Sidekick Blake Van De Graaf

Toronto may have been used in the past as a film location for superhero movies (X-Men, anyone?), but Sidekick might just be the first superhero film actually located in Toronto... and it’s damn proud of it! Riffing off a premise similar to M. Night Shyamalan's Unbreakable, Sidekick stars Perry Mucci as Norman Neale, a corporate IT guy and general comic book enthusiast who is convinced hunky co-worker Victor Ventura (David Ingram) has superpowers. He decides to take on the Professor X role in order to train Victor to become Victory Man and land himself the coveted role of sidekick in the process. Sidekick takes the concept another step further and imagines what would happen if the super-powered individual wasn’t cut out to be a hero. It’s a good idea and the story is well executed. Plus, opting for an understated superpower like telekinesis keeps the FX costs down, which is important for a low-budget indie flick like this. However, Sidekick ends up suffering from some wooden acting, with the notable exceptions of stars Ingram and Mucci, as well as Mackenzie Lush as love interest Andrea Hicks, and of course, superstar attraction Daniel Baldwin as Neale’s mentor and comic book store owner Chuck. The appearance of the latter will hopefully give the movie a higher profile, thereby enabling it to capitalise on the success of the TV show Heroes, which shares a similarly grounded approach to the superhero storytelling. While Sidekick is not a perfect production, it’s hard to hate on a film that proudly presents Toronto’s first superhero. Plus, the DVD contains a great commentary with the three main actors, director Blake Van De Graaf and writer/producer Michael Sparaga. Together with the cast and crew interviews it reveals many of the ideas that went into the creation of the concept and construction of the movie, while the deleted scenes, outtakes and actor auditions are interesting but unnecessary. (Maple)