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Knights of Badassdom (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

March 30, 2014 by  



knightsofbadassdom

Joe Lynch’s comedy/horror film has its humorous moments but in terms of the storyline as a whole, “Knights of Badassdom” is a campy independent film that is reminiscent of the campy summer film of the ’80s.  Whether or not that is a good or bad thing is up to you.  But for me, it was OK.

Images courtesy of © Knights of Badassdom Productions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Knights of Badassdom

FILM RELEASE: 2013

DURATION: 86 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, 2:40:1 aspect ratio, English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, Subtitles: English SDH

COMPANY: eOne Entertainment

RATED: R (Horror Violence Language Throughout, Some Drug Use and Sexuality)

Release Date: April 1, 2014

Directed by Joe Lynch

Screenplay by Kevin Dreyfuss, Matt Wall

Produced by Mark Burton, Kevin Dreyfuss, Matt Wall

Executive Producer: Rich Cowan, MikeElizalde, Daniel  J. Heffner, Ketura Kestin, Rizwan Virk

Music by Bear McCreary

Cinematography by Sam McCurdy

Edited by Howard E. Smith

Casting by Nancy Nayor

Production Design by Vincent DeFelice

Set Decoration by Dan Beyer

Costume Design by Lisa Caryl-Vukas

Starring:

Peter Dinklage as Hung

Ryan Kwanten as Joe

Steve Zahn as Eric

Summer Glau as Gwen

Margarita Levieva as Beth

Khanh Doan as Andie

Michael Gladis as King Diamond 

Danni Pudi as LAndo

Brian Posehn as Gilberto

Jimmi Simpson as Ronnie Kwok

Douglas Tait as Abominog

Joshua Malina as Travis

Tom Hpper as Gunther

A group of costumed “Live Action Role Players,” dressed as knights, elves and other medieval characters, take to the woods for “The Battle of Evermore.” But when a make-believe wizard casts a spell from an ancient book, purchased on eBay, fantasy becomes reality as a powerful demon manifests itself. Can these pretend warriors muster the courage to save themselves and the rest of humanity?

From first-time director Joe Lynch and screenwriters Kevin Dreyfuss and Matt Wall comes  the horror/comedy/action independent film titled “Knights of Badassdom”.

Filmed back in 2010, the film would star Ryan Kwanten (“True Blood”, “Summerland”, “Home and Away”), Steve Zahn (“Dallas Buyers Club”, “Sahara”, “A Perfect Getaway”), Peter Dinklage (“The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince of Caspian”, “Game of Thrones”, “The Station Agent”), Summer Glau (“Angel”, “Firefly”, “Serenity”, “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles”), Danny Pudi (“Community”, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”), Jimmi Simpson (“Date Night”, “White House Down”, “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter”), Margarita Levieva (“Revenge”, “Adventureland”), Joshua Malina (“The First Time”, “The West Wing”, “Scandal”) and many more.

And now the film will be released on Blu-ray courtesy of eOne Entertainment.

“Knights of Badassdom” revolves around three friends, Joe (portrayed by Ryan Kwanten), Eric (portrayed by Steve Zahn) and Hung (portrayed by Peter Dinklage).  While Eric and Hung are hardcore among the Live Action Role Play (LARP) community, they try to help their buddy Joe out.

Joe (an aspiring death metal singer) recently broke up with his girlfriend Beth (portrayed by Margarita Levieva).

Down in the dumps, his friends who all enjoyed “Dungeons and Dragons” with him, try to pull him into a LARP contest.

With other major LARP in attendance including hardcore’s such as Ronnie (portrayed by Jimmi Simpson) and always serious Gunther (portrayed by Brett Gipson), for Joe, it seems like it’s going to be a long weekend.  But fortunately, a beautiful Gwen, sister of Gunther is also taking part in her first LARP.

And while everyone expects to act out a game of mythical Middle Ages, unbeknown to many of the contestants is that real magic from a spell book was being used and Joe’s ex-girlfriend Beth has been turned into a Succubus and she’s out for blood.

As the group tries to enjoy a weekend of LARP’ing, who will survive by the end of the day to stop the succubus?

VIDEO:

“Knights of Badassdom” is presented in 2:40:1 aspect ratio and in 1080p High Definition. With a lot of the shots done outdoors, lighting is very well-done, the film is colorful with skintones being natural, closeups including the bloody organs are also well-detailed, while black tones are nice and dark.  I didn’t notice any banding issues or artifacts during my viewing of the film.

For the most part, picture quality for “Knights of Badassdom” looked very good in HD!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Knights of Badassdom” is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD MA. While the film is primarily a dialogue-driven film, once you get towards the more horror/action elements towards the end of the film, then there is good use of the surround channels.  But for the most part, the lossless soundtrack is good.

Subtitles are in English SDH.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Knights of Badassdom” comes with the following special features:

  • Audio Commentary – Featuring short interviews with Peter Dinklage, Summer Glau, Steve Zahn, Director Joe Lynch.
  • Horr-o-medy – Featuring two very short promos for “Knightsof Badassdom”.
  • San Diego Comic-Con Panel – (48:34) Featuring the SDCC panel with director Joe Lynch, Ryan Kwanten, Jimmi Simpson, Danny Pudi, Michael Gladis, Margarita Laviva and Summer Glau and Peter Dinklage.
  • Theatrical Trailer – Theatrical trailer for “Knights of Bassdom”.

Many years ago, I created a convention in California that is still ongoing today.

I remember when I was asked by a group of men to invest in a room for LARP (Live Action Role Play).  At the time, I had no idea and so they wanted to do a visual stage version of LARP in order for me to consider of having a LARP room at the convention.

While I was not necessarily won over, because I enjoy RPG video games and realize that perhaps there are people who enjoy LARP-ing despite the fact that I wasn’t at all into it, I gave it a chance.  And sure enough, people came out to fill the seats during the convention and it was my first foray into seeing the following of LARP.

And so, when I heard that a film was being made on the subject and it would star quite a few notable names, suffice to say, I was amused and fascinated to see how the film would be.

“Knights of Badassdom” is not an easy film for me to review.  To use RPG’s as an example, It’s like a “Final Fantasy” fan playing “Legend of Morrowind”.  You understand the aspect of the game and you are entertained by elements of the game but yet there are things that go over your head.

There is no doubt that the film portrays LARP as a popular geek game of men and women who want to re-enact the Middle Ages and some who may go as far as to believing they are from the Middle Age (I actually knew a person who I went to school with that was too hardcore into LARP’ing that he insisted that he spoke with a British accent all his life).  The whole LARP part of the film which is the first half was something I was not really getting into at all.  It was like watching Steve Zahn’s bad “Strange Wilderness”film and while you chuckle a few times, you either enjoy it or you don’t. I on the other hand, was not enjoying it.

From watching actor Ryan Kwanten trying to be a death metal singer (which is actually quite funny, when you think about it) and a group of adults LARP’ing, the problem was the first half portrays itself like an ’80s summer camp comedy films minus the sex.  By the second half, the film becomes more like the summer camp horror films with the bloody organs and succubus sucking the blood out of LARP’ers.

But as a fan who is into geek things myself, you can’t help but be supportive of the film if you have been a fan of the work of Ryan Kwanten, Steve Zahn, Summer Glau, Peter Dinklage and many others.  Part of the fascination was to see all these talent in this campy film.

The Blu-ray for the most part looks gorgeous.  A lot of shots were done outdoor and closeups feature great detail, skin tones look natural and colors were perfect.  I didn’t notice any problems with picture quality and as for its lossless soundtrack, it’s not super immersive but it worked.  Especially for the more action-intense scenes in the film.  You also get a few interviews plus the very cool 2011 SDCC Q&A panel that made everyone excited about the film, until any news for it became silent, as the film awaited for a distributor for the next few years.

Overall, “Knights of Badassdom” may not be for everyone, but it does reach out to a niche group.  Afterall, if there are films about Trekkers, Star Wars fans to even the game of chess, why not have film about people who LARP?

Joe Lynch’s comedy/horror film has its humorous moments but in terms of the storyline as a whole, “Knights of Badassdom” is a campy independent film that is reminiscent of the campy summer film of the ’80s.  Whether or not that is a good or bad thing is up to you.  But for me, it was OK.






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