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    Knights of Badassdom Blu-ray Review

    Blu-ray

    Apr 17 2014 08:06 AM | Todd Erwin in DVD & Blu-ray Reviews
    Sporting what many would consider a top cast, including Ryan Kwanten (HBO’s True Blood), Steve Zahn (ABC’s Mind Games), Summer Glau (Firefly), Danny Pudi (NBC’s Community), Jimmi Simpson (A&E’s Breakout Kings), and Peter Dinklage (HBO’s Game of Thrones), director Joe Lynch’s Knights of Badassdom manages to waste those talents and nearly 85 minutes of its audience’s time with a film that should have been a comedic goldmine. Instead, it’s a movie that can’t decide if it wants to be a comedy, an actioner, or horror, and tries to play it safe by being all of the above.

    Title Info:

    • Studio: Other
    • Distributed By: N/A
    • Video Resolution: 1080P/AVC
    • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
    • Audio: English 5.1 DD, English 5.1 DTS-HDMA
    • Subtitles: English SDH
    • Rating: R
    • Run Time: 1 Hr. 25 Min.
    • Package Includes: Blu-ray
    • Case Type: Blu-ray keepcase with cardboard sleeve
    • Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
    • Region: A
    • Release Date: 04/01/2014
    • MSRP: $24.98

    The Production Rating: 2.5/5

    Auto mechanic and metal musician Joe (Ryan Kwanten) finds himself getting dumped by his girlfriend, Beth (Margarita Levieva), who is looking for someone with real career goals. Joe finds himself moping in the house he shares with his two friends, stoner Hung (Peter Dinklage) and accidental millionaire (and fellow stoner and would-be wizard) Eric (Steve Zahn). As a way to keep Joe from spiraling downwards into self-loathing and depression over the breakup, Eric and Hung get Joe intoxicated and bring him along for their weekend LARP retreat, led by Ronnie Kwok (Jimmi Simpson). For those unfamiliar with the term LARP, it stands for Live Action Role Playing, essentially Dungeons and Dragons, but acted out in a field with foam weapons. Joe grudgingly goes along with his friends, especially after he meets their sole female team mate, Gwen (Summer Glau). During Joe’s initiation ceremony, Eric reads a chant from a book he purchased on eBay, and unknowingly summons a succubus that takes on the form of Joe’s former girlfriend, Beth, who manifests into a demonic creature, wreaking havoc on the various LARP teams. It is up to Joe and Gwen to save the LARPing community, and possibly all mankind, for total annihilation.

    Knights of Badassdom had so many things going for it, that it’s kind of sad that so many things ended up working against it. As a comedy, its not all that funny (even with its very talented comedic cast), partially because the script by Kevin Dreyfuss and Matt Wall and direction by Joe Lynch doesn’t want to offend the LARPing community (who helped enormously during production by supplying extras), which is obviously ripe for satire. Much of the comedic talent in the film are killed off before the audience ever gets a chance to know them (especially Danny Pudi’s character of Lando). As a horror film, it’s not all that scary, as we’ve pretty much seen it all before, although the gory make-up effects are quite well-done. The same can be said of the action sequences, which are not all that exciting, and the slow, methodical pacing makes this rather short 85-minute film seem much longer than it actually is. To be fair to Director Joe Lynch, it has been documented that apparently there were some disagreements between Lynch and the producers, and that the cut that appears on this Blu-ray is the producers’ vision of the film.

    Video Rating: 3.5/5 3D Rating: NA

    The AVC-encoded 1080p transfer retains the film’s intended 2.40:1 theatrical aspect ratio, with well-saturated colors and decent contrast. The image shines during its daytime scenes, but gets somewhat soft and murky during the obviously-lit night time sequences (where the last two-thirds of the film takes place).

    Audio Rating: 3.5/5

    Two soundtracks are provided, a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and a lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 (at 640 kbps). The DTS-HD track provided clear dialogue with some nice atmospheric effects and fairly good dynamic range for its music score. Lower frequencies is where the soundtrack seems to suffer, in that most viewers would normally expect more oomph from their subwoofer during action sequences and heavy metal outbursts.

    Special Features: 3/5

    The special features consist mostly of webisode-style making-of featurettes, a trailer, and the San Diego Comic-Con Panel (from 2011).

    Peter Dinklage Interview (1080p; 1:19)

    Summer Glau Hottie Montage (1080p; 1:59): Not what you think - it’s just an interview piece.

    Steve Zahn Interview (1080p; 1:05)

    Horr-O-Medy 1 (1080p; 1:11): The cast and crew discuss the balance of comedy and horror, as well as the make-up and special effects work in the film in this two-part featurette.

    Horr-O-Medy 2 (1080p; 1:05)

    Director Joe Lynch Interview (480i; 7:12)

    San Diego Comic-Con Panel (1080i; 48:34): Moderated by Anthony Breznican of Entertainment Weekly, this panel from 2011 features interviews and audience Q&A with Director Joe Lynch, Ryan Kwanten, Danny Pudi, Jimmi Simpson, Michael Gladis, Margarita Levieva, Summer Glau, and Peter Dinklage.

    Theatrical Trailer (1080p; 2:32)
    Theatrical Trailer


    Overall Rating: 3/5

    Knights of Badassdom is a film that had a huge fan base before the film was completed, and they will likely be thrilled that the film was finally released after a two-year delay. The final result is an uneven mix of comedy, horror, and adventure that never quite gels, and ultimately wastes a very talented cast.

    Reviewed by: Todd Erwin
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