By Robert Horton Herald Movie Critic
It’s not always easy to judge, let alone recommend, movies are intended for a tiny cult of potential viewers. But on its own terms, “The FP,” a low-budget slice of nonsense, succeeds almost completely.
Although it’s not set in the past, the film looks and feels like one of the zillions of cheapjack 1980s and ’90s movies that cluttered the cable airwaves for years and influenced a generation of young minds.
In the rundown town of Frazier Park (inevitably, “the FP” in pseudo-street parlance), rival street gangs gather to face off in dramatic competition involving a video game/dance contest called Beat-Beat Revelation.
If that doesn’t ring a bell, let’s just say the game looks suspiciously similar to Dance Dance Revolution, the video game/dance contest that became a phenomenon after being introduced in the late 1990s. You know the one: You watch a screen, stand on a platform, and stomp on colored panels at exactly the right moment in the music.
The ridiculousness of this premise comes close to the actual craziness of the plotlines of real movies. Plus, we’ve got a hero (co-director Jason Trost) who walks around with an eyepatch, like Kurt Russell in “Escape From New York,” and villains with totally rad headbands and gold chains.
Trost and his brother Brandon (an experienced cinematographer) know their references. They’ve got story beats (and even camera angles) that absolutely capture this particular brand of rancid, violent, sexist movie. And yet the up-to-date language — profane and obnoxious to a fault — reminds us that this isn’t just a re-creation, but an odd hybrid.
That language, peppered with an almost constant use of the f-word, doesn’t just send up movies but an entire street lingo that sounds really dumb when you string a bunch of it back to back. In one moment of heartfelt sincerity, the leading lady (dynamic Caitlyn Folley) declares to the hero, “I wanted to tell you, you’ve always been more than a slash on my list, yo. I mean, for reals.”
As soon as you’ve finished weeping from that touching moment, “The FP” offers up the kind of training montage — complete with terrible music — that became obligatory in the post-“Rocky” era. Good stuff.
In short, no cliche is left unturned. And for the one-tenth of one percent of the audience that will savor these gags, this movie is going to look pretty funny. Nobody else should go near it, but that’s all right. It’s not for them, anyway.
“The FP” (3½ stars)
A low-budget parody of a certain kind of really awful 1980s/’90s-style gang-turf movie, with rivals competing at a particularly silly kind of video game that strongly resembles Dance Dance Revolution. The makers of this profane nonsense really know their references, and for the small band of cultists who will savor the clichés, the movie’s going to be pretty funny.
Rated: Not rated; probably R for language, violence, nudity.
Showing: SIFF Film Center.