Fallout: Lanius Fan Film Released, Impresses

At long last, a story we’ve been following since April 2012 has reached its conclusion. The fan film Fallout: Lanius was released two weeks ago and exceeded 100,000 views on its YouTube launch day. A successful Kickstarter campaign raised $19,000 to fund the film, which features original actor Mitch Lewis reprising his voice-over role as Lanius, who is portrayed by strongman Johnny Domino.

You can watch the full 19 minute video here, but we recommend watching it in YouTube’s Large Player to enjoy a larger resolution without any artifacting:

Fallout: Lanius may not completely escape the trappings of a fan film, but it does a great job of at least looking like a B-movie most of the time. An origin story for Fallout: New Vegas’ Legate Lanius, the film’s plot reveals how a fearsome warrior from the Hidebarks tribe wound up as Caesar’s Legion Commander.

Some of the fight sequences feel reminiscent of the movie 300 — perhaps my all-time favorite action film — but on the whole, they lack a certain intensity. With some exceptions, the impacts are without oomph, and Domino doesn’t quite have the conviction to make me believe his life-or-death struggle.

That said, the cinematography largely hides the fact that this is a low-budget fan film. There are scenes that actually feel like they are from a TV series — some, even from a Hollywood movie. The makeup is well-executed, the sets are believable, and what acting chops Domino may lack, the female actresses (Caris Eves, Leoni Leaver) more than make up for during the dramatic sequences. Even the child actors (Liam Forde, Loukia Clemeno) manage to not only be convincing, but also convey the appropriate sense of drama — and to my understanding, child actors are notorious for not taking direction well and for just coming across as, well, annoying.

Lewis’ voice acting is terrific and helps anchor the film in canon, granting a degree of unofficial authorization that most fan films can only hope for. The special effects, as well as the overall production quality, are all pretty good — at least on par with, if not a step above the quality of a Syfy original film.

Strangely, given my inclinations, what I found most enjoyable were not the action scenes, but the dramatic sequences. The Darth Vader-esque scene in which Lanius the man becomes Lanius the icon by donning his armor gave me chills. Fallout: Lanius ends with a powerful final image reminiscent of Schwarzenegger sitting on the throne at the end of Conan the Barbarian, intentionally or unintentionally paying homage to the pulp action hero that I’m certain so many gamers and game developers hold dear.

For a fan film, the results are impressive. Sure, some of the props look like props, and the acting isn’t Hollywood-caliber, but the film is nonetheless enjoyable to watch. I can only imagine what director Wade K. Savage could have accomplished given a bigger budget.

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