Green Ghost and the Masters of the Stone is the latest attempt to create a superhero franchise on a shoestring budget, despite how difficult that has always been to do. And how much more difficult it is now in the age of Marvel and DC blockbusters. Can a low-budget, shot in Texas tale of a trio of unlikely superheroes battling the Mayan Apocalypse in human form hold the viewer’s attention in an age of hundred-million-dollar comic book adaptations?
Charlie Clark (Charlie Clark, Daddy’s Home, Pepe & Santo vs. America) owns a car dealership but his real love is wrestling, and he pursues his dreams of in-ring fame as the masked luchador Green Ghost. And yes, it’s constantly being pronounced Green Go. One morning after getting a call from his banker about how bad the dealership’s finances are he’s attacked by several mysterious strangers.
He’s saved by the arrival of Karina (Sofia Pernas, Operation Rogue, Age of Dragons) who, apart from being the sister of his tag team partner Marco (Kuno Becker, Nomad: The Warrior, The Last Death), can also fight for real. A visit to their mother, who is also Charlie’s adoptive Nana (Renee Victor, Snowpiercer, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones) reveals that the three of them have superpowers and must fight Drake (Marko Zaror, Redeemer, Savage Dog), not the rapper, but the Mayan Apocalypse personified. But first Charlie must learn to use his powers.
Green Ghost and the Masters of the Stone is a vanity film, something the fact a car dealer named Charlie Clark is being played by a car dealer named Charlie Clark may have hinted at. Clark also co-wrote the film along with director Michael D. Olmos (Windows on the World, Splinter), Brian Douglas (Dani the Ranch Hand), and Rafael Antonio Ruiz (Holy Hell).
The intent was to make an origin story for not just the Green Ghost but the Trio of Light as the three of them are called. So of course we get scenes of the three of them training under Master Hung (Andy Cheng, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Santa’s Slay), Master Kane (UFC champion Cain Velasquez), and Master Gin (Danny Trejo, A Tale of Two Guns, The Legend of La Llorona) who was supposed to be a master of Drunken Boxing but only mastered the drunken part and provides comic relief.
There’s an obligatory training montage, set to “El Ojo del Tigre”, yes a Spanish language version of “Eye of the Tiger” performed by Robert Rodriguez’s band Chingon, Robert’s brother David was one of Green Ghost and the Masters of the Stone’s producers. And while we’re talking about family connections, director Michael D. Olmos is the son of award-winning actor Edward James Olmos.
For what it is, Green Ghost and the Masters of the Stone isn’t bad. The fight choreography by Marko Zaror isn’t elaborate but it’s a lot better than what you see in many low-budget films. And given that I find it odd that neither Velasquez nor MMA fighter and professional wrestler Bobby Lashley are mentioned in the film’s publicity. Given Velasquez’s recent legal issues mentioning him might not be such a good idea now, but the film does predate his arrest.
On the negative side of things, Green Ghost and the Masters of the Stone makes a lot of use of slowed-down and sped-up camera work during the fight scenes and it gets annoying after a while. Also, the Mayan Temple set used in the film’s final battle looks extremely cheap. But overall, the production values aren’t bad for a film that probably cost less than some of the cars Mr. Clark sells.
With its PG-13 rating and positive themes about family, teamwork, and self-worth are woven into the plot. Green Ghost and the Masters of the Stone is a film you can watch with the kids, or let them watch while you do something else. Green Ghost and the Masters of the Stone is available on VOD and Digital platforms via Gravitas Ventures. You can check the film’s website and Facebook page for more details. And if you’re looking for more films like it, FilmTagger has some suggestions.