Written and Directed by Johnny K. WuBased on the DC Comics Characters Created by Bob Kane, Bill Finger and William Moulton Marston
Executive Produced by Johnny K. Wu
Produced by James V. Geier, Jeffrey Lubell, Christine Chapman, Annie Jones, Tom Luhtala, Wayne Orris, Andrew Schofield and Andrew Sokol
Cinematography by Bill Johns
Make-Up effects by Christine Chapman
Visual Effects by Tom Luhtala and Alan Tuskes
Fight Choreography by Johnny K. Wu
Editing by Johnny K. Wu
Original Motion Picture Score composed by Aryavarta Kumar
Kyle Znamenak ... Jonathan Napier
David J. Levy ... Vince Fries
David Milam ... Nick Grayson
Ellen N. Friedman ... Ellen
Dana Aritonavich ... Donna Isley
Gerry Keating ... Mr. Big
Andrew Schofield ... Dick Grayson/Nightwing
Johnny K Wu ... Ekin Tzu
James Orosz ... Patient
Chandler Chapman ... Thug #1
Jason Morris ... Thug #2
Tom Luhtala ... Thug #3
Mike Littlejohn ... Thug #4
Audese Green ... S&M Man
Wayne Orris ... Elevator Gangster
Mr. and Mrs. Bob Bennett ... Gangsters
Brett Tryda ... Gangster #1
Michael Kadlee ... Gangster #2
Jeff Rodgers ... Gangster #3
Joseph O’Brien ... Gangster #4
Eric Kutz ... Gangster #5
Joey Cremo ... Gangster #6
Keith Carr ... Gangster #7
By that reckoning, 2005’s “A Joker’s Card” stakes its claim by daring to be different and yet, in conclusion, by being exactly what a film based on an existing property, created by a fan and showcased on the Internet needed to be.
“A Joker’s Card” already has an interesting premise on the surface and it takes a lot of ambition for a fan film to make the decision to venture into a bold, self-imposed direction rather than fall prey to just ripping off what had come before. On the contrary, the short is inspired by various elements both of Batman and of superheroes in general, ranging from their own absurd behaviorisms to how real society thinks of them.
My favorite performance is Gerry Keating as Mr. Big, the last of the major crime bosses in Gotham. He’s so deliciously exaggerated that it transcends parody and cradles into the full-blown realm of satire as he lampoons big gangster stereotypes complete with a cigar so comically monstrous in size you can’t help but laugh at the sight of it.
Znamemak gives a wonderful dichotomy as the son of the Joker; the performance is informed of this legacy and you can feel the burden on his shoulders in the flashback where he arrives at Arkham to be consoled by Fries after being beat up at school. His body language and mannerisms are also well handled and very expressive, which helps sell the idea of his clown-ish origins. In direct parallel yet stark contrast, David Levy is as straight-edged as it comes and the chemistry between the two is very reminiscent of Abbott and Costello in several regards.
However, the battle between Ekin Tzu (the writer/director himself) and a welcome Nightwing is pretty decent. One note of interest is that this is both the first and one of the very few Batman fan films to actually incorporate wire work into its production; this was one of the strong points of the film during its shooting, gaining it some attention prior to release.
The look of Ekin Tzu is my favorite of the whole show; that’s a wonderful costume!
Of course it’s a given by the end of the film that he’s referring to Nightwing but still, the gag speaks for itself.