Film Fare...with Mark Moorehead
Capture the Flag

In his new film Capture the Flag, Kyrene Corridor filmmaker Zach Yoshioka once again illustrates that he’s a young man on a seemingly non-stop roller-coaster ride to success.

The film played to a full house of mostly young and enthusiastic Yoshioka fans, as well as the members of several area bands who appeared in music videos preceding the feature attraction.

Capture the Flag tells the story of a high school-age boy from a broken family living with his father, a police officer and alcoholic. The young man is not making the grades in class or on the football field.

Dad’s an overbearing prima donna, and his ranting sends his kid into the arms of a beautiful young girl and local gang member. Predictably, the gang adopts him and becomes his new family. Like a suburban mall version of West Side Story, the gang convinces the new recruit to join them fighting a rival gang and trashing a local business.

Later, one of the gang’s leaders ups the ante on the “let’s-really-be-bad scale” and kidnaps the young recruit’s father in order to test the boy’s loyalty to his newfound gang friends

Although it’s a familiar story, it’s not a bad one. Unfortunately, a few key players in the film drop the ball in the believability department. The good boy from the broken home is just that: too good to become a bat-wielding vandal at the drop of a hat. 

His conversion to the dark side is too quick to be believed, and the bad cop’s perpetual meanness is so exaggerated and self-conscious he becomes a virtual caricature.

In the end, it’s difficult for the audience to believe this kid would display anything but indifference for his maniacal dad.                     

Lucky for us, Capture the Flag included solid performances by the two rival gang leaders, proving once again there are quality actors in small independent films. Their range and confidence provided the needed tension to capture the audience and make us care.

Clear-sounding dialog was once a problem for director Yoshioka. He remedied that in this film by using wireless microphones on his actors. Despite some grainy film footage and a few mumbled lines delivered carelessly, the movie overall was impressive, considering the budget and resources available.  

Director Yoshioka successfully employed the same film techniques and devices he used in his music videos for the feature film including music. The result is a more sophisticated look and feel. Also, the selection and variety of location shots reflect a serious effort to “get it right.” 

Scenes of the video-store trashing and a confrontation on top of a parking structure in downtown Phoenix between the principals in the film were well-executed evidence that Yoshioka’s abilities as a director continue to evolve.

Capture the Flag is Yoshioka’s 14th film to date. That’s not bad for a 23-year-old director. Yoshioka admits he only breaks even making feature films; for income, he and his company, Ballistic Entertainment, produce music videos.

“Music videos are where all the money is. The movies are like our art, and music videos are like our business.”

As to the videos unveiled prior to the start of Capture the Flag, each was about five minutes long but seemed twice that due to the expert film quality and editing skills of Yoshioka and company.

The videos featured area bands Kottonmouth Kings, Story of the Year, Authority Zero and Haffo, each film emerging as a highly condensed short, capturing the sound and fury of a band electrifying its audience from every conceivable camera angle, split-screen and slow-motion move.

What you see and hear in these productions, though, is Hollywood quality with crisp, penetrating sound and crystal-clear images that jump out at you or rave into the concert audience.

It’s these productions, as Yoshioka suggests, that’s keeping the dollars flowing for his work as an independent filmmaker.

And it seems to be working. Yoshioka has contracts to produce a slew of music videos this year, including a celebrity golf tournament with Sugar Ray and bands Penny Wise and Bad Religion in San Diego. 

I asked Yoshioka if he planned to move Ballistic Entertainment to Los Angeles to continue his film career.

“The record labels fly us all across the country to do shoots.  They pay all our expenses. There is really is no purpose in living somewhere where the cost of living is twice as expensive.”

Spoken like the true Tempean (and Corona del Sol High School graduate) he is, this young artist has a great future as his work continues to enrich our community and the video music world.

Pecan Grove Estates resident Mark Moorehead writes regularly for Wrangler News.