Quasi-spy – Ashens and the Polybius Heist (Film Review)

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Following up from the success of his 2013 film Ashens and the Quest for the GameChild Stuart Ashen and frequent collaborator Riyad Barmania are back with a direct sequel; Ashens and the Polybius Heist. Although Ashens is more on the niche side of the YouTube sphere he has garnered a large following of loving fans, one that has grown substantially over the years between the release of his first and latest feature, with GameChild’s Indiegogo campaign contributing $73,690 of its $180,000 budget and Polybius Heist earning $195,000 through its own campaign on the same site.

The film follows Stuart Ashen now working as a quasi-spy working for the Ashens Collection Agency (a name which sets up a hilarious running joke throughout the movie) in order to return collectible tat to its rightful home. Polybius Heist opens with the titular character on his latest mission: retrieving a rare-collectible bootleg from an undisclosed location in Norwich, UK. The opening pays tribute to almost any cat-burglar scene ever put to film but more noticeably akin to the likes of Johnny English through its use of comedy. Soon after the opening sequence, the film leads into Bond-esque titles which may very well be the shining moment of the entire movie; Well animated with a slew of references to the likes of Indiana Jones, the Italian Job, Mission Impossible, and the Bond movies among others and a fun parody of Chris Cornell’s You Know My Name by fellow YouTuber The Gaming Muso (it’s no A Man for All Seasons by Robbie Williams, but fun nonetheless).

Although Polybius Heist shows that the experience gained in the time between its release and GameChild’s was used well, as was the budget, the film does not always manage to reach the potential that the opening sets out for the film and most of this is due to what the title sequence presents itself as to the audience; A spoof. Yet Ashens and the Polybius Heist rarely enters the realm of spoof. More a comedy-heist film that makes use of the tropes rather than actively poking fun at them. In spite of this the film makes the most of its originality, combining both American and British humour in order to create an enjoyable film, which the viewer will no doubt have an incredibly fun time watching the latest outing from Ashens and his misfit crew of fellow YouTubers.

Dir: Riyad Barmania

Scr: Stuart Ashen & Riyad Barmania

Cast: Stuart Ashen, Daniel Hardcastle, Robert Llwellyn, Katia, Kvinge.

Prd: Stuart Ashen, Riyad Barmania, Alessio Bergamo, Linton Davies, Mark Evans, Chris Pettit, Yiannis Vassilakis.

DoP: Christian Mario Lohr

Country: UK

Year: 2020

Runtime: 99 mins

Ashens and the Polybius Heist is available on Digital now

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Mark Carnochan

Mark Carnochan is a Film & Media student living in Edinburgh, struggling with the day-to-day mispronunciations of his second name… Occasionally he writes reviews.

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