Directed by J.C. Christofilis
Adapted from the indie comic series of the same name, the web series Chopper tells the story of a Headless Horseman-esque biker who stalks the night, doling out punishment on those deserving of meeting his merciless blade.
Directed by J.C. Christofilis, who also wrote the story, adapting it from an original screenplay by Martin Shapiro, Chopper is a nine-episode web series that at times displays some incredible special effects, but at other times feels like a commercial for the series’ sponsors.
Chopper stars horror big boys Tyler Mane and Andrew Bryniarski, and the best scenes in the series focus on their conflict. Mane stars as the vengeful headless biker (he’s properly headed in flashback scenes), and Bryniarski is a badass drug-dealing, pain-inflicting menace. A second storyline features Tim Phillipps as Eric, a roadie for the Mayhem Music Festival, who is homesick and missing his girlfriend and then has to deal with a serious loss as the series concludes. The storylines don’t intersect during the first season of Chopper, but they come very close and will certainly be drawn together in Season 2.
Aside from the entertaining performances of Mane and Bryniarski, the best thing about Chopper is, as you would expect, the punishment doled out by the headless biker. And the price of meeting this demon is the same every time. Your head. There are some incredible decapitation scenes in this series, and they seem to improve as you get deeper into the story, culminating with a magical F/X moment in the finale. The series is also interlaced with a great metal soundtrack that completely fits the feel of Chopper.
That being said, there are some shortcomings in the series that are hard to overlook. First and foremost is the fact that at several points during the series it’s quite obvious who the sponsors behind the project are, as they are repeatedly splashed in front of the viewer. The Mayhem Music Festival, the band Machine Head and Sullen Clothing are constantly given screen time and mentions, nearly ad nauseam. Additionally, at times the acting feels very stiff, nearly forced, which really hurts the realism of the series.
However, if you can look past things like repeated mentions of Rockstar Energy Drink and a stiff actor here and there, you can enjoy some very impressive decapitation scenes, which completely make the series worth watching. There is no shortage of impressive visual effects in Chopper, and they drive the film. The decapitations are great, and Bryniarski orchestrates a torture scene that is toe-curlingly brutal. As the series is only just over an hour long, the kills-per-minute rate is impressively high.
Overall Chopper is an entertaining series. The episodes are short and to the point, and the action is constant. There is no down time in Chopper. The obvious over-exposure of the sponsors and the multiple stiff characters do detract from the series, but if you’re just looking for a project that is loaded with cool effects work, a simple but effective storyline and killer metal music, then you’ll be happy with Chopper.
2 1/2 out of 5