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The FP (Blu-ray Review)

The FP is a movie that will not win over a lot of people.  That’s something I am fairly certain of.  With that said, if the core concept of watching a goofy film that is set in the ‘future’ and revolves around rival gangs playing a DDR-type game in matches that can lead to your death, were you to lose, makes you chuckle and you have an appreciation for low-budget, indie filmmaking, then The FP may be up your alley.  The film is very deliberate in its intent, should not be taken seriously, and does feature some creative work from those involved in the production.  It is downright silly at times, but I actually had fun watching it and appreciated its intent.  The bonus is that this is a pretty decent Blu-ray as well.

Film:

I will just go with the plot synopsis on the Blu-ray case:

In a dystopian future, a relentless turf war rages.  Two rival gangs feud for control of rural wasteland Frazier Park (The FP) in the deadly arena of competitive dance-fight video game “Beat-Beat Revelation.”  After hometown hero BTRO is slain on the dance platform by thug leader L Dubba E, his protégé younger brother JTRO (Jason Trost) goes into isolation, vowing never to duel again.  One year later, The FP is in ruins, and JTRO must find the courage to return and restore order in a ruthless battle for revenge that can only leave one man dancing.

The biggest issue/strength of this film that I believe many will disagree upon revolves around whether or not The FP can get by, based on its very deliberate choice in being filmed as a movie destined for cult status.  Can a film be specifically made to be one for cult audiences?  I believe it can, but it can seem understandably arrogant to know that filmmakers are choosing to model a film a certain way.  At the same time, how else does one make a film that revolves around DDR-ing to the death?  The FP will certainly be one that makes people either really enjoy it or really hate it, based on how they view this aspect.

I was personally able to get past this aspect for the most part and enjoy a lot of what The FP had to offer.  The film is downright silly, but I really enjoyed how committed everyone was and a lot of the low-budget filmmaking that went into it.  One key example is the dialogue.  Everyone in this film speaks a very specific way, which is a mix of vulgarity and made up slang terminology, which the Trost Bros. explain that they have basically heard before and adjusted it for the film.  It certainly adds a ridiculous level to a film that could already have been described as such.

It may not be too necessary to go over the level of acting in this film, but I will say that despite being semi-non-professionals, the actors involved are certainly game to have fun for the sake of this story.  Jason Trost’s work as JTRO, the lead performance, does not necessarily scream, “There’s a new action hero in town,” but he does a good job of keeping a level of seriousness associated with his character, which makes it easier to embrace the goofiness of the film.  Essentially, despite the fact that this is a silly movie, the fact that it is played straight works in The FP’s favor.  Really, among the performances, Art Hsu stands out as the most enjoyable.  He is the best friend to JTRO, with the one name that can top it – KCDC.  He nails the ridiculous dialogue and brings the right level of energy to the film.

I found a lot to admire in the filmmaking as well.  Obviously shot with a low budget, The FP takes a lot of notes from films like The Warriors, Mad Max, and films from John Carpenter.  It fits this sort of style into the realm of a sports movie and manages to fit in two montage sequences.  The digital camera work is fine at preserving the grittiness involved (as far as grittiness in a movie about battling DDR players is concerned) and I guess one can say this is the most interesting Frazier Park has ever looked in a film.

The FP is a great example of a film that you either like or hate.  I do not expect to encounter a whole lot of people that love this movie, but there will be a small contingent that get what it is going for and manage to have fun embracing it.  There is fun to be had with The FP, given the right sort of audience.  It is really silly and features a lot of crazy vulgarity, but it also has a ridiculous premise and a pretty catchy soundtrack.  Maybe you enjoy it, maybe you don’t, but one thing is for sure, Shit’s tough in The FP.

Video:

The Trost Bros. are essentially protégés of Nevaldine/Taylor (the Crank films), meaning that they use fairly inexpensive digital cameras to pull of their shots, but still no how to make a good looking film.  The FP arrives on Blu-ray with a pretty solid 1080p AVC-Encoded transfer.  The film has a specific look that evokes the idea of a slightly futuristic setting, despite being made on a low budget, with little done to actually create that sort of world.  Instead, we mostly see a sort of grimy-looking series of daytime scenes, mixed with more vibrant nighttime scenes, thanks to the use of colorful imagery to evoke the attitude of ‘Beat-Beat Revelation’ and the 80s-techno score that goes with it.  Character textures seem adequate and there are enough flashy costumes to really prove it.  It is a fine transfer overall that is more watchable when the sun goes down in the film.

Audio:

I was really pleased with the score for this movie and I got a kick out of how ridiculous the dialogue was throughout the film.  That said, only one of those things came through clearly.  The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track made sure to properly represent the sweet soundtrack featured in this film, but I had issues with hearing the dialogue at times.  This was not necessarily due to the score either, because there were times when people just did not seem as audible as they should have.  Still, for the most part, I did find there to be enough to recommend based on the overall presentation of the soundtrack, sound effects, and moments where the dialogue did seem mixed well enough for me to appreciate the film’s silly dialogue.

Extras:

The collection of extras on this Blu-ray are presented in HD and do a good job of explaining the origins of this film, it production process, and the way it gained steam amongst audience.  It also made me happier to really enjoy this film as one that does not need to be taken very seriously.  I do wish the original short that led to the creation of this full theatrical feature was included though.

Features Include:

Audio Commentary by the Trost Bros.   A very enjoyable listen that is funny and reflective of how these guys just wanted to make a fun movie.

Never Ignorant Getting Goals Accomplished:  The Making of The FP.  A 3-part documentary that goes over the making-of, the design, and the scoring of The FP.

The FP in The FP:  A Return to Frazier Park.  A tour of the area, kind of, which leads to the Trost Bros. and company hosting a screening at their hometown and the setting of the film.

Theatrical Trailers.  Both the Green-band and the Red-band trailers are presented.

Digital Copy of the Film

16-Page Booklet featuring introductions by Directors Rob Zombie and Brian Taylor

Summary:

I have used the words “silly” and “ridiculous” a great deal, throughout this review.  I did so because they are the best way to describe the film.  It is both of those things and easily a movie that people will downright hate.  However, the right person may have a lot of fun watching it.  It has a goofy premise and exists in a stylized world and makes the best of it…I guess.  It is helpful that the Blu-ray aids the film by supplying a solid video transfer, a good excuse to at least enjoy the soundtrack, and a nice collection of extras.  The FP is quite dangerous for the wrong people, but for the right people, it’s crazy.

If You Want To Check Out This Madness:

 

Aaron is a writer/reviewer for WhySoBlu.com.  Follow him on Twitter @AaronsPS3.
He also co-hosts a podcast,
Out Now with Aaron and Abe, available via iTunes or at HHWLOD.com

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Writer/Reviewer, Film Lover, Podcaster, Gamer, Comic Reader, Disc Golfer & a Lefty. There are too many films, TV, books, etc. for me to list as favorites, but I can assure that the amount film knowledge within my noggin is ridiculous, though I am always open to learning more. You can follow me on Twitter @AaronsPS4, see what else I am up to at TheCodeIsZeek.com & check out my podcast, Out Now with Aaron and Abe, on iTunes.

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