Thursday, July 18, 2013

Comic-Con At Home: Reviewing Rock Jocks aka Armageddon't

Usually, during this time of the year, I would be battling two-mile-long lines and grabbing a ton of swag as part of my annual pilgrimage to Comic-Con for Whedonopolis. However, I am have to stay home because of my job limbo.

So, I'll review a movie that Geek and Sundry fans will likely see this week: Rock Jocks! I saw a postcard about it at Comic-Con a couple of years ago, and wondered if it would be a web series. Well, the movie is available at various sources, including iTunes. I checked it out, postponing the ESPYs for a while last night.

The movie's about a secret section of the Defense Department called the Asteroid Management Initiative (AMI)  that repels big meteors that threaten the Earth. It's a big job, but not well-respected. It has technology that uses satellites to fire lasers at the meteors, but it's barely above Windows XP.

The crew includes John ( Andrew Bowen, Magic City), the leader of the group who's a bit of a burnout. He's upset he has to cancel his comet-watching trip with his son and work on his day off. His second in command, Alison (Felicia Day of The Guild and lots of other things) really wants to get promoted. She's good at her job, but missing some interpersonal skills. Ken (Kevin Wu) is the son of a "Rock Jock", and has problems trying to live up to the family name. He also may have a crush on Alison. Seth (Justin Chon, Twilight)  is a smart aleck who likes to prank Kevin. He got into the group because of his video game skills. Tom (Gary Bednob) has been there the longest, and takes a nip or nine to get through the shift.

They get a visit from Austin Pratt (Mark Woolley), a bean-counter from the DOD who wants to interview the crew, and decide if they can be replaced with an automated system with a very sinister name. Seeing them in action, mostly sniping at each other and getting bored in between meteors, may make the decision easy for him.

Observing all of this is a mysterious alien called "Smoking Jesus" (Doug Jones, Buffy, The Neighbors, Pan's Labyrinth, Falling Skies). He apparently helped set up AMI, and observed how its budget's been cut to the marrow. He also sets up Rube Goldberg-type setups that actually comment on what happens next in the story.

During their shift, John wonders how he can leave to meet with his son, Alison worries she'll never get promoted, Seth exploits Ken's insecurities, and Tom rants about unpleasant things. Meanwhile, there may be a meteor shower that no one can stop. It's a more realistic, and funny, version of Armageddon, only without Bruce Willis or a soundtrack including Aerosmith.

The cast also includes Robert Picardo (Star Trek: Voyager, Stargate: Atlantis) and Jason Mewes (yep, Silent Bob's pal) as two security guards who discuss what kind of princess each would be, and the versatility of a well-known obscenity. There's also two cameos, if you look and hear closely.

Rock Jocks will be featured twice at Comic-Con as part of Geek and Sundry's programming. A meet and greet is scheduled at Jolt N' Joe's with Felicia and Jason at 4 PM. It'll be shown at 5 PM at the same place Saturday, with Felicia introducing the movie.

If you can't make it to Comic-Con, head to iTunes or Amazon. You can rent or buy the download. It will be available in DVD form next month. It's also available at, with a special package which includes the poster, HD download and two pins featuring Alison and Smoking Jesus.

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