Thursday, January 8, 2015
Schlock and awe movie time!
Well when I think LARP I see this!
I vaguely remember a few years ago a film called Knights of Badassdom was being touted during Comicon coverage. Well then nothing came of it. Well low and behold what do I see on the Netflix, but this very movie. Well since it seemed to not get a theatrical it must have had a giant hiccup somewhere or just be bad.
I knew straight away I had to watch this!
Alright. Here we go!
Knights of Badassdom follows three buddies: Joe, Eric and Hung. Now they all live together and we get that they used to play D&D together. Now one guy moved on but the other two delved deeper and are now LARP’ers (for the few people outside the nerd world that is Live Action Role Playing where you act out role playing games instead of just playing them on the table). We see Joe get dumped and he is kidnapped by the other two and taken to some big LARP event. There he is coerced into playing along. Why? Well he sees a girl named Gwen and wants to get him some of that. Along the way Eric tries to level up his character by doing a ritual spell. However he just happens to be using a creepy old book he won on Ebay, that low an behold does what? Summons an actual demon. It gets better, see the demon takes the form of Joe’s previous girlfriend. Now the LARP’ers have to face down a creature from beyond with nothing but foam swords.
This was anything but bad ass. It was a damn horrible mess!
This movie does not know what it wants to be. I tries to be a comedy and fails at that. There is a vague attempt at drunk and stoner comedy that is a big fat fail. It tries to be horror and does a little better there. Then it tries to be comedic horror and fails again. Every genre it makes an attempt to be it just sucks at. The jokes are not even remotely funny. Not even a chuckle. They try for dry humor and miss. There are lowest common denominator jokes that are just terrible. They beat you over the head with RPG/fantasy zingers that are abysmal. The horror is just bad. Are we supposed to be scared of this demon or are we supposed to find comedy in the deaths of nerds? They try for both and just cannot get either right. What a damn mess!
I had more than one issue with this movie besides the premise. Why introduce so many characters and leave them under developed? How did a demon summoning tome get on Ebay? How does the LARP game master know how to read the ancient text? Are we supposed to know or care about the author of the ancient Ebay text? They throw his name out there like we should. If Joe and Hung take this so seriously then why the need to eat a bag of ‘shrooms? Why do paintball players and LARP people hate each other so much? When the paintballers are cops, and the cops see people dying why not do something like make an effort to help? Instead they become horrible redneck stereo-types. Are we supposed to know or care about the two opposing LARPing armies? They spend enough time showing them that we are supposed to like one faction over another right? When the demon starts laying waste to people why don’t they just leave? Seriously? I know this is a movie, but after the monster kills a half dozen people why do the LARP nerds stay? Why not run the hell away since you have damn foam weapons? Joe really isn’t bothered by the likeness of his one true love that just wrecked him killing handfuls of people. Shouldn’t that unnerve him a bit? Why does a demon get summoned by saying words, but can only be stopped by singing Doom Metal? Why are there constant horribly unfunny announcements being given at all hours? The coda at the end is just the final bit of bad in an already terrible movie.
They have a descent cast with Steve Zahn, Peter Dinklage, Summer Glau, Jason Stackhouse from True Blood, that Abed guy from Community and Liam McPoyle. All of them have done damn descent character work. Here they are all uninspired and very damn wooden. Were they told to do that or did they just phone it in for a paycheck? There wasn’t a single character that was worth a damn. I didn’t care for any of them and as the movie ran I was hoping they would all just die!
The blood was plentiful, but was it supposed to be funny or serious? They did a poor job conveying both. The rubber suit giant demon was fun, but mostly for the nostalgia factor. It might have been the only part of this movie I found comical. It looked like a reject from any Power Ranger, Guyver or various karate Japanese import. You just don’t see a lot of that these days. The other effects were poor, not SyFy original poor, but damn close.
There is an attempt to make fun, but not make fun of this type of gaming. Sadly, it was done much better in Role Models and was just one of the stories being told. Seriously, go watch that if you want a funny take on the LARP community that ruin the LARP community. That or watch the documentary Darkon. Either one of those cover the LARP stuff much better than here.
When you try and mix real life and then throw in crazy fantasy/ horror it can work. Look at Dusk Till Dawn, Army of Darkness/ Evil Dead, hell even Galaxy Quest. Knights of Badassdom is anything but that.