Movie Review: The FP
Almost a year ago, I went to a sneak preview screening of Zack Snyder’s Suckerpunch. While the trailer promised plenty of thrills as a young girl escapes the real world and constructs one inside her subconscious, it got a little nuts when she then started dancing and fantasizing about video game-style fights, B-25 bombers being chased by flying dragons, and Samurai with miniguns (even if that last concept is kinda bad@$$). I think my biggest problem with Suckerpunch was they wanted us to take much of the film seriously, but it was a little hard to do so, and that’s where it failed to entertain me.
Why do I bring up Suckerpunch, you may ask? Because it’s blender-style mish-mash of different concepts and genres reminded me a little of Drafthouse Films‘ latest release, The FP. Originally directed by brothers Brandon and Jason Trost as a 13-minute short released in 2007, they extended their story into a feature-length film that is currently seeing limited distribution in select cities.
As the opening narration explains, a deadly turf-war rages in a dystopian future, as two rival gangs compete for control of “The FP” (actually, a rural mountain town called Frazier Park). On one side of the war, is BTRO (Brandon Barrera), leader of the 248 of the North. On the other side, is L Dubba E (Lee Valmassy, looking like Mr T), representing the 245 of the South. And just how do these two sides handle their turf wars? By pitting their leaders against each other in a no-holds-barred game…of Beat Beat Revelation. Yes, the fate of a small rural town resides in the fancy footwork of two men dancing on footpads and racking up high points. If your brain can’t process that, then you may want to click out of here and read something else.
Oh, you’re still here? Well, since you stuck around, I’ll continue.
One person who looks up to BTRO, is his younger brother, JTRO (Jason Trost, wearing a very ‘Snake Plisskin-like’ eyepatch). However, JTRO’s world is thrown upside-down when the latest match ends up killing his brother. JTRO then vows never to play the game again, and with noone to stop L Dubba E, “The FP” is thrown into utter chaos (it’s so terrible, I don’t dare describe it!).
In the wake of the chaos, there’s one guy who still believes that JTRO has what it takes, and that’s his old friend, KC/DC (Art Hsu). KC/DC sets JTRO up with BTRO’s mentor, BLT (Nick Principe), and they work to help JTRO attempt to save “The FP.”
Wandering around the internet, alot of messageboard postings seem to say the same thing: ‘they can’t be serious.’ And in truth, the filmmakers aren’t!! The FP isn’t some film attempting to make a bold statement: it’s a comedy put together like a Frankenstein-monster of movie and story cliches. It’s a film that pokes fun at rival street gangs, and delves into the cliches of action films, like those from the 1980’s. In some instances, the synthesized soundtrack seemed very ‘John Carpenter-esque.’
The Trost Brothers create the film very tongue-in-cheek, and in this case, the serious moments are meant to be laughed at. It’s like in Monty Python and the Search for the Holy Grail, where Arthur and his knights play it completely straight that they are riding on horses. And that’s what is happening in this film. For example, even though this is a dystopian future, modern day vehicles are driving in the background, and the town seems pretty normal, even though L Dubba E has complete control over it.
Naturally in these films, any manly hero needs a girl, and JTRO’s love-interest is Stacy (Caitlyn Folly), a girl whose been all over town (if you know what I mean), and falls into L Dubba E’s arms after he takes control of “The FP.” Folly’s character is most likely played for the comedic factor, as Stacy is the downtrodden girl who knows that JTRO is the guy for her, but dawdles in her decision as the plot keeps having her make one bad mistake after another.
As the film started out, I was almost reminded of a number of films that would play in the wee hours of the morning on USA Up All Night in the late 80’s/early 90’s, but there’s one thing that would keep The FP from even showing up: the ‘pervasive language.’ There are probably 6 F-bombs dropped in the first 5 minutes alone, but it doesn’t stop there. I wasn’t really surprised by the amount of language, as one guy who was in several of my college classes couldn’t go more than 5-10 words without dropping an expletive. I can’t help but wonder if he’d consider this film to be ‘normal.’
Maybe because it’s not based on a pre-existing book, or a remake of a previously-made/much-loved film, I was able to shut my brain off and just wallow in the B-movie insanity that was The FP. It definitely has the underpinnings of a film that could gain a cult-following. The FP isn’t for everyone, and I have a feeling that most will give it a shot once it is released to DVD. It’s definitely going to be one of those films that will polarize its viewers: either you’re down with the bros of The FP, or you’re not.