Director: Matt Hullum. Starring: Burnie Burns, Gavin Free, Michael Jones, Colton Dunn, Allie DeBerry, Alan Ritchson. USA, 2015. IMDb: 5.7. Budget: $2.4 million. My rating: 3/4. Action sci-fi comedy about four losers saving the world.
– My calculations show that, scientifically, we’re screwed.
– Guys, guys, guys. Help, help. Hagan, I promise I won’t try and bang your daughter.
It’s going to be a tough one. Probably I have never seen a movie that borrows so much elsewhere while still has its own little charm. Bashed by critics and mostly loved by the public, it holds the record as the highest-funded film through Indiegogo. With a decent amount of
dick weird humour and tons of pure geeky fun, ”Lazer Team” may not always convert quantity into quality, but it’s itching to start a fight. If you adored stuff like ”Paul” or ”Iron Sky” (and I bet you did…) and are ready to embrace “21 Jump Street”-style humour, here’s a new piece of nerdy sci-fi awesomeness. Add ”Galaxy Quest”, some warm 80-s low budget sci-fi feel and here we are.
”Lazer Team” is the first feature film by Rooster Teeth, Austin-based entertainment company known for ”Red vs. Blue” web series, sketches, gags, podcasts etc. The film had a splendid crowdfunding start – the $650.000 goal was achieved in just 10 hours, finally resulting in a $2.4 million budget, thus holding a record for the highest funded film campaign on Indiegogo. Impressive, right? Film by sci-fi fans funded by sci-fi fans for sci-fi fans (oops, sorry, I still haven’t found a better way of saying that). Anyway, I am not really familiar with Rooster Teeth, but wise people say ”Lazer Team” has plenty of nods and cameos to their production.
The plot borrows literally from everywhere it can, but does in such a sincere, funny and lively manner that’s it hard to blame “Lazer Team” for it. In 1977, an alien signal was received. The only one ever recorded. An ancient alien race is going to attack Earth, swearing to destroy all and another ancient alien race makes Earth a special gift that will help to protect the planet. It’s a special costume, made of 4 parts – shield, boots, gun, helmet, each of them has some unique ability. For pure accident, this suit doesn’t go to the so-called Earth Champion (who is an ego-driven guy from Men’s Health cover), but to 4 losers who will have to stand a fight with Vorg champion.
Film’s release caused loud discussions between critics and public. Critics often take out all of their snobism with such movies, while normal guys like us tend to like it – and this is exactly what happened. First of all, I adore Roger Ebert, his influence and heritage. But I do not find always coherent other reviewers who write on rogerebert.com: “The story unfolds in a world where everyone’s worth is weighed in likes, views and friend requests.” ”…jokes involving masturbation, vomit… and dose of gay panic, a plethora of dialogue about banging chicks.” WAT?
Well, at this point I find it honest mention that all four parts of ”American Pie” were rated 3/4.
The screenplay by Burnie Burns (one of the main roles as well) and Math Hollum (director) is a perfect mash-up of all kinds of sci-fi you have ever seen. The acting is often amateur, but it totally matches the overall style of the movie – that’s the point almost all critics missed, because “Lazer Team” has enough irony about itself. The special effects are surprisingly creative and good for a low budget debut feature film, you can really see that collecting more than expected through Indiegogo campaign really helped the film.
Worth watching? It’s a wonderful silly B-movie that delivers exactly what it promised. If you really want to shut off your brain after a hard day and are ready for a non-stop nerdy humour mixed with a funny sci-fi background, “Lazer Team” is just what you need. It succeeds because it never takes itself too seriously, a thing that not many films of this kind have. Still, the quantity here doesn’t always transforms into quality – a more careful humour selection would really benefit the film, so just be ready to let some phrases slip slip through.