Dust Up (Breaking Glass Pictures, NR)

dvd dust-upThere’s a lot of humor salted throughout Roberts’ script, particularly from the drug dealer Buzz, who speaks like the hitmen from Pulp Fiction.

 

One of the joys of reviewing DVDs is that every now and then you come across an enjoyable little gem that’s just too weird to have much of a theatrical run, but is perfect for home viewing. (That’s “weird” in a good way, as in creative and original without taking itself too seriously (Quentin Tarantino, take a hint!).) One such film is Ward Roberts’ Dust Up, a low-budget, spaghetti Western comedy.

Jack (Aaron Gaffney) is a one-eyed ex-vigilante now more into peaceful pursuits like yoga and sunning his torso in the desert sun. His best pal, Mo (Devin Barry), likes to dress up in a mishmash of Native American regalia and deliver messages by arrow. Jack works as a handyman, and one day answers an emergency call from a young mother, Ella (Amber Benson from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the biggest name in the cast), whose shower is spouting mud rather than water. It soon turns out that Ella has an even more serious problem: Her loser, speed-freak husband Herman (Travis Betz) owes some serious money to a vicious drug dealer (Jeremiah Birkett), and it’s due tonight.

Jack, being the noble guy that he is, tries to buy Herman a stay of execution with some cash he has buried in the hills, along with his dogtags and a pistol. It’s sort of like the safe deposit box where Clint Eastwood parks his pistols in Pale Horse, Pale Rider. Of course, just like Clint the preacher, Jack learns that sometimes you have to resort to violence in order to keep the peace, and viewers hoping for some action set pieces will not be disappointed.

Dust Up makes no claims to being a masterpiece, and all the characters are well-worn types, but that’s OK. The story moves swiftly, the cinematography by Shannon Hourigan is more than adequate, and there’s a lot of humor salted throughout Roberts’ script, particularly from the drug dealer Buzz, who speaks like the hitmen from Pulp Fiction. The soundtrack, including songs by Spindthrift, is fun and appropriate.

The DVD comes with an audio commentary track by Roberts, Benson, Betz, Barry, and Gaffney, all of whom seem to be having a grand old time. There are a ton of extras on the disc, as well, including a spoof PSA by Amber Benson, lots of behind-the-scenes footage, a photo gallery, and the film’s trailer. | Sarah Boslaugh

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