directed by Scott Patrick
Review by David Carter

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Released by TomCat Films
Running Time: 80 minutes
Rating: Not Rated
Color format: Color
Audio/Subtitles: 2.0 Stereo English
Region Code: 1, NTSC
Aspect Ratio: Widescreen
16:9 Enhanced: Yes
Special Features: None
Trailer Online: Yes

Open in new windowShort Version: Pulp hero brought to life

When I tell people that I’m a film critic, they often assume that the job consists solely of watching movies and then complaining about them online. I’ll admit that is a big part of it, but there’s also a great deal of research and reading required; at least, there is if you want to do a good job. Case in point, TomCat’s latest release RISE OF THE BLACK BAT. At first glance, the film is a blatant rip off of BATMAN and DAREDEVIL and it’s even featured in the “mockbusters” section of TomCat’s website. However, the Black Bat is a real 1930’s pulp hero that appeared at the same time as Batman and decades before Daredevil. This is mentioned nowhere on the promotional materials for the movie, but it is actually a faithful retelling of the character’s origin and adventures – a fact that would have likely gotten it more attention than it has currently received.

Tony Quinn is a tough District Attorney who has been waging a one man war on crime. When he targets philanthropist/crime boss Oliver Snate, Quinn rises to the top of the underworld’s hit list. He goes ahead with his prosecution of Snate anyway, only to be blinded by an acid attack before the trial. A disheartened, blind Quinn resigns himself to a life of misery until he’s contacted by the mysterious Carol Baldwin. Carol tells him of an experimental procedure that could restore his sight and offers to pay for it, provided Quinn agree to resume his war on Snate.

The procedure works but not exactly as planned. Quinn has perfect vision, but only in total darkness. Renaming himself “the Black Bat,” Quinn again targets Snate but this time outside of the law. Clad in all black and wielding pistols, the Black Bat wages a war on criminals as he works his way up the chain to the man controlling it all.

Open in new windowKnowing the true source material for RISE OF THE BLACK BAT allows me to be a little more forgiving towards the film that perhaps I would have been originally. You can’t simply dismiss the film as “BATMAN with guns,” despite it feeling like that at times, and the narrative’s pulp origins explain the movie’s somewhat simplistic plot and thin characters. Filmmaker Scott Patrick has done a good job of giving the film a noir-ish feel even though the story is updated to the present day.

Though not a mockbuster as most viewers might assume, that doesn’t mean BLACK BAT is free from missteps. Sequences are repeated in their entirety; padding out an already short running time. Inexplicably, the film comes to a dead stop to dedicate several minutes to a bikini contest that is unrelated to the plot. This was actually surreal enough to be enjoyable, but I’m doubtful that it was in the pulp source material.

Open in new windowUndoubtedly there are those of you out there for whom the dozens of superhero films scheduled to be released this year aren’t going to be enough. Luckily for you, RISE OF THE BLACK BAT can help provide some relief and scratch your itch for costumed superheroes. Superhero fans will probably get the most enjoyment out of the movie and those of you intrigued by the film’s pulp origins should check it out as well.
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