‘Laguna Ave’: The Movie You Shouldn’t Watch.

It has cyborgs, conspiracies, telekinesis, and robotic limbs. No, I’m not talking about the next film in the DC Universe; I’m talking about ‘Laguna Ave,’ a low-budget sci-fi film that doesn’t make any sense and, at a runtime of 80 minutes, is about 80 minutes too long.   

‘Laguna Ave’ tells the story of Russell (Russell Steinberg) who, after losing his job, decides to break into his previous employer’s office to steal a hard drive with incriminating footage on it in an attempt to get the money he feels he is owed. In this opening sequence, we see Russell defecate on a desk, which officially marks the beginning of the absurd concepts presented in this film. 

At the same time that the film works to establish Russell as a perpetual slacker, it also introduces us to Gary (James Markham Hall Jr.), a new neighbor who moves into Russell’s building. Gary, along with his associate Charlie (Sheridan Ward), exhibits unusual behavior, including loud noises that appear to come from his apartment during the night.  

When Russell’s old boss breaks into his apartment one night to get revenge, he is thwarted by Gary, who, after saving Russell, shows him the truth about what is going on, including that his girlfriend Rita (Stephanie Brait) is secretly behind everything. This leads to Russell becoming the unwilling subject of one of Gary’s experiments.

Although he is initially reluctant, Russell soon turns to his neighbor, who warns him about R.E.G. and the fact that Rita is the mastermind behind the company. 

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It’s about this time ‘Laguna Ave’ goes off the rails but, in all fairness, it had been wobbling since Russell took the aforementioned shit on the desk.

Gary’s experimentation on Russell grants him the ability to manipulate electronics, courtesy of the new super-powered magnet in his new robot arm – a robot arm that resembles a dollar store version of Doctor Claw’s robotic arm from ‘Inspector Gadget.’

After Gary alerts him to the fact that R.E.G. has been spying on him this entire time and has been using every occupant of his building, who are all secretly working for Rita, he then tells Russell that the only way to achieve his mission is to kill Rita. His mission, of course, is to become a cyborg and destroy R.E.G. 

From here ‘Laguna Ave’ launches into an ending that most likely only makes sense to the writer, because no one else will know what just happened. From a man with computer parts taped to his skin, to a couple of robotic dildo hands, to a series of images and phrases flashed across the screen, the ending to ‘Laguna Ave’ is pure nonsense.   

‘Laguna Ave’ feels like a passion project but unlike Clerks, which this film feels like it tries to borrow some elements from with its black and white color scheme and its primary focus on an underachiever who complains more than actually doing anything, this passion project is not able to hit its mark. The fault doesn’t lie in the special effects. Those can easily be forgiven when you factor in the budget. The fault for ‘Laguna Ave’ lies in the overall message which feels lost in translation.

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On a scale of 1-5 stars, I give this movie 1 star.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

There is no reason for anybody to watch this film. ‘Laguna Ave’ is a bad movie that is unable to cross into the entertainingly bad genre, and I’m sure writer Paul Papadeas and director David Buchanan had good intentions, but so does the road to Hell. 

‘Laguna Ave’ stars Russell Steinberg as Russell, James Markham Hall Jr. as Gary, Stephanie Brait as Rita, Dan Crane as Pierre, Félixe De Becker as Karina, Manuel Canut as Tom Vela, Jane Reardon as Cassandra, Zachary Taylor as Dan, Carlos Marentes as Mayor Juan, Jeff Hilliard as Dusty, Paul Papadeas as Boss, and Sheridan Ward as Charlie.   

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