Thursday, February 28, 2019

'FP2: Beats Of Rage' (2018) Movie Review

One eyed man in a dance club

The Trost Brothers’ 2011 film The FP is a strange, singular artifact. The saga of a post-apocalyptic future where warring gangs settle beef with a head-to-head dance arcade game, Beat Beat Revelation, is the kind of unhinged mania that shows up, creates an indelible mark, and disappears back into the shadows. Sure, it developed a cult-cult following, a kind of super niche fandom, but it’s not the movie you automatically assume will generate a sequel.

But here we are in the year of our lord 2019, and Jason Trost, working solo this time, wrote, directed, and stars in FP2: Beats of Rage. Much like its predecessor, it’s weird and silly and often feels made up entirely of in-jokes, but it’s also wild and fun and played straight—the on-the-surface seriousness makes the absurdity that much more ridiculous. That’s the long-winded way of saying existing fans will have a ball with this, the rest will be a mixed bag.

post apocalyptic man with a slingshot

The events of the first film left JTRO (Trost) a broken, lonely man. He’s abandoned the familiar confines of Frazier Park and ventured into a world ravaged by the Beat Wars, where booze is the only currency with any value, and scrapes out an existence living in a storage locker. But after hanging up his battle boots, a new threat, the soul-swallowing AK-47 (Mike O’Gorman), draws him out of retirement. Haunted by his past and with hype man KCDC (Art Hsu) in tow, the one-eyed dance warrior heads into the Wastes for Beat of Rage, a mythical Beat Beat tourney where the prize is bottomless booze forevs, the future of the FP, and his very soul. 

Plot wise, Beats of Rage is your typical heroic journey, a tale of redemption and rebirth, but it’s the oddball world and WTF aesthetic that once again entice viewers into this specific realm. While it expands the world, dives into JTRO’s history, and injects a mysticism—“witch shit” as KC calls it—absent in the original, and the elaborate costumes, wackadoodle jargon, and off-kilter set up are all present and accounted for, the sequel never hits the maniac highs of the first chapter. 

glowing eyed madman

FP2: Beats of Rage is definitely a film for already existing fans, but primarily only for them alone. If you love The FP, you’ll likely find a lot to latch onto here, but if this is your first visit to Frazier Park, it lacks much of the organic bonkers insanity of the original—though don’t worry, there are many montages, many, many montages. It doesn’t make anywhere near the impact of the previous installment or leave as deep an imprint, and it’s entirely what one might expect, but it’s still a damn fine time if you’re so inclined.

As the opening frame warns, Beats of Rage requires a three-drink minimum for maximum enjoyment. So collect some rowdy friends, tie one on, and get ready to Beat Beat this shit fo real one more time. [Grade: B-]

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