‘Backfire’ (2017) | Film Review

By Marc Miller
Published: April 24, 2019 (Last updated: August 29, 2021)
Backfire 2017 Film Review


A typical B-movie with competent components(lighting, framework, and editing) and fresh face actors spewing out some of the trashiest dialogue you’ll ever hear.

Oh boy, when it comes to B-movie bliss, Netflix is the place to be. That, of course, is their penchant for obtaining thousands of films that are so bad they were never given a release. These are the types of movies you could once find on Cinemax at 1 am to pass the time during bouts of unforeseen insomnia. Backfire is competently made. In terms of its lit, edited, and shot, which is the typical bottom floor standard for the genre.  It also lives up to the standard with unknown actors, along with some of the trashiest dialogue in the history of the modern genre.

A made-man Dominic (Dominic Costa) and his long-time girlfriend are victims of a botched robbery, leaving his girlfriend dead. Jerome (Black Deniro) and O.T. (Dave Patten), the men behind the theft, take their valuables, even after Jerome objects to O.T.’s decision to shoot the couple. Of course, killing a couple of patrons during a cold North Philly night is nothing new. Unfortunately, shooting the son of the craziest goddamn mob boss since Tony Soprano, Mark Savastano (veteran actor Tony Devon), is about to turn into a life lesson.

There is a difference between exploitation films likes Dragged Across Concrete and B-movies like Backfire. Watch both films back to back, and you will see the difference. Patton’s film contains a jaw-dropping scene, so out of place, it’s laughable for all the wrong reasons. The scene has no real place in the narrative, doesn’t work well in the film’s plot, and is politically incorrect. Dragged’s scenes are working together, like a puzzle, and build towards an evitable conclusion. Backfire feels like a bag full of exploitative scenes written to shock its audience without caring how they connect from scene to scene.

Backfire 2017 Film Review

As stated above, the film script is inept; it could only wish it could reach mediocrity.  There are at least a dozen scenes that use the interaction between two characters. One of them says, “You better watch it, (state character name),” whose sole purpose is to fill in the dead air (they say if your script is too dialogue centric, you are doing it wrong). The film has eye-rolling contrived plot turns with red herrings, disingenuous emotional reactions, and cliched dialogue.  Here are some examples:

“You like pizza, huh?” He said. “Yeah, I love pizza.” She said.  He asks, “How about you let me get a slice of that pie.” He then ends the scene with, “Baby girl, I got all the sauce you can dream of.”

“Fine, and how are you with that butterscotch smile?”

“They call it that psychological reverse. You never heard about that?”

The film has some oddly entertaining moments that are over the top. He has an offbeat quality that carries you through the picture. Veteran actor Tony Devon is almost cartoonish in his portrayal of mob boss Mark Savastano. He is genuinely frightening and delivers some very entertaining lines that feel authentic. Black Deniro, who also wrote the film with Dave Patten, has a presence on film that makes him highly watchable.

Backfire was made in 2017, and released on Netflix this month, telling you all you need to know about the film’s quality. If you are a fan of B-Movie sensationalism, then enjoy it. For my money, if you are looking for exploitation films that are elevated by superior filmmaking, rich dialogue, well-drawn characters, and complete with scenes that work, go seek out Dragged Across Concrete. Then again, Patton and Deniro’s film is cheaper on the streaming giant in theatre prices. The choice is yours.

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