Back in 2003, Redcape Cinema produced a six-minute audition reel for actress Michelle Laurent (then billed as Michelle O’Neil) titled Wonder Woman: Battle for Justice. An award-winning sequel came three years later in the forty-minute Wonder Woman: Balance of Power.
Directed by Ron Santiano, Balance of Power continues Diana’s fight against the villainous World Inc. A corporation that masks its black market operations, World Inc. has had enough of the Amazon’s meddling. They’ve recruited a mastermind known as the Neutralizer to kidnap Steve Trevor and set a trap. When Wonder Woman is taken captive, its up to her to discover her inner strength of will to escape.
WHY YOU SHOULD SEE IT
Both Battle for Justice and Balance of Power keep a golden rule that all fan films should follow: keep the plot simple. Battle for Justice focuses on one fight between Wonder Woman and the evil suits of World Inc. Balance of Power is a rescue mission that turns into an escape film. When the story is simple, it gives the writer and actors a chance to focus on other production values without losing sight of how the elements will come together in the end. Special effects. Stunts. Camera composition. Performance. To borrow a phrase from author Frank Miller, Balance of Power don’t shiv on any of that.
The actors have fun in the style of the Lynda Carter TV show. Watch Robert McCain as The Neutralizer and Micah Green as Wizard. They practically lick their lips with every line as they gleefully torture our heroes with the Disruptor, a weapon that delivers “enough energy to disrupt the nervous system of a pachyderm.” Also, my props to the prop master Raul Contreras for the Disruptor design. It’s got a cool Men in Black vibe.
Laurent’s fight scenes pack a punch. Fight choreographers Phil Delpin and Danielle Orsino really sell her superpowers, thanks to the impressive acrobatics of henchmen who flip and crash into cardboard boxes. As a side note, I love it when henchmen crash into cardboard boxes. Not enough cardboard box crashing in The Avengers or The Dark Knight Rises. They better not drop that ball if the Justice League movie happens.
In the end, before Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor escape, he learns her secret identity. Awkward. What can that hold for their future? It’s time for Diana to seek a little solace on keeping a double life from her confidante, Clark Kent. Now, this film dates before the reboot, so any romantic inklings must be assumed in hindsight; however, Clark seems to have removed his wedding ring before coming inside. Scandalous! He wanted this New 52 reboot all along! Their brief meeting is cut short by police sirens, which sets us up for the sequel.
WHERE YOU CAN SEE IT
Watch Wonder Woman: Balance of Power here. Several YouTube channels have it broken up into episodes, but this link is the best because it has the entire film. Keep your eyes open to other Superman cameos from Chloe Sullivan and Pete Ross, as well as a certain bald super-villain in the post-credits easter egg.
Check out the behind-the-scenes special effects wirework, bloopers, and director/cast interviews at Redcape Cinema’s YouTube Channel.