Review by Jay Kay
Boxer is Written and Directed by Toy Lei
“Boxer” is a short but anything but a sweet tale by one of the truly remarkable woman filmmakers in Toy Lei”
The struggle of a mother and her child can be both dramatic storytelling and scary. How a child perceives their parents at a pre-teen age can be so impactful to their growth and development. A mother’s understanding, teaching and inner peace of mind takes you deep inside what all parents have to consider and what they would do for their child. For filmmaker, fight choreographer, martial artist and writer Toy Lei, it is the blanket that encases a story of realistic martial arts action, visual FX and a tale of a mother who must hold back the truth from her son as she comes to grips with her decision to not only protect him but make a living as a contract killer to survive in this well-rounded short.
Being recognised for numerous awards and screenings across the country as a part of film festivals, conventions and the larger than life ‘San Diego Comic-Con’. ‘Boxer’ is a short but anything but a sweet tale by one of the truly remarkable woman filmmakers in Toy Lei. Playing recently at the ‘Etheria Film Night’ in Los Angeles, California and the ‘Spin & Scream Horror Monthly’ in New Jersey, ‘Boxer’ connects to generations of people in all walks of life that have faced the inner challenge of being a parent. Why most don’t hire themselves out as a contract killer, the idea of what a parent would do creates drama that many viewers can find themselves connecting to as part of the overall ride completed over a 72-hour period.
An award winning entry into the ‘Filmlab 72 Hour Shootout’, the short film’s cinematography and coloring regulates the pace of the short using not only full shots that encompass the horror as well as the relationship but POV perspectives that with realism offer the fans some jolts. Writing, acting and directing shorts previously, you can see Lei mind planning as she finds a way to have something for everyone in “Boxer”. Whether it is precise violence and kills, bits of reflective humour, tension in the conflict, martial arts action or the sweeping score, Lei and her production team cultivate short filmmaking into an art.
These elements give unconditional insight and perspective into the mother/contract killer worlds allowing for a brief moment to know her struggle of not only blending and living a dual life but the price she may pay for her son on this tightrope. One thing I have noticed and know Lei wanted in this short film, was the reality of the situation and the action that is found in indie filmmaking on every level. This is seen in the garage fight scene, connection between the mother and son along with her monologue that makes you wonder what you would do and how the inner thoughts that we consider. Lei also echoed at the ‘Etheria Film Night’ panel discussion that it is more than just her but a team effort that brings together for compelling and impactful cinema. Like her character and the woman is she is, ‘Boxer’ is both unexpected and powerful as well as worth your time to see when it screens.