Knights of Badassdom has been in release limbo for years, and now it’s finally hitting theaters. But was the wait worth it? My answer is a strong no. Knights of Badassdom is a cinematic mess, turning what could be a hilarious pro-LARP movie into a slightly painful experience.
- Director: Joe Lynch
- Writers: Matt Wall, Kevin Dreyfuss
- Cast: Ryan Kwanten, Summer Glau, Peter Dinklage, Steve Zahn, Danny Pudi, Jimmi Simpson, Margarita Levieva
- Cinematography by: Sam McCurdy
- Original Music by: Bear McCreary
Joe (Kwanten) is having a hard time. He was just recently dumped by his girlfriend (Levieva) and just wants to spend the weekend smoking, drinking, playing guitar and sulking, but his friends Eric (Zahn) and Hung (Dinklage) have a better idea. They drag him out to a LARP (live-action-role-playing) event in the middle of the woods. While these men and women let their imaginations soar, Eric accidentally awakens a demon hellbent on eliminating anyone that crosses its path. It’s up to the unlikely group of Joe, Eric, Hung and the warrior Gwen (Glau) to destroy this real threat.
- Dinklage: The only person who lights up the screen in Knights of Badassdom is Peter Dinklage as the shroom-munching LARPer. It’s obvious he’s having a blast pretending he’s in his own fantasy world up until a real demon starts wreaking havoc. Unfortunately, his character doesn’t get a lot of screen time, which is a shame since Hung is the funniest character in the bunch.
- The Rest of The Cast: While they didn’t shine the way Dinklage did, a lot of the actors made the film more enjoyable. One who really stands out is the slightly underrated Steve Zahn. He plays a jerk gamer who’s so invested in leveling-up his character that he ignores what’s going on around him, especially the demon he summoned.
- Painful CG: I understand it’s hard for certain productions to afford decent computer graphics. It’s a difficult hurdle to overcome when you’re dealing with an independent film, but it is manageable. Knights of Badassdom has been sitting on the shelf for awhile, so they had time to fix the effects. There could have been a considerable amount of gore in this picture, but we barely see it. It’s as if Knights of Badassdom was teetering towards being a horror/comedy/adventure, but somebody decided to extract the horror elements. Surely there wouldn’t have been that many people opposed to it.
- Editing: Whoever said slow motion on editing programs was a good idea was sorely mistaken. Every time they decide to crank the frames down, the scene comes off as amateurish. It was obvious there were a couple scenes missing. I understand that there was a big battle for final cut between the director and producers, and it’s unfortunate that it happened this way. But the editing was lazy and sloppy, a rather painful combination.
- Our Story: From a conceptual standpoint, the story for Knights of Badassdom seems pretty brilliant. We follow a strange group of heroes as they fight their way past a demon who’s terrorizing their fantasy excursion. But after a point the structure falls apart, and any interest begins to wane. Is there really a need for antagonistic paintballers? They didn’t feel necessary. It seems as if Knights of Badassdom wants to go down the Revenge of the Nerds route but it ditches it shortly after the movie begins. At the same time, the film wades back and forth between promoting and being indifferent to LARPing. The main character continually scoffs at it, and even the conclusion shows that he never warmed up to the idea. I understand that there’s a social stigma still attached to LARPing, but we’re in a society that’s continually embracing geek culture.
I was really looking forward to this film, but when I finished watching it all I felt was disappointment. Knights of Badassdom struggles to be a fantasy adventure and is more like a lackluster attempt at combining genres.
The Rating: 4/10
Kngihts of Badassdom is out on VOD now.
Will you be watching Knights of Badassdom?