Two friends attempting to write a screenplay together, inadvertently create something much bigger than they expected in the short film Tribe: The Untold Story of the Making of Vice Cops.
If you’re a writer, you have probably suffered from the infamous “writer’s block”. When inspiration is hard to come by, and you feel like you are stuck with no avenues to get you to the finish line. In Tribe: The Untold Story of the Making of Vice Cops, two friends Miguel (played by the director Manuel Alejandro Vargas) and Richie (Mick Primmer) are trying to complete a screenplay with great difficulty. Miguel is the more determined of the two and spends most of his day sat in front of his laptop typing away, whilst Richie is easily distracted. Instead of bouncing ideas with his friend, Richie instead makes smoothies, smokes joints, and watches Lord of the Rings.
Obviously, Richie’s work ethic (or lack of it) annoys Miguel, especially when Richie insists that they both watch a scene (or two) from Lethal Weapon. This unexpectedly leads to the two staying up all night and creating a screenplay so great, that an investor instantly puts up the whole budget and gives the two writers full creative control.
The result is a feature film called Vice Cops.
What we get for the next few minutes is a trailer for the movie that harkens back to the cheesy cop shows of the 70s and early 80s. Think Spike Jonze’s video for the Beastie Boys’ hit song Sabotage and you’re on the right wavelength.
With characters such as Xander Kage and Tommy Blade, Vice Cops shows the two leads rolling around on concrete and over car bonnets, shooting their guns, and slapping bad guys around in alleyways. It’s all over-the-top ridiculous and a lot of fun.
The script, which was written by both Manuel Alejandro Vargas and Mick Primmer is good, especially the early scenes which involved the two of them writing the script (or trying to). The second half doesn’t really have much dialogue. They both do well with their performances too.
What I didn’t quite understand was the year in which the short is set. The writers are clearly living in a modern time period. They are working on laptops, making smoothies with blenders, watching Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings. Yet, their movie is something that looks decades old. Unless they have found a niche, and movies that look like cheap 70’s B-movies have become “all the rage”. Hey, it worked for Paul Thomas Anderson with Boogie Nights, so why not?
Tribe: The Untold Story of the Making of Vice Cops is very well made, especially with the editing. It could make for a great feature if expanded upon, and that is something we’d definitely be interested in seeing.
So, if you want to make a hit movie, maybe get some pot and make a smoothie. You never know.