Once the country’s most beloved superhero, Al Migliocetti aka “Liberator” (Lou Ferrigno) has really hit rock bottom. After being set up by the government for a crime he did not commit -- which resulted in a lengthy prison sentence -- Al is ready to set the record straight and finally get his life back together. As wonderful as this all sounds, Al has one major roadblock in his road to redemption, and that is the very people who set him up to take the fall. This gives Al only one option, and that’s to dust off his old costume and make a return as Liberator!
Directed by Aaron Pope, Liberator is less of a short film and, in true comic book nature, more of a first installment. The film is bookended by comic book panel sequences that help to give some exposition as well as fill in certain aspects that are well out of budgetary reach for such a modest project. Despite being a low-budget affair, however, Liberator is quite ambitious, featuring some moderately admirable special effects.
There are moments where the filmmaking is a tad amateurish, specifically with some staging. On the other hand, however, there are also a handful of wonderfully crafted action sequences featuring impressive continuous shots and solid editing, which help to create a smooth and comprehensive flow of action that is quite exciting to watch. Some of the performances are awkward at times, and this includes Lou Ferrigno himself. Though, in the case of Ferrigno, his less than perfect performance is balanced out by a genuine level of sympathy and sincerity that the ever massive man brings to the table.
Liberator ends on a To Be Continued… note, which comes just as Al is going back to his Liberator roots to face off against his enemies, leaving the viewer with an exciting cliffhanger and a reason to look forward to a future installment. Regardless of whether or not that ever comes, Liberator works as a fairly entertaining comic book inspired short that is worth twenty minutes of your time, so long as you are a fan of such subject matter. If not, maybe the Don “The Dragon” Wilson cameo will be enough to sell you on the project.
If you’d like to check it out, you can rent or purchase Liberator on Amazon for $2.99.