Shot for a trumpeted $96 in its maker’s 220-square-foot apartment, Flooding with Love for the Kid is the ne plus ultra of feature-length DIY video production as well as an obsessed fan-auteur’s “one-man war,” as the opening title proclaims it. Director-producer-everything Zachary Oberzan plays all the roles in his remake of Sylvester Stallone’s 1982 Rambo rollout First Blood, apparently sticking much closer to David Morrell’s source novel (there’s a higher body count and a grimmer ending than in Sly’s hit), but the real drama lies in how Oberzan’s zeal spurred him to embrace his “limitations”; the ever-present reality of his pad’s prewar fixtures and kitchen appliances foregrounds his infectious obsession with staging a rogue vet vs. cops action thriller as home-movie homage. Oberzan the actor digs hungrily into playing the brothers-under-the-skin nemeses of Vietnam hero-turned-drifter Rambo and his determined small-town sheriff foe, along with assorted Kentucky police, a no-nonsense Green Beret mentor, and a team of bloodhounds, usually cross-cutting between his characters but neatly staging the sheriff’s rectal-cavity flashlight search of the antihero via the DV equivalent of double exposure.
Employing a basic library of sound effects, on-screen passages from the book, and thin fabric over the lens for night and woodland scenes, Oberzan is mostly successful in revitalizing the dime-store psychology and blood n’ guts of First Blood through storytelling as childlike play. When his naked, scarred Rambo busts loose from jail, he hightails it out of an undisguised New York one-bedroom’s door. The novelty of the fugitive and his National Guardsmen enemies engaging in a firefight from behind the cover of chairs and bookcases (adorned with tree branches) never wears completely thin, nor does the documentary element of touring the creator’s digs—he keeps his CDs in the old fireplace! The world of a Reagan-era pulp thriller is morphed into a goofy but gung-ho solo show, its backwoods river fitting snugly into a bathtub and police-band transmissions emanating from a toaster. In Flooding with Love for the Kid, intertextuality reigns anew.