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Knights of Badassdom

Score: 77%
Rating: R
Publisher: eOne
Region: 1
Media: Blu-ray/1
Running Time: 86 Mins.
Genre: Horror/Comedy/Fantasy
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH


  • Interviews with Peter Dinklage, Summer Glau and Steve Zahn
  • Two Short Making-Of "Horr-o-medy" Featurettes on Special Effects
  • Joe Lynch Interview
  • San Diego Comic Con Panel
  • Knights of Badassdom Trailer

If you're reading this, you've probably heard of Knights of Badassdom and, most likely, followed its progress a bit and then wondered what happened to the movie. With notable actors such as Peter Dinklage (as Hung), Ryan Kwanten (as Joe) and Summer Glau (as Gwen), the movie had some clout to it, putting expectations a bit higher than a B-flick, but the trailers made no mistake that this was to be a "nerd interactive fantasy runs headlong into a mystical reality" sort of movie. That got a lot of people interested, with thoughts of things such as the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon television series, The Gamers and The Guardians of the Flame book series all having similar premises. The trailers I saw focused on the comical aspects of LARPing. (Apologies to LARPers out there, but if you're observing and not participating, it can be amusing to watch.) Knights of Badassdom is definitely comedic, both laughing with and at the movie, but there's more to the movie than just comedy.

Knights of Badassdom Comic-Con trailer

Yes, the movie revolves around a hapless LARPer who unwittingly summons a bloodthirsty succubus via an old spellbook (bought on eBay) which turns out to be the real thing. And, yes, comedy ensues. But, in addition to that comedy, there is a heavy dose of gore, in a sort of 80's horror way, with vivisection, zombie-esque body chomping, back ripping, beheading and other impromptu body-part removal. There are jokes and funny situations, then there are lots of people who die funny.

Those who LARP and think that the gamers might put up a valiant fight to this newly summoned evil need to reflect on the fact that, with the exception of our main characters, all of the LARPers are armed and armored with... well, foam rubber, primarily.

So, that leaves just a handful of players armed with steel (and an astoundingly underwhelming command of magic) to try to defeat this summoned evil. Joe (Ryan Kwanten - True Blood) is a front man for a doom-metal band. When he gets dumped by his girlfriend, Beth (Margarita Levieva - Revenge), his friends try to cheer him up by getting him to join them in their Live-Action Role Playing game. Eric (Steve Zahn - Reality Bites, That Thing You Do) is leveling as a Wizard and it's kind of a big deal, so he wants Joe to join them. Hung (Peter Dinklage - Game of Thrones) tries to convince him to go as well, but then he suggests that Joe try something a bit... medicinal... to mellow him out a bit and clear his mind.

When Joe comes to, he finds himself dressed in metal armor in the back of a van at the fairgrounds where the LARP event is held. By reminding Joe of his legendary experiences back in his D&D-playing days, they convince him to give it a shot. However, when Eric performs a "resurrection" spell to bring Joe into the game, he ends up unleashing a succubus who takes on the appearance of Joe's ex-girlfriend from a photo he had with him, unbeknownst to them.

Once officially a LARP participant, he meets the rest of Eric and Hung's adventuring party: an archer named Lando (Danny Pudi - Community and Captain America: The Winter Soldier), a beautiful female warrior named Gwen (Summer Glau - Firefly), and her over-protective (and always-in-character) Viking warrior bodyguard, Gunther (Brett Gipson). He finds himself attracted to and interested in Gwen and, despite himself, ends up having a bit of fun.

Soon, however, it becomes apparent that something truly evil is afoot, as LARPers start falling prey to succubus Beth and the bodies begin to pile up. Our heroes clad themselves in armor and arm themselves with steel and make their best attempt to defeat the monster and rescue their compatriots, but the fight will not be an easy one and the battle will truly test Joe's mettle (and metal).

Special features include interviews with some of the actors and making-of featurettes that reveal the use of a custom rubber monster suit for the "Abominog" creature (manned by Douglas Tait) to give it more realism than using a CG monster. While I applaud the use of practicals such as this, I wasn't overly impressed with the monster, due mainly to its somewhat lumbering movement, I think. However, the physical presence of a guy-in-a-suit makes for much better acting than the old talk-to-the-tennis-ball-on-the-stick shtick used in movies with heavy CG. Speaking of the monster, metal fans (specifically those familiar with Uriah Heep) may recognize the "Abominog," which is the creature that Eric unwittingly transforms the succu-Beth into - and is also the name of one of Uriah Heep's albums.

I am a geek, a nerd and a gamer. I have a D&D game every other week. Many of my friends and co-workers (and most of the people in my D&D game) do LARP, however, and I have heard a lot of their tales and some of the small details, from spell packets (spackets) which are thrown (Lighting-bolt!) to indicate whether a spell hits its target to the motion of holding your fist over your head to indicate you're speaking out-of-game. These things were faithfully represented in Knights of Badassdom, with one of my friends readily admitting that anything that didn't match his current game could be accounted for by the differences between different LARP games from group to group. It is a comedic movie, but they're not making fun of LARP.

This is not the best "nerd interactive fantasy runs headlong into a mystical reality" I've ever experienced, but it is a fun watch. It was "much anticipated," as IMDb puts it, but that is a foam sword that cuts both ways. It grows a desire to see the movie, but can build lofty expectations which can be difficult to meet.

If you play RPGs or LARP and you like comedies, 80's horror and a touch of metal, then you may want to give Knights of Badassdom a watch. It's not the best movie ever, but it's worth watching all the way through for Peter Dinklage, alone, and if you're going to watch it, watch it on Blu-ray for better picture quality.

-Geck0, GameVortex Communications
AKA Robert Perkins

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