Have Cheetah,Will View #349 – “Rondo” (2019)

Its 7:43 pm

Been sitting on the latest release from from our pals from Artsploitation Films for a while now. The cheetah and I have watched this four times (including director’s commentary) because of the ending of the film left he and I a bit divided.

Plus,this one is a bit strange because “Rondo” is a movie made right here in America and this is a first for us because everything that Artspoitation has sent us in the past has been a foreign made film. We’re not complaining because it sort of gives their films a bit of a IFC Film/Film Movement vibe and we are digging that…..but “Rondo”…..this one is really different……

Paul (Luke Sorge) is in a bad way,he has been dishonorably discharged from the army,he has a drinking problem,no jobs and no prospects. Soon he finds himself homeless and ends up sleeping on his sister’s couch. Jill (Brenna Otts) only has two rules for Paul,don’t drink and don’t smoke in the house. When she catches him doing both,she at first gets upset but when she sees just how depressed Paul is,Jill makes an appointment for Paul with a therapist she met.

Paul goes and meets the therapist who is around 8 months pregnant. But instead of asking Paul basic mental health questions,she starts asking about his sex life and says that getting laid is a therapy she believes in. She then gives Paul a card to a “underground place” along with a password that allows him entry.
Paul is a little taken back but he struggles to sleep,he decides to go to the place.
He arrives at an apartment,shares his password and is escorted up. The apartment is a normal looking and Paul meets two other men,one who is holding a box and one who is a braggart about how many women he has slept with.

Then the trio meets the host of the party,a gentleman named Lurdell,who welcomes them. He then introduces a couple,The Timms,a clearly drugged and naked young woman and her “husband”. Lurdell then explains that each man will have a turn to do whatever they want to Mrs. Timms except that it has to stay on a plastic sheet. The men sign a wavier sheet and the one with the box (which are sex toys) goes first and Paul talks to Boone,the braggert. The two share drinks and soon enough Boone’s turn comes up and he enters the room….Paul decides to smoke and goes outside.

While standing outside,he sees Boone on top of a listless and drugged Mrs. Timms,what he also sees but Boone does not is a man take a sledgehammer and kills Boone.
Paul knows he is in the wrong place and definitely the wrong time!! He barely escapes with his life but Lurdell isn’t worried,he knows where Paul lives at,he has his wavier sheet.

Paul rushes back and attempts to tell Jill what has happened,she tell him to call the cops who don’t believe him,when Paul starts getting paranoid even with Jill,she worries maybe Paul is cracking up……until Lurdell shows up to clean his tracks. Paul is killed in front of Jill who is hiding…..and thus starts a dark trail of savage revenge for Jill as she seeks justice for her brother…..and hell hath no fury like a sister on the warpath!!!

Did the cheetah and I like “Rondo”? As mentioned,this is a tough one because while I enjoy a good pulpy story as well as the next person and revenge is always a good plot device,I think writer/director Drew Barnhardt went just a tad too far and what had been a good solid tale with an excellent voice over by Steve Von Beckum as the Narrator and a wonderful performance by Otts and Reggie De Morton as Lurdell gets soured in the last scene.

When will directors wake up and realize that Quentin Taratino is a hack and someone not to emulate,especially when they crafted a fine story and one with some sly humor involved. I liked how Barnhardt set his bad guys and I wish he had established their origins just a tad more because Lurdell made for a very interesting and nost decidedly evil bad guy but yet was still “cultured” in his dress and mannerisms. De Morton brings a nice mix of ruthlessness and refinment to the roll and gives Lurdell some depth.

Otts,who has starred in big series like “Westworld” and “Strange Angel” is both stunning to look at but also can communicate her feelings and emotions with just a look.
Her prim and proper Jill has to grow up way too fast yet she is not only to handle it but when she takes the fight to Lurdell and his cohorts,she can do it ruthlessly and without a thought. Its a nice breakout role for Otts but for that overreach by Barnhardt. Its okay to have revenge but why have your storyteller lose her soul in the process?
The movie looks and sounds great,I thought the score by Ryan Franks and Scott Nickoley was light and bouncy and helped move “Rondo” along swiftly.

“Rondo” is unrated but would be considered NC-17 for the final scene of extreme graphic violence.  Special features include director’s commentary and deleted scenes.  The runtime is 88 minutes.

We liked 95% of “Rondo”,it was inventive,had some great music and good cast. We enjoyed this film very much but that last 5%,I hope that Barnhardt learns from that and becomes a stronger director/writer for it. It is for that reason that we gave “Rondo” two thumbs/4 paws straight down. But for those who wish to check “Rondo”,you can buy this film by visiting the Artsploitation Films website.

What movie have you watched lately that went beyond the norm in terms of violence?
Drop us a line and tell us about it….





11 thoughts on “Have Cheetah,Will View #349 – “Rondo” (2019)

  1. I recently rewatched the revisionist western, The Proposition for the umpteenth time. Very violent, but not gratuitous…Realistically violent. Is it wrong of me to “like” realistic violence in a film? I don’t know…but I do. I hate violence porn like Hostel. I watched about 20 minutes of that film and bailed. It’s soul killing, in my opinion.
    I admire you chutzpah in criticism Tarantino, though I like some of his films very much. What I really hate is the way so many directors gave their films the Tarantino treatment.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like “Kill Bill Vol.1” and the two part “CSI” episode he did but everything else is over the top cartoon violence and don’t get me going on his Manson movie….the man is slimy and very creepy.
      As for Rondo…..I just wish that Barnhardt had shown just a tad more restraint but he I think he got caught up in the scene and just went overboard.
      Hostel wasn’t shocking to me because the make-up was terrible and Rick Hoffman was in it! Rick is always a hoot and he lowered the tension. I think horror films work better when relatively unknown casts….once you see a known face,it just doesn’t have the same punch in my opinion.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Totally agree….Scream is supposedly a dark comedy but there was nothing funny about Drew’s death,for what that movie was supposed to be,the first scene took a lot of the fun out of it. That was nasty.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. I thought this was Rango when I first came in here, lol. Boy, did I have the wrong movie!!
    This sounds a little depressing. Not sure if I’d watch it.
    I agree about Tarantino, though, more or less, because of the endless monologues people have, which sound forced and stilted–did you ever notice how many times when people are talking they say, “However…”
    Did it in Kill Bill, too, which we also liked volume 1 along with you.
    But the other reason is something hardly anyone brings up, but being a mixed race person, his liberal use of the N-word is REALLY annoying and wears on one after a point. It’s like he’s obsessed with that word !!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Taratino is a hack….and yeah,I guess because he feels he has black stars like Samuel Jackson and Jamie Foxx,he gets to use that word like he invented it. He is all flash but zero heart or soul.


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