Comic-Con 2011: 'Knights of Badassdom' Wields Action and Laughs
by Ethan Anderton
July 23, 2011
Though the comedy Role Models dabbled in the world of live-action role playing (or LARPing), a new comedic action adventure invaded Comic-Con this year that puts these medieval pretenders front and center in a bloody, heavy metal driven romp. The appropriately titled Knights of Badassdom crashed into Hall H this weekend, and while we haven't heard much about this film, the unveiling of the first trailer and a clip from the film proves our waiting will not be in vain. With a cast that includes Peter Dinklage, Ryan Kwanten and Summer Glau, this is one of those comedies that geeks will love, but everyone will enjoy.
Since we haven't heard much about the film itself, here's the official synopsis to refresh your memory:
In this humorous fantasy adventure from, Joe (Ryan Kwanten) is a heavy metal rocker who's just gone through a painful breakup with his girlfriend, Beth (Margarita Levieva). His concerned roommates (Steve Zahn, Peter Dinklage) kidnap him to their LARP (Live Action Role Playing) gathering, where he enters a realm of fantasy escapism in which pretend knights, elves, and barbarians clash with foam weaponry on a mock battlefield. When Joe's "sorcerer" roommate (Zahn) inadvertently summons a deadly succubus that takes Beth's seductive form, bloody reality crashes down on their fantasy world. Once LARPers start to turn up dead, the make-believe wizards and warriors must become the real-life heroes they have been pretending to be in order to conquer the evil that has been unleashed.
With plenty of gore, action and laughs, the film has the tone of Shaun of the Dead, but instead of zombies we have the sultry succubus from hell played by Margarita Levieva. One shot of her licking and eating a bloody heart will tell you just how much of a force she is to be reckoned with. Of course, these guys are quite a misfit gang of warriors with Dinklage likely to steal every single scene he's given (like the one pictured above that was shown in Hall H) as a narcotics loving LARPer who always seems to be pissed off or putting on a front for someone, mostly the lovely Ms. Glau. Of course, "Community" star Danny Pudi and "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" star Jimmi Simpson certainly add to the hilarity of the film as well.
What makes this comedy stand out from the laughs that came with the Role Models take on the LARP community, is there seems to be a lot less mocking and a lot more love going into the characters and the way they play the game. Shooting in Spokane, Washington, director Joe Lynch talked about their collaboration with the local LARP Alliance which can be seen throughout the film as their members make-up the extras in the game environment. It's this kind of involvement that makes the project seem like much more of a sincere representation of LARPing, rather than the stereotypical, mostly caricatured display shown in movies.
As of now, my only reservation is that the production value and scale of the film sort of feels a little cheap. No, this isn't a big budget studio film, but I feel like if this project was given the budget of the less impressive fantasy comedy Your Highness, then this would be a definitely home run. While the laughs are there, I'm afraid that the danger our unlikely heroes find themselves in won't necessarily feel all that epic. Of course, the promise of a last-stand-at-dawn kind of speech from "Mad Men" star Michael Gladis playing King Diamond of the LARP community does sound like a win.
Honestly, when it comes to the scale of the film I'm only nitpicking though, as the trailer, complete with a heavy metal soundtrack, really made a splash with the audience in Hall H and got me excited for the flick. Foam sword clashing, a sexy but dangerous succubus from hell, a mushroom addicted Peter Dinklage, and eye candy for both sides of the aisle coming in the form of Ryan Kwanten and Summer Glau seem like more than enough reason to get excited for the film. No specific release date has been set, but the film is supposed to hit sometime in the spring of 2012 and you can see the first trailer right here.