The Retaliators is a horror-inspired novella that honors the legacy of camp, with the perfect amount of Speiberg-drama, sin city gore, balanced with the direction of Tarantino, and the heart and character perception of Evil Dead. It’s simple in scale but with redeeming factors, such as a strong narrative, practical effects, and underlying morals. It’s a great time and a fun escape when the theaters are bare, waiting for blockbusters to return.
The Illuminerdi had the opportunity to talk all things “The Retaliators” with the star and director, Michael Lombardi. The veteran actor broke down how the film not only honors multiple genres but other works of cinema as well as understanding the inspiration and message of the film.
The Illuminerdi: I noticed that “The Retaliators” is it’s like five films all at once. And that’s pretty freaking awesome.
Michael Lombardi: Well, thank you, I think, you know, it’s crazy, because when I read the script, you know, the writers and I are very creatively aligned in our tastes and sort of our inspirations and our influences. So when I read the script, I saw all these things jump off the page, not only the musical aspect, and not that it said, Hey, song here, song there, but also Gremlins, Dante Esque, Spielbergin small town, sin city vibe, in the slow burn part of this graphic novel, obviously.
You can notice the huge lean into the 80s and the bad guy being written and played like a Terminator, and not this multi-layered character with all this bravado, but instead just cold as ice. As for an actor and director, I love that.Michael Lombardi, Via Director and Star of “The Retaliators”
Now from the trailers and marketing shown, The Retaltiors may come off to many as a grindhouse-inspired Sam Raimi love letter, but when you sit down, watch the film and peel back the layers and crust of the story. The multiple nods to films such as Clint Eastwood’s Spaghetti westerns, 80’s blockbusters, and the patented Tarantino insanity are on full display. But from Lombardi’s comments, everything he mentioned is 100 percent accurate. When you think from a simple perspective, the film expands in scope and can elicit emotion.
The Retaliators Thrive on the Balance of Practicality and Direction.
One of the things that many will notice and enjoy is the balance of generational media and the various concepts of recognition that are on display. The story does go in numerous directions, but it constantly remains a question of morality. Lombardi touched upon that choice and how it felt to know his influence and creative process were ingrained in the film.
The Illuminerdi: “Could you talk about adapting that to the screen because the screenplay was very well written? And also, I love the execution of how like you build up to the kills. The Gore wasn’t like too much the practicality of the special effects it was really good. It was very campy at times. And the dialogue was honestly really funny. And it broke up to levity. Like, you didn’t have like too many kills going on at once. And the really, the heart of the movie was like I was on Christmas. I like the element of like family and like, parents and everything. And like, that parental guidance, they felt very taken at times as well.”
Michael Lombardi: Yeah, yeah, that’s another one. We talked about Die Hard Christmas. And it’s in, you know, our boy Bruce is referenced. Yeah, I think we just do a die-hard reference, there was something about Bruce to I go to the daughter’s bedroom and like Bruce Willis, and she’s like, who? And I’m like, Ah, you know, but anyway, there’s, there are so many things that I loved about the script. I just talked about some of them.
But what’s also really important in here, too, and, you know, you said it very nicely, some of your comments and it means so much because the movie, you know, I’m just talking to people about it now other than I never see it with the same color as you are. Because we’ve been so close to it, you know, for so long. I’ve seen so many cuts and dealt. I know, like, I know, the smell of like a moment I see on screen and I knew how I fought for that moment, or how we changed it or, you know, we had, oh my or how we changed it or, you know, we had, oh my god that day, we had to switch location.Michael Lombardi, Via Director and Star of “The Retaliators”
For the rest of our interview with The Retaliator’s Director and Star, Michael Lombardi, check out the video below:
The Retaliators is a horror film that treads and embraces the balance of camp with the perfect drop of camp while peeling back the consequence of moral judgment and human choice.
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