No ResistanceOverview -
Freelance cybercriminal Dij works the streets of near-future Houston in Director Tim Thomson’s ambitious 1994 cyberpunk thriller No Resistance. Though terribly dated, the film is an exciting mix of sci-fi and action coated in 90’s industrial grunge. Saturn’s Core brings the film to Blu-ray with a respectable A/V package given the film’s technical limitations. Fans will no doubt enjoy the bevy of special features rounding out this lo-fi tech thriller. Recommended.
Houston, Texas. Sometime in the near future. In the aftermath of the catastrophic collapse of America’s governmental and financial infrastructures, Dij is a pink-haired, crank-snorting, cyber-alchemist performing high priced hacks for hire from his fully mobile, holstered laptop. Dij navigates through a dystopian urban jungle, evading the ire of rival “government” street gangs and wielding his itinerant PC like a futuristic gunslinger, erasing phone bills and shutting down life support systems for a bounty of drugs, floppy discs, and cash. When Dij is hired by would-be terrorists to obtain a high-risk, weaponized computer virus, he instead finds himself involuntarily becoming the carrier of a far more insidious cargo – the fallout from which may lead to war, or even the end of all humanity as we know it.
A highly inventive and virtually undiscovered SOV masterpiece shot guerrilla style on the streets of Houston in 1992, No Resistance was the brainchild of Lunatic Fringe Productions, a Texas based film collective spearheaded by visionary director Tim Thomson and his equally imaginative writing & acting partners David Rains and Irving Cutter. A prophetic, futuristic knockout with a kinetic industrial noise rock soundtrack by Houston’s Pain Teens, it stands apart in the echelon of shot on video features by dwelling unabashedly in the realms of both action & science fiction. Like a dime-store Blade Runner by way of Yojimbo and filtered through the gritty lens of Deadbeat at Dawn, No Resistance remains one of the ‘90s most iconoclastic, cyberpunk, neo-noir sagas.
directed by: Tim Thomson
starring: David Rains, Chris Jones, Wendy M. Frasier, Irving Cutter, Bliss Blood
1994 / 85 min / 1.33:1 / English Stereo
- Region Free Blu-ray
- Audio commentary with writer / director Tim Thomson, producer Michael Schneider Jr., writer / actor David Rains & writer / actor Irving Cutter
- Audio commentary / music track with writer / director Tim Thomson, producer Michael Schneider Jr., & musician Scott Ayers of Pain Teens
- “Cyberpunk Yojimbo” -an interview with director Tim Thomson
- “No Re:” -pitch trailer for the proposed No Resistance original TV series (w/ optional audio commentary)
- “Coral Kiss” -Pain Teens music video by Tim Thomson (w/ two optional audio commentaries)
- “White Bunnies” -Truth Decay music video by Tim Thomson (w/ optional audio commentary)
- “3 by dr:op:fr:am+e” -music video by Tim Thomson
- Reversible cover art
- English SDH subtitles
Purchase Original Edition From Vinegar Syndrome.
Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take
No Resistance is the story of Dij (David Rains) an ex-military addict working as a freelance cybercriminal. Using his shoulder-slung computer he sells drugs, hacks financial systems, and erases his sister’s phone bill. Dij lives in near-future Houston where a police state is in control while government and financial systems are collapsing. Naturally, someone like Dij sees more opportunity than most. His contact is Waldo (Irving Cutter IV) whose dark shades and suit make him look like a proto Agent Smith from The Matrix.
The two meet in a bleak Chinese restaurant where Dij downs condiment packets while complaining about his awful clients. Waldo informs the hacker that his services are becoming more bankable than ever thanks to the oil war in Russia. He tells Dij of the next job that could land him his own “private redhead” along with medical benefits and a pension (ya know the good things in life). What seems like a typical computer virus handoff turns ugly when rival gangs vie for control of it leaving Dij stuck in the middle.
Like most sci-fi of the early 90s, No Resistance supposes a near future with cyber warfare, digital drug dealing, and apocalyptic landscapes filled with outlandish gangs seeking control. Here those ideas are successfully combined before the onslaught of late-night cable fare hoping to cash in on cheap effects and silly gadgets. Thomson cites the first influence was to adapt the 30’s detective novel Red Harvest by Dashiell Hammett which famously influenced Yojimbo and A Fistful of Dollars. Adding in some William Gibson, skate culture, and the industrial noise scene allowed the feature to tear at authority from a genuine punk perspective.
I appreciate the vibe here following this fatalist punk as he squirms through life. Dij narrowly avoids death by weaseling his way out of gang shootings and sleazy underworld deals by the skin of his teeth. The world created here is that sweet spot where digital culture was still stuck in an analogue world. From the dirty hardware to the green MS-DOS UI text, I love everything going on here to predict future tech. Like the thrift store props, the performances are raw yet committed. David Rains adds manic energy to Dij making the cyberjunkie bounce through scenes with an unhinged manner. He is every anti-authority skater you knew in the 90s reading Thrasher.
Guerilla filmmaking tactics were easy in Houston as the limited crew and consumer-grade camcorder allowed them to shoot around town without drawing notice. The dilapidated industrial parks and cold office buildings used to provide excellent settings for the near future Houston. Thankfully this Lo-fi aesthetic hides the limitations of the filmmaking. I’d double feature this one with the dated yet highly entertaining Hackers or my favorite Sandra Bullock flick, The Net.
Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray
No Resistance lands on Blu-ray thanks to Saturn’s Core. The film is housed in a transparent keepcase with double-sided artwork. Loading the disc presents Saturn’s Core logo before landing on the Main Menu screen with stylized scenes from the film playing adjacent to the navigation options.
No Resistance arrives on Blu-ray in an AVC-encoded 1080p HD image presented in the film’s original 1.33:1 aspect ratio. Shot on a single Magnavox S-VHS camera the film is raw and unfiltered but showcases a bright color palette with strong black levels. You’ll first notice the rounded curves of the image thanks to the camera’s wide-angle lens adapter peeking through the corners. Initially, this spherical image is distracting but soon it transforms the film into a twisted POV look that makes No Resistance feel dangerous.
Colors are surprisingly vivid with Dij’s pink hair and green army coat popping through the image. Some detail is evident within costuming and facial features in closeup. Analogue fuzz is prominent but rarely overpowers the image. Black levels are deep within interior shots which look fantastic considering the natural lighting and technical limitations. Outdoor and nighttime scenes lose detail and become quite fuzzy as expected. Typically technical limitations can hinder a production’s look but No Resistance harnesses the gritty lo-fi elements to its advantage.
No Resistance avoids deletion with a respectable DTS-HD MA 2.0 audio track. The mix offers a pleasing near-future listening experience with dialogue exchanges clearer than expected though still hampered by technical limitations. Music tracks pump continuously with industrial rock, metal, and grungy synth ramping up the experience constantly. In-camera effects are dodgy but still achieve their intended purpose.
Saturn’s Core provides a wealth of bonus feature for this disc. Check out the commentary track and director interview then move through the insane music videos before rewatching with the isolated score.
- Audio Commentary with Director Tim Thomson, Actors/Co-Writers David Rains and Irving Cutter, and Co-Producer Mike Schneider
- Isolated Score with Audio Commentary by Tim Thomson, Composer Scott Ayers, and Mike Schneider
- Cyberpunk Yojimbo (HD 27:50) An Interview “transmission” from Director Tim Thomson who speaks at length about the film’s influences, production, and legacy.
- NO_RE: (HD 2:11) a proposed TV series sales pitch trailer from ‘97 with optional Director Audio Commentary.
- DR:OP:FR:AM+E Music Videos
- C.ontrolled F.light I.nto T.errain (HD 4:34)
- Bad: Angel (SD 4:24)
- Seventy Nine Nine (SD 5:53)
- Music Video: Coral Kiss by Pain Teens (SD 4:06) directed by Tim Thomson provided here with optional audio commentary tracks from Thomson and crew.
- Music Video: White Bunnies by Truth Decay (SD 4:53) directed by Thomson provided here with optional commentary.
- 2 Original No Resistance Trailers (SD 5:38)
- Other Saturn’s Core Trailers (HD 18:19)
The cyberpunk thriller No Resistance is an ambitious SOV effort that smartly uses its technical limitations to its advantage. Utilizing guerilla-style tactics, a thrift store prop supply, and one hell of a lead performance, the film is a perfect mix of grunge and techno-thriller. Saturn’s Core releases the film on Blu-ray with a respectable A/V package given the film’s pedigree. Fans will undoubtedly enjoy the bevy of special features included with this release. Recommended.
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