14th Mar2013

‘The FP’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Jason Trost, Lee Valmassy, Art Hsu, Caitlyn Folley, Nick Principe, Brandon Barrera, James DeBello, Sean Whalen, James Remar | Written by Brandon Trost, Jason Trost | Directed by Brandon Trost, Jason Trost

The-FP-trost

It seems everyone and their uncle is trying to make instant cult movies these days. Whether they be grindhouse-inspired genre flicks or retro movies that throwback to the heyday of VHS, it seems “cult” is the new cool. However trying to make a cult film and succeeding at making a cult film are two very different things…

Thankfully The FP falls into the later category, with what can only be described as a mash-up of Escape From New York and Step Up!

Set in a dystopian future, where a relentless turf war rages. The FP sees two rival gangs feud for control of the rural wasteland Frazier Park (the FP of the title) in the deadly arena of competitive dance-battle video game “Beat-Beat Revelation”. After hometown hero BTRO is slain on the dance floor by rival gang leader L Dubba E, his protege and younger brother JTRO goes into isolation vowing never to dance-battle again. However a year later, and with The FP in ruins, JTRO must find the strength and courage to return to the FP to restore order and to get revenge on L Dubba E, in a dance-off that will leave only one man standing.

I’ll admit, it has taken me some time to finally get around to seeing The FP. I remember reading about the film on Badass Digest back in 2011 when the film was announced as showing at the SXSW Fantastic Fest. In the intervening year or so the film kind of dropped off my radar, as it no doubt has done for many folks in the UK, having sadly never gained distribution over here. However, writer/director Jason Trost has a new film out now, All Superheroes Must Die (look out for a review soon), which I have been very much looking forward too – and thanks to that film hitting iTunes I was reminded of his first feature-length effort, The FP. And I’m so glad I was.

I’m a huge, and I mean HUGE, fan of eighties cinema. Well The FP pays homage to the decade I love with a film that takes subtle hints from some of the 80s best post-apocalyptic movies, feel-good sports movies and action movies and throws them in the mix with modern-day street dance flicks – the soundtrack is even reminiscent of Carpenter’s classic synth score to Escape From New York! It sounds crazy, and it is. But it’s crazy in the best way possible.

Writer/director Jason Trost does a great job, as hero JTRO, of channeling Ralph Macchio’s Karate Kid, Sly Stallone’s Rocky and Kurt Russell’s Snake Plissken all in one dance-hero package; whilst Art Hsu gives a fantastically manic performance as dance-battle announcer and friend-come-cliched-sidekick of JTRO, KCDC. As a side note, just how Hsu managed to keep a straight face in his role I’ll never know – especially when he gives the all-important rousing speech to get JTRO to return to the FP, a speech which informs JTRO (and the audience) that the FP’s drunks have turned to meth in JTRO’s absence because L Dubba E now controls all the alcohol in town. No drunks means no bums and no bums means that no one will feed the ducks down at the park. And a town without ducks is nothing… It’s sheer genius on a ridiculous and absurd scale!

With a superb soundtrack and fantastic cinematography (including some great lighting choices); and homages/references to The Karate Kid, Mad Max, Escape From New York, Rocky and The Warriors to name a few, The FP is a brilliant parody of both video game movies and post-apocalyptic 80s movies and is definitely a must-see.

The film is available on Blu-ray in the US from Drafthouse Films or via iTunes US. Sadly there’s no UK release scheduled as yet…

***** 5/5

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