Draven Reviews: Rubber Bang! By Sean Yang

approvedTitle: Rubber Bang
Artist: Sean Yang
Producers: Magic Soul
Retail Price: $29.95 USD
Learning Difficulty: Easy
Length of DVD:   2 Hours (aprox)
Notes: You’ll need some good rubber bands for these tricks.
Includes:
•    Instructional DVD
•    Small Package of Colored Rubber Bands

eatures:
•    Play All
•    Chapters
•    Subtitles

Playing cards have been the signature weapon of choice of the magician for many years.  Everywhere you perform from intimate close up settings, to smoke filled (or not so much so anymore these days) bars, to the crowded bustle of a city street you can always create powerful magical experiences with just a few pieces of pasteboard and some fancy moves.  Rubber bands have also been a standard tool of the trade too.  Now, with the material in Rubber Bang, rubber bands will have a whole new level of usefulness as you combine them with your card magic to create some pretty visual moments.

Rubber Bang is quite possibly one of the coolest video’s I’ve seen on incorporating rubber bands into your close up magic in a long time.  The material on this DVD is not only practical, but it packs a visual punch!  This is one of the few products that I was as excited to get as I was after I finished watching it the first time through.

You’ll have to pardon the video’s art direction because it tries so hard to be some kind of James Bond homage that it’s laughable.  Right down to the sexy female assistant in the tight fighting short dress who brings nothing more to the table than her sex appeal.  Rubber Bang is Chinese spoken dialog with English, and Japanese Subtitle options, and runs about two hours.

The teaching style on the DVD may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but speaking personally, I’m no stranger to reading subtitles.  A lot of the magic on the DVD requires the use of false shuffles and card control.  If you’ve already got a few methods you like doing then all you really have to do is just follow along with Sean’s hands and figure out how to set up the rubber band so the tricks work.

I would say that most of the tricks in this DVD are mostly self working but I feel that “self working” would be a bit of a misnomer.  Perhaps “automatic” would be a better word for it.  They all require you setting the deck up with the rubber band in such a way that when you release tension the springy quality of the rubber band cases the effect to take place.  The visual aspect of the magic is quite gratifying.  I found it just fun to play with over and over.

The problem I foresee anyone having with the effects in Rubber Bang is memorizing the exact process to each effect because if you don’t set the deck up in the right way, the results aren’t going to be what you’re looking for.  Fortunately though the DVD does a brilliant job at teaching because of how it is formatted.  You’ll see a live demonstration, a tutorial run through, and then there are focus sessions that slow things down to expand on sensitive issues you may have trouble with.  For a DVD with no spoken English, and only subtitles to work off of I found it fairly easy to get the effects to work.

Rubber Bang also comes with a small package of colored rubber bands so you can start learning the effects as soon as you get home.  Just open the DVD box, pop the disk into your player, grab a deck of cards, and follow along with the show.  The DVD teaches 9 tricks plus a shuffle and card control.  The nine tricks are:

Yang Gun: The spectators signed card is lost into a shuffled deck which is made to look like a gun.  The trigger is pulled and their card comes shooting out with enough force to knock over a an empty soda can.

G Spot: Pressing the invisible button on a rubber band wrapped deck of cards causes the spectator’s signed card to shoot out switch blade style.

Snap Shoot: Set the deck on the table, stretch a rubber band between your hands and let it snap against the deck apparently flicking only one card out in the process.  The spectator’s signed card.

Just Blow: A signed card is lost into the deck, and the deck shuffled.  A rubber band is placed around the deck.  By just blowing on the cards the rubber band jumps from around the deck to inside the deck wrapped around a single card- their signed card.

SeanWich: A rubber band is wrapped around a deck of cards.  With a flick it jumps off the deck taking a pair of jokers with it.  Between the jokers is the spectator’s signed card!

Sy Pyramid: The use of a rubber band, and some magic causes the deck to pop up into a pyramid.  The visible cards forming the three sides of the pyramid are three aces.  The fourth ace jumps out of the deck as soon as it pops.

SeanSwitch: A Four Ace assembly routine using two jokers.  The first ace is found sandwiched between the two jokers.  A rubber band is wrapped around them, another ace appears between them.  The rubber band is tightened and nothing appears to happen.  When you turn the jokers over they’ve changed into the other two aces!

Challenger: A multiphase four ace production.

Bang! Bang! Bang!: Another Four Ace Production.  The first ace is found much in the same was as in G Spot, the next two aces are revealed in a very visual snappy color change.  The last ace is made to appear on the bottom of the deck with just a tap of the other three aces.

Sy Change: This is a bonus effect included which doesn’t use any rubber bands.  A spectator’s signed card is put into your pocket.  The corner of an indifferent card is put into your mouth.  By wiping your hand over the card you cause it to visually change into the signed card, and the indifferent card has now switched places and is in your pocket.

I’ve fought with myself over this next note as to whether or not to include it in the review.  At length of contemplation I’m going to include it as a foot note.  I’m not sure if it’s just me but I couldn’t help but think how unnatural Sean looked during his live performances for the different moves.  Everything he did was so obviously telegraphed, from his double lifts, to his get readies.  I don’t think this really is a problem with the magic per-say as it’s a critique on the individual performer.

I found the magic in this DVD to be quite fun to perform and I can see a lot of card guys and gals getting some good use out of it.  This is the kind of material everyone just loves.  Magicians are going to love performing it, and your audiences will love seeing it time and time again.  This is the kind of stuff that people will say to you at parties “Remember that one thing you did with the cards and the rubber bands?  Can you show my friend that?”  This material will work for you.  I recommend you check it out!

When I give my product scores below I am measuring them on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 Being absolute the worst score possible, and 10 being the absolute best, making a score of five average. The four points that I grade upon is Product Quality, Teaching Quality, Sound & Video Quality and Overall Quality.

Product Quality: 8
The price is good, and the tricks are fun to do.  They are also the kind of thing you’ll get a lot of mileage out of.

Teaching Quality: 6
The tricks are all pretty easy to learn despite the DVD being subtitled but I personally found Sean’s “secret” moves to be anything but subtle.  He telegraphs what he is doing way too much for my personal taste.

Video & Sound Quality:
The sound and the video both had no issues that I could find.

Overall Quality:
The cheesy art direction and fun visual magic combine to make for a great DVD full of material that you’ll use every day.  I recommend you get Rubber Bang!

Have a product you want reviewed?  Want to see if it will stand up to the Draven Seal of Approval?  Contact me directly at draven@williamdraven.com to find out how your product could be on the next Draven Reviews!  Don’t forget to like my blog where all my reviews are posted at http://www.williamdraven.wordpress.com.

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About William Draven

William Draven is a professional magician and sideshow performer living in Los Angeles, California. Follow him on Twitter at WilliamDraven or on facebook at www.facebook.com/thewilliamdraven
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