The blending of action and comedy is nothing new and yet often yields cinematic gold when crafted by capable, witty, well-choreographed creatives. Boris And The Bomb, written/directed by David Kronmiller and co-written by his wife Jennifer Emily McLean, sorely lacks in any of these.

This slipshod mess of a film is based on a web series called And Boris about an ex-KGB agent who has been hiding a nuclear bomb for three decades while being pursued by a random assortment of goons and government officials. This is a decent enough elevator pitch to get the ball rolling, but the film itself is all over the place while being cringingly unfunny. Compounded by a nearly two-hour runtime, this punishingly bad script is akin to sitting through an amateur stand-up act while a novice bar-fight breaks out in the background.

Boris And The Bomb - FishEyedLensy
source: Indie Rights

By the way, that last part actually does happen in the film. Twice.

Bore And The Bomb

With a few exceptions, much of the cast in this film is simply not cut out for comedy, or action for that matter. Nothing is fun or clever and jokes land with a thud no matter who is speaking. The dialogue felt reminiscent of an improv troop who won’t let the audience in on why any of this is should be amusing. Aside from the criminally underused screen grabbing charisma of Faran Tahir and the likability of the titular Boris, played by J. Anthony McCarthy, many of the key players struggle to sound sincere or even the least bit believable.

The action scenes swing for the fences, trying to look well-staged. The results, however, are dull, with fights mixed with gun battles marred by some of the worst digital muzzle flashes ever put to screen. The sets are sparse shots of what can only be assumed is the producer’s backyard used for random backdrops. One of the most glaring examples of such corner-cutting comes in the form of a cheaply thrown together comedy club set piece built outside for some reason, which consists of a wooden sign and some tiki torches.

Boris And The Bomb - FishEyedLensy
source: Indie Rights

Understandably, this is an ua low budget film and many amazing productions have been made with similar monetary hurdles. The issue is the scope of the world being presented in Boris And The Bomb far outreaches anything they were trying to convey. There are clever ways to work around a tight budget, all of which were tossed aside to keep in as much of the writers’ visions as possible.

You Can’t Shoot For The Moon With A Firecracker

If the comedy and action weren’t lacking enough, the music and effects take the prize. Not a scene goes by where the tone-deaf soundtrack doesn’t remind the audience just how awkwardly blah this entire journey is. A painfully one-note keyboard tinkling sounds like a straight to video kid’s film from the early ’90s, while adding nothing to the tension or comedy other than being laughably hard to sit through. And it never stops, almost as if the viewer needs cues to know when a joke is told or a fight is starting.

Adding insult to injury is the aggressively terrible digital after-effects package someone slapped on this film. Muzzle flashes, animated electricity, and cartoonishly rendered explosions take you out of the moment every time they appear like a Nintendo 64 game.

Boris And The Bomb - FishEyedLensy
source: Indie Rights

One might use the excuse of this being a comedy as a scapegoat for how awful the effects are, but the fact that this is also an action flick moots the argument immediately. Again, had the production been plotted out more carefully, what could have been silly little nitpicks wouldn’t amount to blatant eyesores for a very savvy concept.

Who Is This For?

What annoys me most about the movie is the squandering of a good thing. The concept is strong and had, say, a comedy writer been given a pass at this, while not trying to take the action beyond the budget, the result could have been a very sharp little film. Instead, the narrative is bogged down by far too many characters who never amount to the grandeur the writers think they have given them. Cutting the cast by about five or so would have at least afforded the production a few more dollars to polish the rough edges and could have shaved off a good twenty minutes of unamusing fluff that does nothing to further the plot. Everything about the film feels amateurish from the writing, directing, acting, and the jarringly out of wack editing which jumps in and out of scenes without rhyme or reason in some cases.

I can appreciate having the gumption to bring an idea to life on a tight budget and for that anyone should be commended. Making a film is hard and made harder by restriction, but sometimes creatives need to take a step back and realize the mess they are making and course correct. Boris And The Bomb not only tries to be bigger than the sum of its parts but also seems to have a lot of heart put into it. Unfortunately, the film never reaches the heights envisioned by its creators.

What are some of your favorite Action/Comedy crossovers? The Film Inquiry Community would love to hear from you.

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