Hugo saw this film at the Starz Denver Film Fest, which is still going on – you should GO!
The poster for The FP looks like an awesome hybrid between The Warriors and Escape from New York. As with most cool movie posters, especially the illustrated ones, it’s hard not to have high expectations.
The FP just screams cult classic: in a post-apocalyptic land known as the FP, rival gangs battle for dominion by playing Beat Beat Revelation.
Give credit to the filmmakers for beating Japan to this idea. I feel like this could be a movie the director of Battlefield Baseball might have made.
So the question is: does The FP have what it takes to become the next cult midnight movie?
The premise has a certain kitsch factor that wears off after fifteen minutes. This was originally a short movie, so the big risk here is stretching it out into a feature and expecting the audience to be entertained the entire time.
For the most part though, it gets by with the structure. It follows the same one Rocky invented. The hero is down for the count, and he trains himself to get back in the ring and redeem himself. It’s classic story structure that is hard to screw up too badly.
The hero is JTRO, played by co-director Jason Trost. He’s got the looks of Snake Plissken, with the drifter demeanor of Rambo. He wants to take back the FP after his older brother dies in a dance-off (I’m still not sure how that happened). He plays the character completely straight, and that is the real reason for the film’s success. Some of the supporting cast seems a little bit too “in” on the joke. But actors like Art Tsu, who plays JTRO’s sidekick, or Caitlyn Folley, who plays JTRO’s love interest Stacy, are completely sincere in their roles no matter how ridiculous they look and sound on screen. Everyone speaks in post apocalyptic-white trash street slang. It’s like hearing Shakespeare spoken outloud – at first it’s tough to understand, but eventually you get used to the cadence and you start to roll with it. Did I just compare The FP to Shakespeare?
The big surprise, depending on your expectations, is discovering that DDR battles are not as cinematic as they sound. I understand how funny they would seem in a short film. But when you see multiple battles, they get repetitive fast. Two opponents face the same direction and stare at a bunch of arrows for Chrissakes. I think that is partly why the filmmakers inserted an extra with her tits hanging out during one of the dance-offs.
But in the end I have a very soft spot for low budget endeavors like The FP. There were some great walk-on roles from character actors like Clifton Collins Jr. and Sean Whalen to give it some of that cult cache.
Most of these movies have it backwards though. You have to earn the cult status. It’s not just a given because your poster says it is. No one tries to make The Room. It just…happens.