FILM REVIEW: Knights of Badassdom (2013)

Knights of Badassdom  is now available on DVD/Blu-ray as well as on iTunes. I wanted to see this one sooo bad when I first saw the trailer...and that fuckin' sweet-ass movie poster! But, when I heard about Joe Lynch's issues with the cut of the film and the sucky distribution news...I felt a bit disheartened about the whole thing. Luckily, our Deviant-in-arms Matt Dean was able to score himself a copy and came back with a review. Chickity-check it out!

Knights of Badassdom  premiered in September of 2013 and I heard a lot of good things about it throughout the next few months; nothing very detailed, just that it was very funny and had the potential to develop a following. I love Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones, In Bruges, and The Station Agent) and Steve Zahn (Saving Silverman, Joy Ride, and Chelsea Walls) is usually a pretty decent actor. The first trailer that I watched for the film ended up being the only trailer for the film that I would watch. I’m glad that was the case because I believe going into this film with no preconceived notions is the best way to view it. Which is why writing this review is so difficult; I think maybe I'm spoiling any greatness of it by even telling you to watch it. Doesn't make sense, does it? I just wish everyone could accidentally stumble upon it in a few years. Alas, here we are.

The trailer that I originally saw must have been a teaser because it left out some pretty crucial elements of the film. It painted a picture that this film was a comedy set in the obscure world of LARPing (Live Action Role Playing). You know, the guys and gals who dress up on the weekends and they all meet up in a remote forest somewhere to act out all of their inner fantasies, a la dressing up like witches and warlocks and goblins, casting spells, speaking in languages akin to the most difficult-to-read sections of Shakespeare and the bible. I've never gotten into this sort of activity but, then I've never really been a fantasy person so, I was never interested in Magic: The Gathering or Dungeons and Dragons. To each his/her own, though. As long as you're not hurting people – do whatever you want. The film looked like it was going to reach a bit of a niche audience, but there were some fairly funny moments so I was sure I’d eventually watch it. Then it became out of sight / out of mind until this past weekend when my XBOX notified me that I could watch it for free! And you know I love free. I played it and was surprisingly greeted about fifteen minutes in with random horror elements and at the 30 minute mark the film was turning into a heavy-laden horror with comedy elements thrown in.

Attempting to not give too much of the story away, the plot centers around three friends who all live together; two of which are avid LARPers (Dinklage and Zahn). The third is the generic ‘cool’ guy (Ryan Kwanten), but his girlfriend (Summer Glau) has just broken up with him. As most friends would do, they decide to get him really wasted to cure his woes. Well, he wakes up at a LARPing weekend. With nowhere to go, a suit of armor waiting for him and a really hot female in tow, he decides to make the most of his time at the event. However, not everything at this event will merely be role-playing. Zahn’s character, an up and coming sorcerer reads from a book he got off the internet – unknowingly unleashing an ancient evil onto the campgrounds. It’s up to them to warn the rest of the LARPers that they may be fighting for their lives as well as the points necessary to excel in this fictional world.

While the film was decent to me because I wasn't expecting it to be like it was, it really doesn’t know what kind of film it wants to be. The laughs fall short, the gore is all CGI, the scares are mulled by attempts at humor and the characters just aren't believable. I assume if you've spent some time in the LARPing community or CosPlaying then there'd be some inside jokes and stereotypes to appreciate, but, like I said, I'm just not a part of that niche community. The film is available on most VOD platforms, but if I were you, I'd wait until it’s on HBO or, if it ever arrives on a streaming service, we'll notify you via Bloody Streams!

Matt, Signing Out