“Lost Faith” (1992)
Studio: Wynkoop Productions
Starring: Joel D. Wynkoop, David Bardsley, David Lurry, Melisa Sanford
Directed by: Joel D. Wynkoop
Rated: Not Rated
Running Time: 90 min.
Synopsis: A man’s wife is kidnapped by a white slavery group and he has to fight to get her back.
Lost Faith is an action martial arts films that stars The King of the B-Movies, Joel D. Wynkoop. The film is shot on video and was made during a time where many independent filmmakers were starting to shoot on video instead of spending the money on film. In my opinion, film always looks the best, but this Super VHS look that was used in the late 80’s and throughout the 90’s has kind of a nostalgia feel to it now. It is a look that has captured that time of low budget independent filmmaking.
The film is about a martial arts expert, Steve Nekoda (Wynkoop) whose wife is kidnapped when she and a friend go to a modeling agency and the people running it turn out to be white slavery traders who trade women to sleazy filmmakers to put in their porno movies. Nekoda tries to get help from police, but they just don’t seem to care about the case. Nekoda takes the law into his own hands and tries to find his wife. Others watching Nekoda are trying to stop him from finding out the truth and the whereabouts of his wife and the other women kidnapped.
Lost Faith is the feature length film directorial debut for Joel Wynkoop. He also wrote, produced, choreographed the fight scenes, and pretty much did everything on the film with a little help from some friends. Wynkoop had acted in a few films for cult director Tim Ritter (Truth or Dare: A Critical Madness, Killing Spree) when he decided he wanted to make a movie on his own. Wynkoop wanted to make a martial arts action film in the tradition of Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris. He got the idea after doing a scene in Killing Spree where he did some martial arts and wanted to do a whole action film on a character that uses his hands for weapons instead of using guns. Production of the film was started in 1988, but wasn’t released until 1992, when Wnykoop did some re-shoots and added some new shots.
I see Lost Faith as a homage to action and martial arts films of the 70’s and 80’s and also a throwback to exploitation cinema. Also, the story and vibe of the film feels like a low budget episode of Miami Vice (since it was shot in South Florida). Wynkoop does a good job carrying the film and his scenes are very entertaining. Some of my favorites are when Wynkoop fights this gang and one of them has a bag of potato chips in his hand and Wynkoop kicks it right out of his hands and then knocks the guy out. That part reminded me of a scene in The Big Boss (Fists of Fury) when Bruce Lee has a bag of chips and starts fighting these guys and is still eating his chips as he kicks their ass. In the same fight scene Wynkoop beats up another member of the gang who is this fat lady who is talking trash and Wynkoop punches her out.
Some other highlights are a car chase where Wynkoop is chasing a guy who robbed his house. Another is the fight scene at the end where Wynkoop squares off against the lead villain, The Master (David Bardsley). There’s also a scene where Wynkoop gets pissed off while lifting weights and he throws the bar across the room, which was pretty crazy. Another funny scene in the movie is when Wynkoop steals a used car right in front of the used car salesman and this old lady. The old lady freaks out and the salesman starts yelling at her and calls her a stupid bitch. Also the music to the film is cool and sounds like music that would be on a Nintendo video game.
I have the say the scenes with Bardsley, as The Master, I didn’t much care for. They seem to slow the pace of the story down a bit. Bardsley played an okay bad guy, but his acting was bad. He did make you want to hate him, which of course is good when playing the lead villain. I also thought his sidekick, Barnes (David Lurry) was kind of annoying. I would rather see those scenes shortened and more stuff with Steve Nekoda. Since I couldn’t stand Bradsley who played The Master, I was happy at the end when Wynkoop fought him and was able to shut him up for good.
The film also has a religious message in it when the character of Nekoda loses his faith with God because nothing is going right in his life and his pastor tries to tell him to keep his faith in God and that God won’t let him down. Some other facts about the film are that Tim Ritter has a cameo as a security guard in one scene in the beginning and Ritter also helped out with the production as well. There is even a mention of the Copper Masked Killer from Truth or Dare when Nekoda is reading headlines from the newspaper. So, check out Lost Faith if you’re a big Joel D. Wynkoop fan or a fan of the martial arts genre. It is an early film of Wynkoop’s and one of his best.