AFF Review: Murt Ramirez Wants to Kick My Ass

By Laurie Coker

Rating: C+

Murt Ramirez Wants to Kick My Ass – a title that evokes one clear image – bullying! At least that is what came to mind for me. I took my grandson (age eight) to see this Indy film directed and written by Dan Lee and he enjoyed it. I had opportunity to sit down with Lee and a couple of kids from the cast and for me that proved far more engrossing then the film itself. Truthfully, I am not the target audience and since my grandson liked it, I’d say the film hits is mark.

We meet twelve-year-old Billy McConnell (John D’Leo) who somehow manages to get the most psychotic bully in all of Brooklyn, Murt Ramirez (Armani Del Rio), expelled. Soon after, Billy, slight for his age, goes to his locker where he finds a ketchup-scrawled note stating “Three O’clock!,” sending quakes down his spine. He and his oddball band of buddies, Zach (Dario Barosso) and Hoarder (Benjamin Kordick) try to figure out a way to save Billy from certain annihilation.  Since it is middle school, being beaten to death by a bully is not Billy’s only worry, there is, of course a girl, Jenny (Jordyn DiNatale), who stands a foot taller, and makes Billy’s heart leap.

Basically, from the appearance of the not-so-cryptic message on, we watch all the outrageous antics Billy goes through trying avoid his deadly destiny. And while my young guest giggled throughout, I got bored and thought the characters to be far too cartoonish, especially the over acting, from the film’s young, extremely unseasoned cast. Still the film does have it funny moments and D’Leo is talented. In fact, he is the best thing about the movie – I could see him playing Jeff from the Wimpy Kid series with ease. DiNatale, too, shows promise. Barosso and Del Rio go far over the edge in their characterizations – to the point of annoyance. My grandson, however, loved that about them.

It was good meeting Lee and speaking to the cast. We all have to start somewhere and DiNatale and Del Rio both show passion and are on the right track. Lee’s effort to bring humor to a serious situation of bullying comes from the heart, as he lived an experience much like that of Billy. I think he nails it for his intended demographic and that it will play well to tweens and young teens. I am placing a C in my grade book. Case (my grandson) had a great time and understood the underlying seriousness of the film and that says a great deal.




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