Feature follows three best friends (Peter Dinklage, Steve Zahn and Ryan Kwanten) and dedicated LARPers (Live Action Role Players) as they take to the woods to re-enact a dungeons and dragons-like scenario fresh out of the mythical Middle Ages. Trouble arises after they unwittingly conjure up some serious evil in the form of a blood-lusting Succubus, from the pits of hell. Fantasy and reality collide on the Fields of Evermore in an all-out epic battle of make-believe wizards, demons and assorted mythical creatures. Their courage and friendship is put to the test as they attempt to vanquish the evil they have summoned. Will the group prove to simply be foam sword-wielding LARPers, or true 'Knights of Badassdom?'
With a great selections of actors who all cut their teeth on some of the best fantasy TV shows of the last decade and a fantastic premise Knights of Badassdom is about fifty-million times better than I expected it to be. There’s quite a lot on offer here, the plot takes a fair amount of back grounding and for those of you out there too cool to know what LARP-ing and D&D are there isn’t really any point you giving Badassdom a try; but if you love Game of Thrones, World of Warcraft and slightly absurd comedy then this film is an absolute joy.
With a cast that includes True Blood’s Jason (the gorgeous Ryan Kwanten), GoT’s Peter Dinkladge, Firefly’s Summer Glau, British TV actor Tom Hopper, Treme’s Steve Zahn and Adventureland’s Margarita Levieva I knew that there would be something special about this film and the ridiculous combination of fantasy, comedy and horror only served to make me even more intrigued.
The film follows Joe (Kwanten), who having been dumped by his girlfriend is convinced to take part in a Live Action Role Playing session by his two bff’s Hung (Dinkladge) and Eric (Zahn) where he meets the beautiful and dedicated LARPr Gwen (Glau) and things seem to be on the up. However when their leader, Gwen’s cousin Gunter, declares that Joe must cast a magic spell to imbue himself with the life force of the player he is replacing things begin to go awry because the spell book, provided by Hung, turns out to be an ancient relic filled with dark and mysterious magic. Accidently summoning a succubus – who takes on the form of Joe’s ex Beth (Levieva) – the group find their game of fantasy suddenly becoming a reality.
What makes the Knights of Badassdom so entertaining is the dedication the writers and directors have made to the undeniably ridiculous plot; in my experience the best fantasy and horror is always that which has been thoroughly thought out and planned and which is treated with complete seriousness when played out. The comedy in this feature doesn’t come from how unreal the story may be – though of course this does provide a real element of pleasure – in fact what makes this film so entertaining is the sincerity with which it is presented. You love the characters, you believe the premise and you care about the outcome; the fact that it is all so absurd doesn’t matter after all of that.
Colourful, exciting, fantastical and full of joy Knights of Badassdom won’t be for everyone, but those with a sense of humour and an interest in the make believe are sure to love this picture.