Tuesday, May 6, 2014

A-LARPing We Will Go!


The first time I experienced LARPing (Live Action Role Playing, for those who don't know), I was out on a walk in Salt Lake City.  I saw a mad throng of people trying beat the bejeezus outta each other.  I never got close enough to see that they were using padded sticks.  Since then, LARPing has showed up on episodes of Supernatural and it played a huge role in the story of the Paul Rudd/Sean William Scott flick Role Models.  But, while LARPing has a higher profile than ever nowadays, it still seems like the kind of cult sensation that appeals to a select audience.  Knights of Badassdom is kinda the cinematic equivalent of LARPing.

Knights of Badassdom isn't just like LARPing because it's about LARPers.  It's the kind of movie that if you're into it and dig this kind of silly b-movie, you'll love it.  If you're don't, you'll spend an hour-and-a-half wonder why the hell this is so funny.

Here's the story: When Joe (Ryan Kwanten) gets dumped by his girlfriend, his buddies Hung (Peter Dinklage) and Eric (Steve Zahn) decide to cheer him up by dragging him on a LARPing excursion.  On the outing, the boys meet up with gamemaster Ronnie Kwok (Jimmi "Liam McPoyle" Simpson), the super hot and completely badass Gwen (Summer Glau) and her cousin Gunther.  The gang accidentally summon a succubus who looks exactly like Joe's ex, and soon, the blood is spilling.  The gang have to find away to put the demon down and save the day.

Knights of Badassdom is the kind of bloody, gorey comic romp that some folks can't quite figure out.  Should they laugh?  Should they throw up?  Should they do both?  It's a bit like Tucker and Dale vs. Evil in the way it combines gore and laughs.  But, I'll be honest.  I laughed.  I laughed a lot.  Sure the acting's bad and it's not well-written and the visuals are low-rent and cheesy.  But it's also extremely fun.  Movies like this are pure wish fulfillment, like you can imagine the filmmakers sitting around going "You know what would be cool?" and totally geeking out.  You don't get the feeling that studio execs were jacking around with the story to make it appeal to a wider audience.  I love that.

Knights of Badassdom isn't gonna change your life.  It's not a piece of art.  There's a good chance you won't even like it.  But if you like silly, funny movies about nerd life (and these characters feel like proper nerds.  Bravo!) this movie could put a smile on yourself.

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