As part of my movie watching for TGGeeks I’ve decided to take a look at movies for the LGBTQ community that have probably flown under most people’s radar, and this time the film I’m going to examine is Matt Carter’s spy parody Jayson Bend: Queen and Country.
Agent 009, also known as Bend, Jayson Bend (with a “Y”), serves the UK as part of the Royal Intelligence Ministry, also known as R.I.M., and he has been tasked to learn more about an unusual hair product that is benignly altering people’s DNA. He goes over to Switzerland and meets with an operative there named Alec DeCoque, and it is there he learns of the nefarious plans by an evil hair salon owner named Ray Perdood that will find people spending all of their time, and hard-earned money, getting their hair cut in his salons.
Immediately one can see some of the gay jokes that are at play here, but this film goes further than that, and the biggest example of that is evil salon owner Ray Perdood. Played by Paul Norton he does one of the best sendups of evil SPECTRE boss Blofeld. The only thing he is missing is a pet cat, but since Mike Meyers already used that gag playing Dr. Evil with his Austin Powers movies perhaps it was decided to forgo that particular cliché. Also, the nature of Perdood’s goal can best be described as outrageous. It doesn’t play on any gay tropes or jokes but rather stands on its own insane merit. There is also the man that invents many of the gadgets that Bend uses, and his codename is “G.” He doesn’t have much in the way of gay innuendos, but his send-up of “Q” by Desmond Llewelyn is quite entertaining, especially when he becomes frustrated with Bend’s antics. I would also be remiss if I did not mention this film’s brilliant opening credits. I can’t describe it except to say it looks and sounds right out of the classic Bond movies, but with a twist!
As for the rest of this film, it does an amazing job of taking the heterosexual clichés from past James Bond movies and turns them inside out. Bend is quite gay, and just as much as Bond was good with seducing the ladies, Bend is the same with the men. As for the organization R.I.M., the person running it is a woman with the codename “L,” and her secretary (in a delightful twist on the secretary Moneypenny) is a young man named DickyDollar, and he can’t help but cast loving glances at Bend. Then there is the henchwoman for Perdood, and her name is Katya Kokhov, and it’s implied that she’s transgendered. There is the aforementioned Alec DeCoque, who wasn’t exactly my favorite character in the movie. Played by Tom Read Wilson, he doesn’t bring much to the film except at the very end when he helps Bend complete his mission. The rest of the time he’s mildly irritating. Lastly, and in a joke that made me groan out loud, the scientist who is working for Perdood is an Asian named Dr. Tu Yung. Yep…
As for the film itself, the acting is acceptable for an independent gay parody of this nature. The star, Davis Brooks as Bend, does an admirable job at bringing that sense of a gay version of Roger Moore. He’s strikingly handsome and downplays the acting, which gives that same cool demeanor that Moore was so famous for when playing Bond. Of all the cast I found his acting to the best. The film also has some strong production values at times, meaning that it’s also slightly inconsistent in its quality. Some of the visuals are very strong while others appear to be sub-standard. Again, this can easily be overlooked given that this is an independent film. It also makes use of some good location footage in both the UK and Switzerland, which helps to sell the seriousness in its intent. As Mel Brooks once said, to make the best parody you have to be seriously faithful to the source, and then only veer off by the slightest bit.
Jayson Bend: Queen and Country is a short film (only 48 minutes long), but the pacing is excellent. Director Matt Carter did a wonderful job, and the story (written by Andrew Faure) gave a near-perfect attempt in showing that gay parodies do not necessarily have to rely 100% on gay clichés and tropes. It’s not up there with movies like Airplaneor Young Frankenstein, but for an independent short film, this is one of the best LGBTQ comedies I have seen.