“15 years ago, the Super Task Force Six were shut down in secret by The evil Emperor Zagel. Since then, he has been working on a super weapon powered by all six armors. When a former Enforcer realizes this plan, he risks his life to steal Unit Green and passes it off to a completely unprepared Jason. Can Jason keep Unit Green out of Zagel’s clutches? If the Super Task Force Six couldn’t beat Zagel, what hope is there for the Super Task Force ONE?”
Fans of justice, I’m here to bring you an interview with the brains behind the next entry to the indie toku genre: Steve Rudzinski of Super Task Force One. Â Yes, I know that the entire previous sentence could be surmised from the title, but I need something to put before the JUMP, which you must hit in order to read the interview. Â It’s a good’un; we’ve got exclusive pictures and information you can’t see anywhere else. Â So, like I said, jump it and read it.
Thanks for talking to us at HJU.Â Tell us: who are you, where are you from, and what is Super Task Force One?
I’m Steve Rudzinski, I am an independent but experience filmmaker from Pittsburgh, PA. Super Task Force One is my own original, indie Tokusatsu.
What is your background in film?Â What is currently on your resume?
Â I’ve been a filmmaker for many years now, including high school work it’s a decade. Not including that I’ve been seriously making films, online shows, and other sketches for about five years. The most recent examples include The Slasher Hunter (available on Amazon VoD) and Everyone Must DIE!, which saw a nation-wide release in several major retail chains. Older works include stuff like Wolfster, VG Spoofs, and Basic Slaughter (which is awful, by the way).
How did the project get started?Â What were your primary inspirations for making the movie?
I’ve wanted to dabble in the genre my entire life but it always seemed out of reach and I didn’t have a good idea. Last summer I first started to more seriously think about it and I even wrote the first scene from the film, where Jason gets his suit for the first time. It was very early on and I didn’t have a full story yet but that’s where it left off, I was very busy with promoting Everyone Must DIE that I pushed it back. In April is when I finally sat down and wrote the full script. I found myself taking inspiration from Power Rangers RPM and even Guyver as I wrote the screenplay. But it all flowed out so naturally.
What all have you personally done on the project?Â
I have written the script, I star in the film (to save on money and because I’ve always wanted to do this), I direct the film, and I am editing the film. This is very much a passion project where I can’t afford to hire people to do certain jobs, so I am going solo on this as much as I can.
How much tokusatsu have you watched?Â Are you very active in the fan communities?
I’ve watched a fair amount of Toku, though I admit to being far from an expert. I’ve tried several different series but I find that Super Sentai is by far my favorite. I’ve watched a lot of assorted episodes from every series over the years, but finished complete series of Jet Man, Zyuranger, Dairanger, and Gokaiger. I wish I could watch every episode from GoRanger on but I just don’t have any time. I have seen every episode of Akibaranger and every episode of Power Rangers. I do assure folks that while I’m more accustomed to our American Powerful Rangers, in general I prefer the Super Sentai versions (with a few notable exceptions).
What will we see in the way of storyline?Â What is the film about, and why should fans be excited about it?
The story takes place in a world that had a super team at one point. For five years, the Super Task Force Six fought a bunch of alien threats undefeated. But suddenly, 15 years ago they were decommissioned by the government. You find out in the film that Emperor Zagel, the last villain they fought, was able to mind control the entire agency in order to defeat them. He’s been trying to make the ultimate weapon using their armors and power ever since, but he needs all six Units to succeed. One lone Unit, Unit Green, is able to be smuggled out and is tossed into the hands of someone who is not at all a hero, Jason Oliver. Jason must try to evade the Emperor’s search teams while coming to terms with his new responsibilities. We get to see the journey of how someone can be forced to go from an every man to a hero.
Describe the world that the characters are living in; what is the role of Super Task Force Six and what mark have they made on the world?
The Super Task Force Six were very much a real super team that everyone knew about. They were created by Dr. Uzuki, sanctioned and supported by the US Government, and fought world wide against all alien threats (of which there were several). And because they were real life super heroes, they had fans. Merchandise. Toys. They were the biggest thing in the world. One of the main characters in the film, Paul, is a complete fanboy for the Super Task Force and is the go-to guy for information on their history. Jason’s appearance as the Green Enforcer immediately has news outlets reporting on the possibly return of the team and begins to rekindle hope in the people.
This all is a real story of course, but it’s very much also a comedy film. Between the real story elements are jokes and poking fun at the nuances of Toku and Super Sentai. I also based this a bit more on Super Sentai when to comes to the target audience, this is definitely meant for the entire age range. It’s got some dumb humor for kids, but there’s also some serious moments.
Tell us a little bit more about the characters in the movie.Â What can we expect from them?
We have three main characters: Jason, Amy, and Paul. Jason is completely out of his element, he’s a weasel who is now owner of a very specific set of super powers. Amy is Jason’s girlfriend, who clearly is used to his anxiety issues and helps him deal with things. Paul is the complete STF Fanboy and is the first person Jason goes to in order to make sense of any situation.
The three villains are Emperor Zagel, Azrael, and Munkar. Zagel is the ultimate evil in the universe, nobody outranks this guy. He is also the only one who every actually BEAT the Super Task Force Six, which makes Jason even more concerned about possibly fighting him alone. Azrael and Munkar are both his loyal followers, possibly the only ones who survived all of the original battles 15 years ago.
There is also one more very important character, ADA, which is the artificial intelligence on board Unit Green. She opens the doors for all of the insider information and is the very reason why Jason knows how to use anything at all.
I also understand that David Fielding (Zordon from Power Rangers) is making an appearance in the film.Â How did you get him involved, and who will he be playing in the film?
David was absolutely wonderful to work with. A friend of mine knew him personally and sent him info on the project. After sending him a script and talking to him about it, he was very on board with being a part of the film. David is a fantastic actor and nothing but professional while also being very laid back. I look forward to working with him again. he will be playing the brilliant Dr. Uzuki himself, who created the original team. However, the doctor went missing the same time the team was shut down so we will only see him in flash backs. But it’s a wonderful cameo.
Youâ€™ve previously described Super Task Force One as â€˜a love letter to both American Power Rangers andâ€¦Super Sentaiâ€™; what are the elements that you love about the shows, and how will they be injected into your film?
I love how absolutely over the top the shows are in their style. Everything is so flashy and bright it’s completely ridiculous in the best way possible. But I also enjoy the very core, simplistic story that EVERY series tells, good overcoming evil. Even against all odds, people working together are able to work towards the greater good. Even though this film forces Jason to be alone, he very much wouldn’t succeed without the help and support he receives from the other characters in the film. And of course, Super Sentai and Power Rangers are just so fun. I made sure to keep STF as fun as possible. It’s what I feel is a very solid balance between the story with the very real character arc of Jason, the classic Toku style, and poking fun at the classic Toku nuances.
How much effort went into the suit design, for both the Super Task Force suit and the monster suits?
A decent amount of effort went into them. Aleen Isley painted the Enforcer helmet, as well as every monster’s mask and body. I have very specific color ideas and look concepts for the monsters and Aleen did great. The Green Enforcer I wanted to be unique while still calling back to the series most people know best, Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers. So I went with a triangle design that resembles MMPR, while going with a shiny look for the suit to make it seem more like armor than cloth.
Speaking of the monsters, could you tell us a little bit more about the bad guys?
Emperor Zagel the ultimate evil, as I said. I feel that he fought the original team for a full year before opting to defeat them using politics when might failed. He’s smart, but he’s also extremely powerful. We’re talking about a guy who could fight all six team members alone and stand his ground. He has been developing a weapon using all six transformation devices, which grant access to the Power Grid, which will enable him full control of the entire universe.
Azrael, his second in command, is a sleek warrior. He’s definitely a fire elemental and prefers using a sword out of sport. He’s cool, calm, and collected; which makes him a stark contrast to how over the top Munkar (and even Zagel at times) is. Munkar is the comic releif of the villains. Over the top, wacky, and the first to question why things run the way they do. While he’s been with Zagel for a while, he still doesn’t understand simple evil villain concepts (such as why Zagel can’t turn him into a giant NOW instead of after he gets blown up once).
The theme song is quite a treat to listen to; it’s a very appropriate send-up of the radical Power Rangers themes of yore and feels like it fits right in. What is the origin of the theme song? Who wrote and/or composed it? Is there more original music along the same Ron Wasserman-esque lines that has been produced for the film?
The song was written and performed by the very talented Stevo Bortz, who also composes the film. I went to him for a theme, while giving him every Power Ranger theme song to date, to give him a better idea of what I was looking for. Stevo completely nailed it in one try.
How about mecha?Â Is there going to be a giant robot fight?
Oh yes. The Green Enforcer has Omnimech Green [AKA Fenrir], the most powerful stand alone Omnimech. It will be used in the film to combat a giant.Â
How is your mech fight going to be made?Â In fact, what is the balance going to be between computer magic and practical effects?
The mech fight is going to be completely CGI. It’s simply the most doable. It would be far more expensive and difficult to built robot suits and a city set in order to shoot the scene. I would love to do more of a mix of practical and CG, but on my low budget we have to stick with complete CGI for the fight. We do keep cutting inside the cockpit of the mech in order to keep something non CGI created in the scene.
What makes your project unique or worthy of the attention of the average tokusatsu fan?
There aren’t many indie Tokus being made, if at all. As an independent filmmaker, I can tell you that indie films have a certain level of freedom compared to the big guys. This is a story that hasn’t quite been told before. Everything is just a little bit different. I’ve put the comic relief Green Ranger into the suit of the powerful sixth Ranger just to see what would happen. The character interactions, the plot, how it happens, it’s all nothing quite like what you’ve seen before. The nods are there, the homages are clear, yet it all feels so original at the same time. What if the Power Rangers were beaten, and 15 years later some loser randomly becomes the last one? That’s what this movie explores.
Also, one of the things that several critics compliment my horror work for, and what has seemingly become my signature, is to take the normal cliches and staples of the horror genre but turn them upside down or do them in unexpected ways. I like to think, and hope, that I’m doing the same thing in the Toku genre with this movie.
What is in the future for Steve Rudzinski and Super Task Force One?Â Could enough support garner a sequel or follow-up of some kind?
I’ve got a laundry list of films that I need to do over the next couple years. That being side I could very much squeeze in sequels to Super Task Force One. I have an entire plot in my head for part 2 and story concepts for part 3. I’d LOVE to make this a trilogy. But I’d NEED to make money on this movie, there’s just such an up front cost for this project versus my horror films. If people like it, and enough people support it, there will absolutely be a sequel. And we’ll get more Enforcers showing up.
How can fans continue to support Super Task Force One leading up to its release?
Fans can Like and share the facebook page, www.facebook.com/SuperTaskForce . Just tell as many people as you can about the project and share the trailers!
When will the film be released, and on what medium can fans see it?
The film will be released in early September. It will be available for purchase on DVD, Blu-Ray, and I will submit the movie to be approved for Amazon Video on Demand.
Thanks for talking to us here at Henshin Justice Unlimited.Â Anything else you want to say to the readers?
I hope that this is a project your readers can enjoy and get behind. I hope they check it out and that they think I’m doing something cool here. I really want this to be a project that fans of Super Sentai, Power Rangers, and simply Toku will have a great time with. Thanks so much for having me!