HORROR YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: KNIGHTS OF BADASSDOM (2013)

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KNIGHTS OF BADASSDOM (2013)

Fun comedy/horror tells the tale of slacker mechanic Joe (Ryan Kwanten), whose beautiful girlfriend Beth (Margarita Levieva) dumps him after tiring of his unambitious ways. To cheer him up, his friends Eric (Steve Zahn) and Hung (Peter Dinklage) take him, reluctantly, to a live action fantasy role play game for the weekend that they attend regularly. There Eric performs a ‘spell’ to activate Joe’s status as a player, but uses an old spell book he bought on E-Bay instead of the regulation spells that are part of the game. Unknown to any of them, the book is real and it’s spells can summon actual demons and thus Eric unwittingly summons a succubus in the guise of Beth (also Margarita Levieva), who begins to literally eat any fantasy role player who crosses her sexy/hungry path. Once this grave error is discovered, it’s up to the three friends and the sexy Gwen (Summer Glau) to find and destroy this very real monster and halt the bloody body count that is steadily spiraling out of control.

As directed by Joe Lynch (the fun and gruesome Wrong Turn 2) Knights Of Badassdom is a fun and, at times, delightfully blood-soaked flick that has a lot of fun with not only the horror conventions, but the fantasy role-play world as well. The clever script by Kevin Dreyfuss and Matt Wall never makes fun of the subjects it covers, but playfully pokes them in the ribs while also being it’s own horror with generous doses of laughs. And there is a lot of fun to be had here and it’s only in it’s finale where it sadly loses it’d grip a bit. After all we’ve been through with the lovable cast of eccentric characters, we kind of expected something with a bit more impact or at least a lot funnier. It’s amusing, but there are far better bits throughout and the ending obviously should have been the best bit of all and it’s not. The FX are a little mixed. The visuals are satisfactory digital FX, but not great. The gore FX, however, are top notch and not only are well executed, but very plentiful.

The cast all have a good time playing their oddball characters such as Zahn’s would-be sorcerer and Dinklage’s stoner who backup Kwanten’s more down to earth Joe. The ladies are enchanting as well with Glau being a strong and beautiful ‘pretend’ warrior woman and Levieva giving vampy life to both bitchy girlfriend and seductive monster. Nice to see Adventureland’s “Lisa P” in a role she can sink her teeth into…literally! The whole cast seems to have a really good chemistry and work very well together and it helps make the relationships in the film more believable and thus more entertaining. The script would not have worked so well if the cast didn’t make the characters so much fun to watch and they do.

Overall I had a good time with Knights of Badassdom, I laughed quite a lot, but just wish they had come up with a climatic confrontation that was worthy of all the fun that preceded it. Again, it’s not a bad ending, it just seemed weak after some of the consistent cleverness that came before it. Overall, I would still very much recommend this fun little flick. I had a really good time and the ending certainly doesn’t ruin a delightfully breezy and gory comedy/horror. Just be a little forgiving for the few times it stumbles as, more often then not, Badassdom takes it’s story and gleefully runs with it. Also stars Community’s Dani Pudi as one of the LARP players named Lando. Fun flick that would make a nice paring with Tucker & Dale vs. Evil for an entertaining horror/comedy film fest.

3 sexy succubus… or is it succubi?

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STALLONE PICKS EXPENDABLES 3 HELMER/ RED HILL (2010) REVIEW

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Sly Stallone has picked Patrick Hughes to take the directing reigns of the third installment of the Expendables action series. Hughes wrote and directed the intense and moody Australian thriller Red Hill. Personally, I really liked Red Hill and really like this outside the box choice! For those curious here is my review of Red Hill…

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Australian thriller is a violent tale of a young cop who moves to a small backwoods town with his pregnant wife in the hopes of a quieter life… until an escaped murderer comes to town with vengeance on his mind. Red Hill is one of those movies that makes you overlook it’s minor flaws due to the storytelling skill of the director and the genuine performances of his cast. Director Patrick Hughes gives his outlaw “Jimmy” (Tom E. Lewis) an almost Michael Meyers persona as he desends upon the quiet town of Red Hill and it’s terrified police and citizens, yet, makes him surprisingly human when all is said and done. Young Officer Cooper (Ryan Kwanten) appears a coward at first but, by the end credits, we see the real man beneath who has the courage to do what’s right, when it is the right thing to do. And that’s what is best about this Aussie gem, Hughes makes makes us think we are watching one kind of movie and then suddenly we realize there’s more to it then meets the eye. To say any more would be to ruin a real pleasant surprise.  ***1/2