Image Entertainment // 2011 // 83 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // June 19th, 2012
An ancient game becomes a deadly sport.
The FP clearly hates me and, rest assured, the feeling is mutual.
It's the future and the rebellious youth of tomorrow vie for supremacy over the right to rule Frazier Park (The FP). But instead of knife fights and roller derby, these riff-raff engage in competitive Dance Dance Revolution contests, renamed "Beat-Beat Revelation" for purposes of avoiding litigation.
A malevolent gang has captured the turf and ushered in hardship for The FP's residents, leaving JTRO (Jason Trost) -- a Beat-Beat savant who exiled himself after his mentor died playing the game -- as the de facto hero.
And now the suffering begins.
The FP is meant to be a send-up of underdog sports movies, so all the tropes will be familiar: the ruinous debut by our hero, a family tragedy, a trash-talking opponent, an awkward romance, a training montage, and the final showdown. It's all played with a smirk and a wink, but that doesn't stop this movie from being about as fun as a prostate exam administered in a runaway mine car.
The joke is sort of funny, when we first see it -- these street toughs in their dystopian future jumping around like buffoons on their dance pads! -- but even that initial sequence overstays its welcome about five minutes in. So what's left? Not much. Just this guy JTRO embarking on that most-recognizable journey of the forlorn sports star, played tongue-in-cheek, but besieged by one small problem: it's not funny.
The comedy is bizarre, but weirdness is no excuse for a near-total lack of laughs. I say "near-total" because there was one slice of dialogue about the lack of ducks in the future that made me laugh out loud. Beyond that? A wasteland.
I can usually suffer an unfunny comedy. What makes The FP such a brutal experience is the oppressive slang-filled dialogue that passes as writing. I can not re-create it for you here -- nor would I want to -- but suffice it to say there is an over-abundance of F-bombs (the eternal crutch for hack comedy writers) and far more fictional street vernacular than should be allowed by municipal statute. This means you, tortured viewers, will have to expel a fair amount of brainpower deciphering the rapid-fire line readings, only to discover your efforts were squandered in the pursuit of comedy death.
There is a silver lining: as terrible as the feature content is, The FP makes a fine-looking Blu-ray. The 2.35:1/1080p high definition widescreen transfer is the best thing about this release; a slickly detailed treatment that benefits from more-than-capable cinematography. The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio fares nicely too, transmitting the film's loud and abrasive dance-offs with power and clarity. Extras: a thirty-minute-plus making-of documentary, featuring interviews with cast and crew who are oblivious to the excruciating nature of their creation; audio commentary; and a pair of official trailers.
The Blu-ray is outstanding. The not-making-you-want-to-press-your-face-against-a-lit-stovetop is a failure.
Guilty. Please spare us from the inevitable Guitar Hero-themed sequel.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Image Entertainment
* 2.35:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
Running Time: 83 Minutes
Release Year: 2011
MPAA Rating: Rated R