I just recently revisited The FP after seeing that a sequel had just been released. For the uninitiated, The FP is a low budget comedy that envisions a future where a video game entitled Beat Beat Revelation is used as a bloodsport to settle differences between rival street gangs. Beat Beat Revelation is a take on the popular Dance Dance Revolution games where the player uses pads to “dance” on to compete with others. In the case of Beat Beat, if someone loses they may actually die for some inexplicable reason. In this case, they are “187’ed” using the local vernacular.
On its face it is a stupid premise. The film came out in 2007 and it is already dated by today’s standards, however the film is actually quite lovable largely in part due to the deadpan sincerity of its characters. Everyone speaks in an exaggerated gangster slang, and when things get too heated eventually someone gets challenged to a “Beat off”.
In The FP the stakes were perilous. The local liquor store had been taken over by young thug “L Dubba E” and because he held the keys to the town’s booze all the bums became sober or turned to other drugs. Without bums who is going to feed the ducks?
What made The FP work for me is that due to its low budget constraints, ‘The FP’ (which stands for Frazier Park) looks more like the result of desperate youth burdened by small town malaise rather than a post apocalyptic wasteland.
Which brings me to its sequel FP2: Beats of Rage.
FP2: Beats of Rage takes place years later. Frazier Park has become the last remaining oasis of “Quatro” (booze) in all the land. Beyond The FP lies “The Wastes” and “The Wrong Side of the Tracks”. These are areas where thugs are “beating off” to the death for any drop of booze that they can get. Things aren’t going well for The FP, as the booze is finally starting to run dry. Our protagonist from the first film, JTRO, has decided he will venture off into The Wastes in search of a famed Beat Beat tournament. The winner of this tournament will win everlasting ‘Quatro.’ JTRO’s only hope, however, is to stop rage dipping and find a way to “RE-NINJ.”
The director of both films, Jason Trost (JTRO), has fully embraced the literal wasteland concept this time around. At first, I was going to hold this against him because the small town bullshit of the first film murdered me pretty hard. The more I watched the film, the more I began to realize how successful this sequel really is. Trost doesn’t screw around with the formula or characters he has created; he maintains the same deadpan sincerity once again, and Trost has also created a formula that works despite its stupid concept. What differentiates The FP from Beats of Rage really comes to approach; the first film follows the formula of something like Rocky or The Karate Kid, whereas FP2: Beats of Rage falls more in line with something like Mortal Kombat… At least to the best of its abilities.
NOTE: I did not care for The FP the first time I watched it, however it was one of those films that I felt happier about the more I thought of it. The FP apparently has a rabid cult following and I can understand that. I’m not going to lose my shit if I don’t see it again, but I’ll be happy to all the same. As for FP2: Beats of Rage, I guess where the viewer will stand on it will be based on how invested they are with the first film. If you like the first film, I’m guessing you won’t be disappointed with the second.