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'Loss Prevention'
(Vernon Wells, Abisha Uhl, Al Snow, Lauren Virginia Albert, et al / R / 2018 / Thoughtfly LLC.)

Overview: When an old-school bar owner and his unruly daughter get caught up in a cat-and-mouse game of corporate espionage, it will take brains, brawn and help from the lesser of two evils to make it out alive.

DVD Verdict: The thing I like most about this movie is that it doesn't take itself too seriously and yet, at the same time, it knows where the line is drawn for attention-grabbing drama.

What I mean by that is 'Loss Prevention' not only acts like it's one, long community service advert for the in's and out's of the Corporate world, but the story that it tells within is one of genuine interest and excitement.

An independent film, with basically unknown actors, and yet with a massive heart pounding out of its creative chest to tell an interesting, and obviously well researched story, it opens with a young bartender Nik (Abisha Uhl) flailing like a fish out of water at a corporate interview.

Trying to make something more of her life, she storms out of the unsuccessful meeting and is back behind her dad's (Al Snow) local hole in the wall bar (the Soggy Weasel) soon thereafter.

But, as always in this genre of movie, things don't pan out for her (or others) well there either for soon enough the bodies are dropping and the search is on for a mysterious USB.

She thought her life was dull, going nowhere, but trust me when I say that Nik's life, and her trouble's, just got a hell of a lot more complicated!

It seems that someone at the very same company that Nik had her failed interview at is stealing the secret formula for ... now, hang on one darn tootin' minute here!

No, I'm not going to tell you what that formula that everyone is trying to kill for is, but believe me when I tell you that once you find out, you will shake your head and wonder just why they would have an in-house team of killers such as these hunting such a thing down in the first place!

That said, this wondrous formula that will revolutionize the world as we know it is just, as we discover late in the film, a stepping stone to not only freedom, but yet another secret creation (albeit one I'm sure has already been created in life and is also currently being used behind our backs!)

Moving on and after all kinds of mayhem breaks loose at the Soggy Weasel, suddenly the action is taken on the road as Nik is aided by a diminutive hit girl (from a rival corporation; the one trying to buy the USB's secret) with a heart (and a conscience) named Brooke (Shields, I kid you not, played with great darkly comedic timing by Lauren Albert).

With the aforementioned mayhem having been caused by the scene-chewing resonance of lead bad guy Boland (John Wells), it's his always-on personality that makes this film as good as it is.

In fact, between his sharp-witted, and at times insightfully caustic comments and reveals, and Brooke's gung-ho, can dodge any bullet, free spirited verbal and fleet of foot style, these two should have their own show!

So, with the basic, underlying premise of What if two rival corporations want the one formula that could make them trillions decided to abandon all thought of ethics (let alone any legality concerns) and do whatever it took to bring the bacon home to papa? strewn throughout, let the games begin!

Oh, and for the record, that "papa" is actually Vernon Wells as CEO Reginald Bachman, better known for his role as Bennett in Schwarzengger's 'Commando.' (One of my favorite ever films!)

Chock full of continuous action scene tracking shots - which must be down to co-director / Screenplay / Director of Photography, Brian Cunningham, as they are really good and, for the most part, seamless - 'Loss Prevention' admittedly doesn't reinvent the wheel of cheesily delivered lines (both verbally or facially), but what it does do is deliver an interesting, and thought-provoking spin on a worn tale.

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Talking with the man behind 'Loss Prevention,' co-writer, co-producer and co-ThoughtFly mastermind Brian Cunningham, in our exclusive interview, I first asked him why he named the bar at the heart of the action the Soggy Weasel?! "When Matt and I first started ThoughtFly, we worked on a movie called 'Bad Blood: Hatfields and McCoys'."

"That movie was had a troupe of Civil War reenactors for a battle scene, and we went out to a farm owned by one of those guys to shoot. On site he had this tiny shack of a bar, all period accurate to the 1850s, and he called it the Soggy Weasel."

"We had more than a couple shots of whiskey at that bar, and when it came time to name the bar for 'Loss Prevention' we wanted to pay homage to that place. It just seemed like the perfect name for a bar Murphy would own."

Where did the idea to make it about corporate espionage first originate? "The movie didn’t start that way. We did a full 3 drafts of the script, and it was a movie about a standoff between bar patrons and a corrupt sheriff in a small town. At some point, Matt and Nic and myself were trying to work out the kinks, and we all just looked at each other and said “Do you like this movie?”"

"Turns out we all secretly weren’t that thrilled with what we’d done, so we decided to start over, throwing out almost the entire plot and keeping only our favorite bits and characters."

"It was in that session, throwing out the most insane ideas we could think of, that one of us said “maybe it’s an evil corporation instead of a sheriff,” and someone else threw out “and maybe they are super corporate and have to call HR to get backup"."

"From there we just spitballed a bunch of ideas and really formed the whole thing into a tongue-in-cheek satire. That kind of silliness and fun was missing from the original script, so we just rolled with the things that made us laugh."

And, not to give anything away to those that have yet to see it, why make the much sought after secret on the USB the specific item you chose ... instead of something, well, more globally dangerous? "That idea was born out of the old “what are these guys after” question. We just needed a MacGuffin, and it didn’t matter what it was."

"So the idea got thrown out that since we were making so many jokes about the amorality and lame-ness of corporate America, what if we make it something really boring? My girlfriend at the time had a stEpfather who had retired as a chemist from a major company, so he was always telling us about the drama of designing the best, most effective feminine hygiene product in the '80s."

"It shocked me how much time and effort and money and stress went into these everyday products. In the end, the MacGuffin we settled on seemed so silly but so plausible, it made us all laugh. So we kept it."

In a couple of scenes, bullets fly from all sides and nobody seems to get shot! It's a common occurrence in such movies, so obviously being aware of that going in, did you try to shoot those scenes differently, perhaps? "We just kind of embraced the ridiculousness of the entire situation. The movie is pure fantasy, so of course the shoot outs are over-the-top. We never once thought about making things realistic—it was always about what is most entertaining and complements the “over-the-top” comedy of everything that is happening."

"So we built the action sequences around what would be fun/funny and visually interesting (like the little strange ballet dance the two leads do as Nik is firing wildly and Brooke is taking out her enemies with superhuman precision)."

"This is the kind of movie where you KNOW the good guys win and the bad guys lose, so creating a sense of suspense or reality seemed a little disingenuous."

R&P Industries are the bad guys here, but why choose those exact initials? "The two Companies are PNR (don’t think we ever defined what those initials are), and R&P (Rappaport and Pragotto)."

"The joke, of course, is that both companies are almost identical, plus the fun of having the “bad” one be almost a homonym of RIP."

A lot (and I mean a lot) of corporate speak flows from the lead bad guy's mouth throughout the movie, so you must have done an immense amount of homework for the film, correct? "Honestly, we didn’t have to do much research."

"Matt and I run a production company and I am kind of the business/financial side of that, so I’m used to being in meetings where “ROI” and other buzz words are thrown around with reckless abandon."

"I also know a little bit about financial investing and the terms associated with that, so I can do a good impression of a "company man." It was a really great opportunity for me to blow off steam and make fun of this corporate culture that I couldn’t quite get away from, even as a filmmaker."

I loved the continuous tracking shots when the fight scenes were taking place. Were these always in your mind to do as such, or did the fact the actors learnt it and hit their marks each time convince you to keep the camera moving and rolling? "Most of these shots were designed from the outset by Matt and myself. We worked with a great choreographer, Dale Miller, so we would actually show him the camera moves, and he would adjust the fighting/shooting gags to complement the moves."

"It was really collaborative. My one regret is that we had almost zero time to do these sequences, so I know Dale was stressed and felt limited in what he could do. He did an amazing job, though, and I’m happy with what we were able to get on our insane schedule."

The reveal of the secondary "secret app" is also interesting, but I feel we live in a world where that already actually exists re: our beloved Government! So, and not giving anything away here either, was that based on already-known knowledge, perhaps? "We actually wrote the movie back in 2014 and shot it in 2015. Back then we were all still a little naive."

If you think about it, these data breaches and revelations about spying and technology are fairly recent, so I think maybe that is one of the things that slightly dates the movie."

Still, I always justified that the thing that is “new” about that app is its ability to control things instantly using a cell phone — there is no need for pre-planning or some hacker working code. Even an idiot like Boland can figure it out!"

In the end, it’s a plot device that lets Nik come into her own and prove herself, so that’s what’s important. But if you watch the movie, there are a lot of small pieces of info about who has what contracts and what each company’s focus is on, so I feel like it makes enough sense to keep the plot moving forward."

The background music was perfect throughout so who performs it and why were they chosen? "Most of what you hear is Joe Stockton’s AMAZING score. He even wrote a bunch of the songs that play in the background at the bar. Anything that has vocals, though, is a song we licensed from sonaBLAST! Records."

"We are lucky enough to have a bunch of bands like GRLwood and Brenda on the soundtrack, and that is something a lot of small movies like ours don’t have. We owe that to sonaBLAST!"

Can you highlight a scene where everything went unexpectedly perfectly and you couldn't be prouder? "Impossible! This never happens. I personally really like the corporate speak scenes between Al and John, plus I love how the “accidental death” in the bathroom turned out."

OK, what about a scene where filming it everything went unexpectedly disastrously and you nearly didn't get it! "Everything in the last act of the movie? We were shooting everything that took place at R&P headquarters in a building in downtown Louisville at night."

"We were only able to get the location because the current owners had sold the building and had kind of "checked out” of their management role until the new owners took over."

"We had two nights to shoot EVERYTHING there, including the reception area intro, the battle between the two companies, the stuff with the elevator, the fight between Lauren and John, the boardroom scene with Vernon, and the final scene which involved Al’s 2-minute monologue tracking shot."

"The first night of shooting, we had the coldest day in 3 years and a snowstorm, so there was a travel warning that nobody should leave their houses. And we needed 40 extras plus the cast and crew to show up and shoot all night. It slowed everything down."

"The second night of shooting, we were interrupted by someone banging on the locked glass doors to the building. Turns out someone had been stabbed in the street and was trying to get help."

"We were shooting the boardroom scene where John interrogates Al, and I remember everyone just ran out of the room to figure out what was happening. Half the crew was trying to get in touch with the police and get the building security to access security cam footage, and the other half of the crew was frantically putting away the fake machine guns so the cops didn’t freak out when they showed up!

"In the end, it was Al and John alone with myself and Matt, the boom operator, in the room. I looked at everyone and said “we have an hour to get 4 pages of dialogue. Go.” And thank God for John Wells who did that ridiculous monologue flawlessly and saved our day. We maybe got 2 takes of that, but you’d never guess in the finished movie."

"The whole movie was a bear to shoot. We tried to shoot the whole thing in 9 days, but that snow storm made it impossible to get our exteriors. In the end we had to fly our actors back in for an additional 3 days of shooting, re-locking all the locations we needed and getting pickup shots."

"It was a brutal schedule for an action movie, but Nic, our producer, managed to hold the whole thing together and get it done."

How much more was shot that didn't make it into the film - and why (didn't it make it in)? "Honestly not much. There are a couple of scenes in the bar that we cut for time and flow, but the narrative is so direct and streamlined that there wasn’t too much fat to be cut in the second and third acts of the movie."

Nik wears a Soggy Beaver tshirt the entire time so how many did you have made and did the cast get to keep them? "We made I think 10 or 15? We didn’t formally give them away, but I noticed that by the end of shooting they had all walked away from set. I held on to one, myself."

Not to start a global social media backlash of an uprising here, but why choose to make the three leading females all lesbians and/or bisexuals? Or, was the nod to the "Soggy Beaver" always a clue, perhaps?! "We had worked with Abisha on a lesbian web series, and we just fell in love with her comedic timing and her screen persona. The original nugget of an idea for the movie was “wouldn’t it be funny for Abisha and Al to bicker with each other in a movie?”"

"So we cast her as Al Snow’s daughter and wanted her to bring that sensibility. We also knew we needed a love interest and it seemed silly to try and make Abisha play straight, so we just made the love interest/badass assassin a woman."

"Honestly, it was never really a “thing” for us, it just felt right for the characters we had and the story we were telling. The “Soggy Weasel” name for the bar was in the script long before we made the switch to making it a corporate espionage movie and casting Abisha in the lead."

Was 'Loss Prevention' always to be the title? If not, what else was close to being chosen? "We actually wrote a number of drafts as “The Soggy Weasel.” When we added in all the corporate speak, though, we thought it would be funny to make the title fit in with that. It’s a little bit of a tongue-in-cheek joke that makes sense once you see the movie."

Finally, if you had to sum up this film in just 5 words (to sell it to someone who had never seen it), what would they be? "Don’t f*** with corporate America!"

"I Quit" - Exclusive Clip

"Try Not To Get Shot" - Exclusive Clip