FP2: Beats of Rage, or, what the hell did I just watch and why did I enjoy it so much?

So, one of Nicole’s friends is really, really into The FP, a film that I haven’t seen yet so I won’t even try to describe it. When the sequel, FP2: Beats of Rage was playing in town, she absolutely insisted that we go and see it with her (even though she’d already seen it several times).

I’m glad we went. This was one of the oddest films I’ve ever seen. It’s the Mother of All High-Concept Films. In what is presumably a post-apocalyptic future, conflicts are settled by the bloodsport to end all bloodsports: A dance-based video game. If that sounds strange, well, you’re right, but it doesn’t play out the way you’re probably thinking.

Going in to this film, I was sarcastically wondering if I’d be able to follow the plot if I hadn’t seen the first one. As it turned out, I really do wish I’d seen the original and plan to do so soon. There’s a lot more world-building than you would probably expect from a film of this…genre?…and budget. Some of it seems to have come from The FP, but I get the sense that there’s more backstory here than ever makes it to the actual story in a weirdly Tolkien-esque sort of way.

FP2:BoR makes an explicit nod to Tolkien, and to The Empire Strikes Back, and Big Trouble in Little China, and Mad Max, and probably a bunch of other references I either didn’t get or missed from laughing so hard. This is a really, really funny movie, and it’s funny because this really sophomoric concept is played absolutely straight by everyone in the film. There’s no winking, there’s no irony, there’s just a bunch of actors playing out an epic as conceived by a teenager as though it was a serious film.

I found it hilarious. I can completely understand if some people don’t. I don’t think this film is for everyone. But for people who like this particular type of absurdist humor, writer/director/star Jason Trost really hit it out of the park.