“I challenge you to a beat off!”
The FP really doesn’t need a huge introduction. It’s an insanely stupid idea that is actually somewhat entertaining. It serves its purpose by not pretending to be anything that it's not, in other words, it knows it sucks.
Frazier Park is home to two of the most ferocious gangs around. They party all night and eventually go to war one-on-one style by way of a "beat off." One of the gang members, JTRO (Jason Trost), loses his good pal BTRO (Brandon Barrera) who dies in a beat off and so he decides to disappear for a while. Knowing he’s needed to restore balance (I guess), KCDC finds JTRO and brings him back into the fold. Quickly JTRO stumbles across L Dubba E (Lee Valmassy) the man responsible for beating BTRO. With JTRO's love interest, Stacy (Caitlyn Folley), caught in the middle JTRO decides it's time to take L Dubba E down to avenge his friend and get the girl.
What could you expect from The FP. The tag line is “In a post apocalyptic future, two rival gangs fight for control of Frazier Park by playing 'Beat Beat Revelation,' a deadly version of Dance, Dance, Revolution.” Many people decided to visit this movie with the expectations that they'd get a few laughs, but even those giggles are few and far between throughout. Even though I myself laughed out loud but a few times, something about The FP is entertaining enough to call it watchable, and even more bizarre, entertaining.
The plot of The FP is terrible with the idea of two people playing a dance game for not only control of Frazier Park but to remain alive is wildly stupid in its own right. the path the movie takes to get our so called hero back to the top is even dumber. There’s fantastic 80’s music mixed with modern style techno, there’s constant threats of the sexual nature, there are plenty of terrible puns and remarks throughout the entire film, and did I mention the concept is two characters are building up for a DDR “beat off?”
The acting is probably what brings The FP to an interesting level, but that doesn’t mean it's good. It means the actors knew what they were getting into and acted just as expected to really match the material. The cast works well together, and that does set the movie up for some success. Jason Trost knows what he’s doing with the material especially since he’s partly responsible for it. His gang, portrayed by Art Hsu and Nick Principe, do a great job meshing with Trost. Scenes with those three make it come off as if this is a serious movie. Finally, Caitlyn Folley’s over the top weirdness is done well and, weird enough, tasteful in a white-trash, trailer park whore kind of way. But then there’s the enemy; L Dubba E’s character is terrible in every sense. Lee Valmassy is over the top and annoying. His character makes no sense, especially those roped into his circle. His love interest is there because she woke up to him one morning and said “you know, what the f*ck” oh well. His status is built on this street cred he often mentions that shouldn’t be anywhere around him or his laughable gang.
Overall, what makes The FP a watchable flick? Maybe it was the build-up; the hilarious trailers that setup the film. Maybe it's the fact that the concept is wildly original although completely stupid. Maybe it’s the film's ability to suck you in and make you think you’re watching an actual gang style turf war movie even though scene after scene I’m thinking WTF. I don’t know, probably a combination of all three. Either way, the stupid plot and subpar concept come together to make The FP an interesting flick, even with fewer laughs than I was expecting.
The AVC 1080p encode and the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 tracks are something I was worried about before seeing The FP. The evidence of a possible subpar Blu-ray were abundant due to the fact this is a low budget film with even lower ambitions. Mix that with the fact that this is only Drafthouse Film's second release, and you can see why I was worried. Thankfully Drafthouse is all about the quality movie experience and they deliver on the presentation here with spine number two.
The FP looks fantastic on Blu-ray with a very robust, detailed, and clear presentation. Colors are amazing, even with the movies neutral and muted background. The gritty look of the tough streets are in the background during every gang get-together, but the bright colors of clothing, accessories, and the out of place DDR screen shows what a wonderful palette this movie really has. Flesh tones look natural, and characters are full of detail as stubble, wrinkles, and other imperfections are incredibly clear. Backgrounds, for the most part, are great and add depth giving the image a good three-dimensional look. There are problems that do show up occasionally, especially in battle sequences. Softness of the backgrounds take away the dimension and make those scenes look too smooth and fake. Other than that The FP is a winner in terms of Blu-ray video.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is impressive as well, but not as good as the video. The FP sounds a bit front heavy even when scenes “get real.” Dialogue is clear and audible with every conversation coming across clear. Music is a great throwback to the 80’s but tracks aren’t powerful on the rear speakers. Sound effects do mimic what's on screen, but once again the front speakers sound much more robust than the rear speakers. It's a solid sounding track that will make you think of the 80’s, but unfortunately The FP isn’t as well rounded as it could have been.
The FP has a light amount of extras, once again a category I was worried about due to a newer studio releasing films. The creators of the movie, the Trost Brothers, have an interesting audio commentary track and there's a making of and another look behind the scenes.
The FP is something else, something completely different than what we’ve seen this year for sure. The movie isn’t for everyone, probably not for most anyone but it has a wild entertainment factor to it that makes it interesting enough. The Blu-ray for The FP is strong with a solid video presentation and a better than expected audio track. The light extras won’t detour anybody who wants this movie, just be weary and rent before you buy.