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THE FP
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Reviewed by: Pat Torfe

Directed by: Brandon & Jason Trost

Starring:
Jason Trost
Lee Valmassy
Nick Principe
Caitlyn Folley

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about

In a near dystopian future, two rival gangs battle for control of Frazier Park, also known as The FP. The battles revolve around competitions in the dance-fight video game "Beat-Beat Revelation." When gang leader BTRO is slain by rival gang leader L Dubba E, BTRO's younger brother JTRO gives up BBR battling, allowing The FP to fall into ruin. One year later, JTRO returns in an attempt to restore order and to avenge his brother.

Is it good movie?

*Sigh*

When I first read the synopsis for this film, I really couldn't take what I was reading seriously. A film centred around gangs dueling to the death on "Dance-Dance Revolution"? But hey, perhaps this film would surprise in spite of its goofy premise and that it's all a tongue-in-cheek romp? Uh, no. To put it bluntly, this was all a one-note concept (or in this case, a film based on a 2007 short by this film's directors) that was stretched way too far.

As I said, the concept for this film sounds like it could be a send-up of sorts to those oh-so-serious sporting films that require you to fully invest in what the protagonists are doing, despite things really being "just a game". Here, the idea of thugs battling it out by seeing who can outdance the other at DDR is ludicrous, but could've made for over-the-top fun if done correctly. Problem is, the film ends up countering the ludicrous idea with even more ludicrous comedy that is desperate to garner laughs.

Case in point: the dialogue, which is either supposed to be funny or indicative of the gang culture. Either way, it fails at both counts. The script tries too hard to make you laugh through the constant stream of expletives (which would be funny if you were 12), and the fictional street slang will tax your brain for no reason other than to figure out that what was said was meant to be a joke. Also, despite what the Trost brothers would have you believe, I seriously doubt that people who are supposed to have "street cred" talk and act like J-Roc from The Trailer Park Boys. Throw in even more unfunny sexism (women are called "bitches", smacked around by guys and forced to hand out blowjobs like they were candy), a redefinition of the word "nigga", and you have the Trost brother's equivalent to the Wayans brothers.

While I haven't seen the original short, I'm sure that the concept for THE FP would better fit in a 13-minute film rather than an 82-minute film shot on $1 million. Whether it's the cliché story or the teeth-grinding dialogue, there are no laughs to be had and no real entertainment to speak of with this film. There was potential in it being a cute send-up to the serious sports movies involving teams trying to overcome the odds, but THE FP just has a bunch of guys you'd see going to bars to try and pick up women and getting their asses handed to them.

Video / Audio

Video: Being shot digitally, the great quality of the video betrays the low budget that the crew had to work with. Presented in 1080p AVC-encoded 2.35:1, there's some great detail in the transfer, despite the film intending to look gritty. The scenes within the club do take hits when it comes to colour banding and a bit of softness, but overall this is a good transfer.

Audio: The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is the standout, featuring the pulsating beats and blasting music that you would find in a club that you'd have to yell over in order to talk to the person next to you. Luckily, it's not overpowering and you can hear the dialogue in the centre channel. A great aural experience, for sure.

The Extras

Right away, Image and Drafthouse Films appear to be going the Criterion route and giving their releases unique transluscent cases and stamping this release as Number 2. Insert your own joke. Also, we get reversible cover art in the form of a stylized poster.

First up is an audio commentary with directors Brandon and Jason Trost. Right away I have to say that someone forgot to turn the volume up on this track or have told Brandon to sit up, since at times you can barely hear him talking. Then again, at the beginning of the commentary, Jason jokingly says that anyone who doesn't like this film can blame his brother (right...). Anyways, the track is pretty laid-back, with the brothers casually chatting about whatever's onscreen. There's a little bit of information to glean, but it's still overall low-key.

Never Ignorant Getting Goals Accomplished: The Making of The FP is your half hour making-of that's been split into a series of three featurettes with a Play All option. Topics include "The Making of The FP," "Costume Designing The FP: Interview with Sarah Trost," and "Scoring in The FP: Interview with Composer George Holcroft". These docs are short, but highlight the crew's enthusiasm while working on a low budget film, the overall experience of making the movie, and are overall pretty informative.

The FP in The FP: A Return to Frazier Park has the Trost Brothers screening the film in the very real Fraizer Park at Frazier Park's Fiesta Days celebration. A short Q&A follows.

Rounding out the extras are the film's red-band and green-band original theatrical trailers, a 16-page booklet featuring short introductions by directors Rob Zombie, Brian Taylor and Mark Neveldine, and a downloadable digital copy of the film.

Last Call

Insipid, unfunny and offensive on multiple accounts, THE FP should've just stayed a short by a couple of guys just out of film school. If the idea of gangs battling it out at DDR for control of a small town doesn't turn you off, then the ridiculous and downright stupid dialogue will. Drafthouse Films has put together a very respectable package for a Blu-Ray, but why waste effort on a film like this?

ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

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