Posted in Fantasia 2011, Fantasia International Film Festival, Film Festivals, Reviews

Fantasia 2011: Review of The FP

The FP (2011)
Director: Brandon Trost, Jason Trost, Screenplay: Brandon Trost, Jason Trost
Cast: Jason Trost, Lee Valmassy, Art Hsu, Caitlyn Folley, Nick Principe

What would the near future be like if everybody were a hillbilly who spoke a mish-mash of gangster rap lingo, 80s slang and internet speak?  This movie answers that question and does it with much energy and enthusiasm.  To add to the silly, tongue in cheek plot is the manner in which rival gangs settle their scores.  They don’t do lame things like freestyle battles or ball sports, no, they go to a location called the FP where they play Beat Beat Revelation (BBR), a dancing arcade game in the vein of Dance Dance Revolution.  At stake is pride and ownership of the FP. Why anybody cares about “owning” the FP is irrelevant!

Those are the main elements that make this movie stand apart from others of a similar nature.  Otherwise, the plot is quite predictable. The main character, JTro, vows never to play BBR after tragedy strikes but is brought back into the fray by an old friend, KCDC, who says he’s the only one who can reclaim their gang’s pride.  Queue the training montage leading up the BBR prelims and final showdown.  Credit to the director for executing it in dramatic, over the top fashion with loud, exaggerated characters and solid acting.  Art Hsu as KCDC is particularly memorable as the sorta sidekick with his schtick reminding me of Eddie Murphy a bit (in a good way).  He also has some of the best one-liners particularly towards the end of the movie.

Most of the funny moments came from the movie being intentionally cliché and the actors intentionally hamming it up.  The Fantasia audience certainly enjoyed these moments, laughing freely at them.  I personally didn’t find these moments that funny because they’re pretty obviously set up. That’s probably intentional but it’s something that has been done enough times before that it’s ceased to be humorous to me.  Although the idea of BBR dance offs sounds awesome in principle, in execution, its devoid of any tension since all you see are a bunch of arrows on screen and frantic foot movements with no idea of who is winning or losing at any give time.  Since we obviously know already who’s going to win, there’s not much point to the actual BBR scenes themselves.  Still despite my initial boredom with the plot, it got better and grew on me towards the end.  It’s a decent movie that nostalgic types who are very familiar with all sorts of slang and cult movie clichés can have fun with. For me, the intensity of the movie didn’t quite make up for the run of the mill plot.

I managed to find this interview clip where Art Hsu talks about the movie (unfortunately the sound quality is bad but still understandable)

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Author:

Longtime fan of East Asian films. Former "movie reporter" on the music radio show / podcast "Beats From The East" broadcasted on Concordia University's CJLO 1690AM radio station in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

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