'The FP' has one joke that could probably have been stretched out into a funny 15 minute short. At 83 minutes the joke doesn't just wear thin, it implodes, leaving behind the husk of a movie that really, really wants to be considered a "cult film," but probably won't succeed there either.
Here's the joke: in some near, dystopian future, gangs battle for supremacy by competing in "Dance-Dance Revolution" battles (the movie calls it "Beat-Beat Revelation," but whatever). They take this game so serious that people die while competing. Why they die is still a mystery. I've never seen someone drop dead at an arcade because they couldn't get a perfect score on the expert setting.
JTRO (Jason Trost) wears an eye patch and walks around with a perpetual sneer. His gang is in a rivalry with another gang led by L Dubba E (Lee Valmassy). L Dubba E is a gross cheesball who wears a blinged-out grill on his teeth and speaks strictly in obscenities. BTRO (Brandon Barrera) is JTRO's best pal and the best Beat-Beat dancer in the FP (Frazier Park). That is until L Dubba E dethrones BTRO during an epic match that ends with BTRO's legs becoming so wobbly he can't stand up on his own. Finally, his body gives up due to the sheer, unbridled force of Beat-Beat dancing. That's about where the joke's funny runs out. Only now we realize that we still haven't gotten to the opening title sequence. Man, this is going to be a long 83 minutes.
One thing you can say about 'The FP' that while it drags its one joke out as far as it possibly can, and then farther, it sure is earnest in its goal. Earnest to a fault, but they set out to make a movie about gangs who battle each other with arcade dancing and that's exactly what they produced.
Maybe the movie would've been more fun to watch if it had a little more lighthearted attitude. You can still have all the dystopian grime without being so mean-spirited. When the joke wears off, what you're left with is a bunch of loathsome characters repetitively going through the motions and speaking in nauseatingly awful lingo that grows old really fast.
What really troubled me about 'The FP' was that the level of misogyny was so stunningly high that I couldn't believe it. I'm not kidding when I say that the only time women are on screen in this movie is for three reasons: 1) they're being called a "Bitch," 2) they're being smacked by guys, or 3) they're giving blow-jobs. The Trost Brothers (Brandon and Jason) directed this movie and apparently think that this stuff is hilarious. SPOILER ALERT: The end scene even involves the main girl giving JTRO one last BJ as the sun is setting. While the Trosts might think this is a hilarious riff on the one-last-kiss routine that so many movies have used, after we watch these women get beaten, called names, and forced to perform sexual acts against their will for 75 minutes or so, enough is enough. That ending might be funny in a different movie, but it isn't here. Here it's just the icing on top of the degradation that the women in this movie are put through.
Even if you gather a bunch of friends together who will get the joke, I defy you to still be laughing after 15 minutes and you've witnessed more training montages than all the 'Rocky' movies combined. The first training montage is funny. The second is filler. After that it just becomes ridiculous.
'The FP' is an absolute chore to get through. It's so mean-spirited and so unfunny that it's hard to find anything to like about the movie at all. Wait, I take that back, I really like BTRO's giant dancing boots. But that's it.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
This is an Image Entertainment release. The release has almost a Criterion-like look to the packaging and booklet included. The movie comes in a clear Blu-ray keepcase. One cool thing about the packaging is that it sports reversible cover art, so you can have the cover art of the movie's poster, or you can use Tyler Stout's Mondo commissioned poster for 'The FP.' The disc is a 25GB Blu-ray Disc. The booklet is 14 pages, mostly of stills from the shoot. There are a few blurbs provided by Rob Zombie, Mark Neveldine (co-director of the 'Crank' movies), and Brian Taylor (the other 'Crank' co-director). There is also a code provided for a Digital Copy of the movie. This is a Drafthouse Films release and like the Criterion movies this also has a spine number which is 2. 'Bullhead' which is coming to Blu-ray soon will be number 3. Number one was apparently 'Four Lions' but that was released by Magnolia so it doesn't have the spine number art work like this one.
The movie is meant to look gritty so the 1080p presentation does a fairly fine job at producing a grimy future. You can tell, most of the time that the movie was filmed on a very low budget. Blacks appear flat most of the time. Shadows have a crushing aspect to them. Daylight scene feature somewhat nice contrast, and details on faces are easily discernible. Inside the darkened clubs, however, is a totally different story.
Even though the movie was filmed on a very small budget they did a good job at making it appear pretty clean of source noise or other distractions. Banding is evident though. Especially in the outline of lights that cut through dark interiors, and in the light blue of the sky. Softness creeps in fairly often. One shot will be sharp and clear while the very next shot appear soft and gauzy. I didn't expect much from the video to begin with and it came in right around my expectations for a low-budget movie.
For the most part the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track is quite fun to listen to. There are a few synch issues at the beginning of the movie where voices don't seem to line up with the mouths, but it soon subsides and is unnoticeable for the rest of the movie.
There's a ton of techno and dance beats in this movie so the sub-woofer is working overtime as it pumps out the movie's generic techno music from the Beat-Beat songs. I did think that the gunshots in the movie sounded rather tinny and didn't carry much weight to them at all. Surrounds are sufficiently active, providing some ambience in the clubs and during the dance battles. I found the audio track to be a little above my expectations on this one. I was surprised out good the techno beats sounded. Dialogue was usually clear also. It's a pretty decent presentation.
'The FP' tries really, really hard, but it just doesn't have enough to work with. It's like they came up with one idea, "Hey, wouldn't it be funny to make a movie about guys who take Dance-Dance Revolution really seriously?" and then they ran with it without thinking of what else they could put into the movie. So, that's the one joke. The one driving force of the film. As for characters, they're non-existent. Don't even get me started at the way women are treated in this movie. Anyway, if you've seen trailers for it that's about all you need to see. The joke is funny enough to last through the trailer and that's it.