While still a relatively new medium, the world of online original video content continues to evolve everyday. Narrative web series are growing in prominence and popularity, giving actors, writers, and directors new opportunities to tell interesting stories. One company leading this charge is Machinima, which has been behind some of the web's biggest hits, including the popular Mortal Kombat: Legacy series from Kevin Tancharoen.
Today, Machinima released its latest online series, Chop Shop. The six-episode series, developed in collaboration with Paramount's micro-budget division Insurge Pictures, follows an ex-car thief named Porter (John Bregar) who is pulled back into a life of crime by his former partners.
Chop Shop's strong creative team begins with its production company Bandito Brothers, which was responsible for the surprise action hit Act of Valor. Elliott Lester (Blitz) directed the series based on scripts from writers Josh Baizer and Marshall Johnson (Mortal Kombat: Legacy).
It's easy to see why Machinima would find interest developing a series like Chop Shop. Car-themed movies like the Fast and Furious franchise continue to outperform at the box office, and their success is driven mainly by young men (who also happen to be Machinima's core demographic). Even the critically panned Need for Speed (which, coincidentally, was also produced by Bandito Brothers) ended up doing more than $200 million at the box office thanks to a big international gross.
The question is, will audiences click with a smaller scale story that's parceled out over six 20-minute episodes? So far, the answer seems to be yes. Responses to the pilot episode, which you can watch at the top of the article, have been fairly positive. Though the premise isn't all that original, the casting is solid and the action is well done. The inclusion of fan-favorite Robert Patrick, aka the T-1000 in Terminator 2, in a minor role doesn't hurt either.
Chop Shop looks like it could be another success for Machinima, which continues to drive the online video industry forward by proving that YouTube is a viable marketplace for original, high production value content. If you're a fan of car-themed crime thrillers (or at least seeing cool cars like the Ferrari Spyder 355 and Lamborghini Diablo), check it out on Machinima Prime.