Take a cast that includes Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones), Ryan Kwanten (True Blood), Summer Glau (Firefly, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles), and Steve Zahn…put then in a film about Live Action Role-Players who summon a real demon by mistake and its sure to be a hit, right? Well not so much…Despite a surefire cast and fun idea, Knights of Badassdom fails to live up to its promise.
Kwanten plays Joe, a slacker mechanic and musician wannabe who has just been dumped by his girlfriend. He turns to his buddies Hung (Dinklage) and Eric (Zahn) for support. His buddies live in Hung’s suburban castle which he built after getting a large inheritance. Hung and Eric spend their days engaging in complex LARPing sessions complete with costumes and real medieval weapons. To try to cheer their buddy up, Hung and Eric get Joe wasted and kidnap him to a major LARP game in a nearby state park.
There they meet up with dozens of other players including the beautiful Gwen (Glau). Eric uses an old book of spells he bought on eBay which, unknown to him, belonged to a 16th century sorcerer who tried to use the incantations to summon angels but instead summoned demons. Eric conjures up a succubus in the form of Joe’s former girlfriend who goes on a bloody rampage, killing the gamers. The friends have to survive long enough to send the demon back to Hell.
Knights of Badassdom starts off hitting some high notes and the mix of Kwanten, Dinklage, and Zahn makes for several hilarious scenes early on with jokes generally aimed at stereotypical nerdy game players. Predictble but funny. Kwanten varies little from his character of Jason Stackhouse playing Joe as simple but honest. Dinklage and Zahn throw themselves into their characters as gung-ho role-players who prefer fantasy to real life.
One the demon is suffered the film loses most of its humorous charm and becomes almost a straight horror film the rest of the way. Director Joe Lynch gives the demon no personality whatsoever, missing a chance to keep the film on its light-hearted parody trail. Lynch does make the best of an epic “battle” between two rival factions of LARPers but it’s too little too late. Dinklage, the most fun member of the cast is killed off far too early and Glau does little more than stand around looking hot…which she does quite well, however. A missed opportunity…
Cast Interviews (4:30) - Very short interviews with Peter Dinklage, Steve Zahn, and Summer Glau
Interview with Director Joe Lynch (7:12)
San Diego Comic-Con Panel (48:34) – Most of the cast gathers for a Q&A session with fans at Comic-Con