Monday, July 16, 2007


REIGN OF THE FALLEN is definitely among the very best "fan films" produced to date.

By definition, a "fan film" is a film (or, most likely, a video) that is inspired by a movie, television show, comic book or a similar source that is created by fans rather than by professional filmmakers. These productions are invariably low budget efforts and the vast majority are so poorly made they are unwatchable.

Credit must be given to Writer/Director David McLeavy and Producer Jonathan Wang who have demonstrated incredible perseverance and talent in elevating the fan film genre to new heights. Shot in twenty days over a period of two years, REIGN OF THE FALLEN has the look of a Hollywood feature. This is essentially a samurai movie set in a STAR WARS milieu, and despite the ridiculously low budget of $7,000, the cinematography is superb, the sound design is fantastic, the production values are solid and the special effects are more than credible. (You'll not believe this entire film was shot in "The Garden State").

One hates to quibble over such a remarkable cinematic achievement, but it must be pointed out that David McLeavy's talent on screen is no match with what he accomplishes off screen. By casting himself in the lead role he has done a major disservice to his project. It is not so much that he is a terrible actor, he's simply ill-suited for the part. A dead ringer for Bobby Labonte's left tire changer is not the look or the persona of a Jedi hero. And don't even get me started on the supposedly prized necklace that is featured prominently. At best this looks like a trinket purchased at a Wig-Wam curio shop in Tucumcari.

As with all fan films, REIGN OF THE FALLEN cannot be sold commercially due to copyright issues. Instead, I encourage you to download the film for free at

Steven Spielberg may not be too concernced, but I believe Satchel Paige made a good point when he said, "Don't look back. Something might be gaining on you."

'Tis true...and what I see making gains are talented, dedicated young filmmakers like McLeavy and Wang who are the Spielbergs of the not too distant future in a galaxy not so far away.