Billed as fusing “Mother Teresa and Indiana Jones,” the three aging, crusty American men who comprise unique humanitarian-aid organization Knightsbridge Intl. make both inspirational and off-putting company in “Beyond the Call.” Docu by Adrian Belic, whose “Ghenghis Blues” was a small nonfiction sleeper hit, takes an uncomplicatedly admiring view of individuals whose high-road ideals and deeds may strike some as undercut by a self-appointed Robin Hood bravado. Nonetheless, subject and colorful personalities invite pubcast and modest theatrical exposure.
Belic traveled with Knightsbridge head honcho and former U.S. Army medic Ed Artis, cardiologist Jim Laws, and entrepeneur Walt Ratterman to Afghanistan right after 9/11,plus violent locales in the Phillippines and on the Thailand/Burma border, delivering medical, food, and civilian relief. Using their own money as well as donated funds, they avoid charity-organization bureaucracy by picking global hot spots so dangerous that standard humanitarian agencies have often already pulled out. There’s a certain thrill-junkie and contrarian aspect (particularly in Artis, who flies into rages at every setback) that the pic doesn’t address. Still, it’s impossible not to admire the protags’ can-do spirit. Tech aspects are OK.