Knights of Badassdom (2014)


Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Weird, man, weird.

L.A.R.P. By now, everyone has heard of larping even if they don’t think they have. Standing for “Live Action Role Play” larping is often accompanied by a bunch of medieval costumed nerds with foam swords who really get into character to fight off invisible foes and talk in ancient English. Of course, this is the more stereotyped version of larping, and there are others. I, for one, witnessed firsthand a vampire larping session in someone’s back yard. I can say quite easily that larping isn’t my thing, nor is the watered down version called Dungeons and Dragons, perhaps you heard of it. Now, even though it’s not personally my thing, I do find it quite fascinating of a subject and the fantasy world people create is pretty impressive. Really nerdy, but impressive nonetheless. That’s the main setting of Knights of Badassdom.

To really have you understand the story, I formally introduce you to Joe, played by Ryan Kwanten of True Blood fame. Joe was just dumped by the love of his life, Beth, and so his roommates decide the best way to cheer him up is to throw him into the wonderful world of larping. With reluctance, Joe agrees, and he is thrown head deep into a truly mystical realm, for in their possession lied true witchcraft scrolls (a book) which unleashed a very real and terrible succubus that begins killing players all over the land. Even though they are forced to leave the game, the circumstances surrounding everything pulls them not into a not a game of role playing, but a game of reality.

You know, I have a lot of respect for those of you that partake in larping. It seems like it can be a lot of fun if you have the level of creativity and imagination required. I call myself both creative and I have a good imagination, but the way I express those is through words on a page. In a real life position like that, I just can’t help but see a bunch of nerds in costumes, and the foam swords just don’t help matters. It’s actually the same reason why I wouldn’t ever do a historical war recreation. When I witnessed the vampire larping in real life, to make a decision, they played rock paper scissors. That was just laughable to me, and it just doesn’t register why. So no, I can’t really connect with this film as well as maybe those of you that larp could.

I’ll tell you two reasons why I chose to watch this film, and the first is rather simple. Casting. The trailer looked awesome in regards to the cast. Most of you will actually know Peter Dinklage from his role on Game of Thrones, which is similar in plot to this film, just in real life. I can’t comment on this, seeing I don’t actually watch Game of Thrones, so again…a connection clearly meant to be that didn’t register. What did register was Ryan Kwanten from True Blood, Summer Glau from pretty much everything she’s in, Danny Pudi from Community…I mean come on. If anyone sold it, it was Danny, making this feel like one of those special Community episodes. While I did like the cast, I wasn’t sold on their performances, and that probably had to do with the plot that I couldn’t connect with.

The second reason why I watched this dealt with nostalgia. You remember those funny ‘90s movies that just kept popping up about a modern person thrown into the past through mystic forces…or something like that? Those movies were really family-oriented but had an interesting premise. Well, this film feels like that. It still has the fish-out-of-water theme with Joe, a magical and otherworldly force, but it geared it more towards adults, so it wasn’t so tacky – as family films tend to be. I will say this…the film definitely did something right. The nostalgia is there, and it’s funny to see them realize this and make fun of it at the same time. I like self-awareness comedy in films.

Here’s the big downer…the graphics are silly and they honestly kind of suck. The cinematography isn’t horrible at all, it’s just the special effects that could have used tremendous help. Bad cuts to avoid smooth animation effects along with a ghastly costume in the end that makes the original Godzilla look real really set me off. Yes, they could have intended it to look that bad, but I actually doubt it. I think if they had the funds to make a good creature, they would do just that. Instead…this is what we get and it’s pathetic. So I think “anticlimactic” is a relevant term here, don’t you?

The Good:

If you are into larping, I actually recommend you watch this. I think they got personalities right and were at least somewhat respectful in that area, so you might connect with it a lot more than me. Also, this might give you a bit of nostalgia like it did me. Otherwise, you could just watch the movies for the great cast.

The Bad:

If you aren’t into larping, you aren’t really going to connect with Knights of Badassdom. This very fact is going to hinder you from otherwise enjoying what seems to be at least halfway decent.

Memorable Quote:

Ronnie Kwok: [in distress] You just summoned a succubus from Hell!

Eric: [pauses] Sorry.


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