Thursday, March 15, 2012

'The FP' Movie Review

“The FP” is like watching the hyper active, sugar fueled bastard child of “The Warriors”, Japanese pop culture, and a hillbilly bounce all over the screen. Let me clarify that. “The FP” is one of the loudest, most ridiculous, entertaining movies I’ve seen in a long, long time. Because you know what movies like “The Warriors” always lacked, the only real thing they needed? Dance fighting, that’s what, clam chowder. The Trost Brothers, writers and directors of “The FP”, have rectified that situation.

I can’t help but think of “Trollhunter” when I watched “The FP”, not content wise or stylistically—the two films couldn’t be more different on those fronts—but in the approach each movie employs. Both movies treat an inherently silly concept with the utmost seriousness, without ever winking at the camera or acting like they’re in on the joke. In turn, the gravity of the exterior makes the finished product that much more hilarious.

In the small town of Frazier Park, the titular FP, a heated battle between rival gangs the 248 and 245 rages. Clubs and parking lots are warzones, and disputes are settled in the most brutal, grueling way imaginable, through head to head competition on a dance videogame. After his brother, BTRO (Brandon Barrera) bites it on the deck of Beat Beat Revelation at the hands of rival L Dubba E (Lee Valmassy), eye patch wearing JTRO (Jason Trost) swears off Beat Beat for life. He’s done; he’s seen enough of this bloodshed, and walks away.

One year later, KCDC (Art Hsu) finds JTRO out in the woods, sleeping in dirt, working as a logger. DC has a message: shit is fucked up in the FP. The 245 have taken over. They have control of the liquor store and nobody can get any booze. And without any booze there aren’t any drunks, and without any drunks there ain’t no bums, and without no bums there ain’t no one to feed the ducks, yo. So of course JTRO has no choice, he has to go back and reclaim the streets of the FP, sets things right, and regulate these poseur fools.

JTRO had a love interest, the super classy Stacy (Caitlyn Foley), who looks like Courtney Love mid-bender. But now his sweet lady is with L Dubba E, who resembles an albino Mr. T in a fur-lined jumpsuit and flip-flops. The wise, mysterious BLT (Nick Principe) is the spiritual heart of the 248 crew, and guides JTRO through a handful of epic training montages while he tries to build up enough street cred to face Dubba E in a final Beat Off for FP supremacy.

If all of this sounds completely absurd, that’s because it is. Every second of the 82 minute run time is over the top mayhem. But “The FP” isn’t just dudes yelling silly insults at each other, calling each other, “Cranberry Juice”. Don’t get me wrong, it’s mostly that, but there is also a good amount of wit and insight behind the insanity and inanity. The Trosts play with all of the stereotypes and clich├ęs. There are the ones already mentioned—montages, Zen master—as well as long walks where the hero searches the depths of his heart as plaintive music plays, rescuing the damsel in distress, and many more. The Trost Brothers (star Jason and his bro Brandon who has been the DP on movies like “Crank: High Voltage” and “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance”) create their own language and fashion. Think of it as 80s white trash gangster meets street racer, with just a pinch of raver thrown in for good measure. When you step back and survey the scene, it is really very inventive. These elements not only provide laughs, they also function consistently and thoroughly throughout. It’s like an absurdist version of when a sci-fi writer creates an entirely new language and culture for a story.

For the first portion of the film you’re afraid that the joke is going to get old, or that they’ll have trouble sustaining the momentum. You think maybe this is another one of those movies with a brilliant concept, one idea that works for a while, but ultimately falters when there isn’t enough actual movie to maintain an entire feature. Fortunately that is not the case here. “The FP” is end-to-end nonsense that never waivers or hesitates. It never falls into the trap of trying to become serious, and sticks with the gleeful farce.

“The FP” is a perfect midnight movie, and is destined to become a cult classic and spawn all sorts of hardcore fans. It’s cheap and silly and far from perfect, but it is also uproarious and filthy, loud and crass, and, most importantly, funny as all hell. And I want everyone to run out and see “The FP” as soon as they can; it’s worth the trip.

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