Home Entertainment Review: Knights of Baddassdom (Entertainment One)

Warning Review may contain spoilers.  Way back in the distant past that was 2010, there was a trailer for a movie about a group of LARPers, and Summer Glau, that […]

Warning Review may contain spoilers. 

Way back in the distant past that was 2010, there was a trailer for a movie about a group of LARPers, and Summer Glau, that accidentally summon a succubus from hell. It was awesome! It was going to be a horror/comedy about LARPing with a host of people you actually recognized acting their absolute nerdiest. It was so exciting in fact, that it was forgotten for 4 years. But last year the makers of the film showed it to a company that actually agreed to fund distribution. AND SO IT WAS! Knights of Baddassdom made it on the Blu-Ray and DVD for all to consume. But was the movie worth the wait? KNIGHTS OF BADASSDOM

Not entirely…

Knights of Baddassdom isn’t bad, I can’t stress that enough. But it misrepresented itself, and that led to anticipation for a film that was advertised and expected, but not necessarily delivered. On the surface, it’s a stoner horror/comedy that wants to honor LARPing and LARP enthusiasts. In fact, in an interview on the Blu-Ray, Peter Dinklage specifically states that the idea was to present LARPing and LARP culture with a fondness instead of cynicism or mockery. It’s a noble goal, but they fall just short when it goes full blown monster-movie.

The first half is awesome! I love that it is too, because if you are a LARPer or you have any kind of connection to RPGs, being live-action or otherwise, you will get all of the jokes. The bad metal music, hand-drawn maps, speaking forsoothly, exiting a conversation with a flourish, pretending to speak another language, the complicated names, power trips, meta-grudges, alpha nerds, and helpful yet destructively enabling friends will ring more than a few bells. This is the lifeblood of the movie, and what makes it so entertaining. Everyone looks like they’re having fun, which makes the audience have fun as well. Eric and Hung (Steve Zahn and Peter Dinklage) are amazing as the way too in-game friends of reluctant hero Joe (Ryan Kwanten), who strikes a believable line between being a nerd and not, Gwen (Summer Glau) seems to be trying a bit too hard, but still makes a decent showing as the far too hot girl, but the best lines, jokes, and situations come from Ronnie Kwok (played by the criminally underrated Jimmi Simpson). Ronnie Kwok’s character makes the whole first part of the movie work. He’s a brutal and tyrannical game master who lives to punish the people playing, and if you play games like this, than chances are you know a Ronnie. Add in Simpson’s timing and KNIGHTS OF BADASSDOMyou’ve got an absolutely hilarious character that everyone loves to hate. These parts of the movie work because there’s so much to relate to, and everyone is having fun. But the second part *is* the main conflict, and unfortunately it’s not nearly as good.

But it looks amazing. The makeup effects are top notch, and the blood and gore flow without hindrance. It’s visually impressive, and Margarita Levieva’s succubus is primal, terrifying, and totally effective. But this is not the movie that you started watching. It’s jumped in to a real monster movie with very little lead-in. It’s built up this really fun and interesting dynamic with all these amazing characters, then it just starts killing them without mercy. It’s kind of like watching someone knock over your tower of blocks. It’s just brutal and monstrous and not really what you signed on for. They’re so focused on making this movie horrifying that the jokes feel bittersweet and flat when they’re attempted in such a serious situation, and this includes the frivolity played to an unrealistically inappropriate degree; plus the whole revenge for Hung thing is kind of thrown together and doesn’t feel like it had enough prep time to be significant. But the real tragedy is the ending which lacks and consistency, is filled with convenience, and even ignores continuity. It’s like the movie started to run out of steam, so it just started throwing random plot-points together. Pretty much everyone dies in a horrible horrible way, and it’s easy to question what the whole point was. It doesn’t satisfy. Why try to glorify LARP if all you’re going ot do is sacrifice every single positive aspect of it to your monster movie? Well granted, no matter what the situation, seeing Peter Dinklage slice up a seven and a half foot demon with a sword is ALWAYS going to be cool. But Peter Dinklage didn’t need to look any cooler or be glorified. LARPing did, and it isn’t. It’s just another victim in another monster movie. That’s the real tragedy and what makes the whole movie sort of fail in it’s own mission statement. KNIGHTS OF BADASSDOM

Knights of Baddassdom sets out to do something totally different, and for a little while, it succeeded. Then it just stopped trying. It gave up and decided to be just another monster movie, and it made you think that it wasn’t. It’s like meeting your mom’s new boyfriend. I mean, sure he seems cool. He relates to you, and has a lot of neat stories. Then you realize that he’s just trying to get you to like him so he can bang your mom. Well let me tell you something Gary…er Knights of Baddassdom, I don’t really appreciate being lied to.

-PS

The Blu-Ray is 1080p High Definition resolution, and includes only English audio and subtitles. The audio is in both Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS-HD. Runtime is at 86 minutes, and extras include a behind the scenes featurette, a San Diego Comic-Con Panel video, and interviews with Peter Dinklage, Steve Zahn, Summer Glau, and more. The movie is rated R for extreme violence and language, and minor drug use and sexuality.

Brian Posehn has a cameo also…so that should help.

Knights of Baddassdom Official Site: http://knightsofbadassdom-movie.com/

Entertainment One Official Site: http://www.entertainmentone.com/home

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