Set in a post-apocalyptic dystopia where disputes are settled between men with steel in their souls and fire in their feet. For here, in the FP, disputes are settled through Beat Beat Revolution. Yup a made-up video game so they wouldn’t have to pay a licensing fee to Dance Dance Revolution. Like it’s prequel the FP, the FP2: Beats of Rage is like the bastard love child of an 80’s straight-to-video epic, and the fever dream of a tweaker.
In this installment, our hero, Jtro, has to travel to the wastelands to secure booze for the FP since the booze mines are drying up. How do you mine booze? Shut up, that’s how! The FP2: Beats of Rage defies your ideas of logic and plot structure and forces you to go along for the surrealistic ride through a haze of dance competitions, training montages, and faux gangster dialogue.
“… our hero, Jtro, has to travel to the wastelands to secure booze for the FP since the booze mines are drying up…”
Now, to be clear, I am actually a fan of the producer/writer/director/star Jason Trost. I not only enjoyed the original film, but also his more serious pictures. How to save us and All superheroes must die. That being said, the best I can say is I didn’t hate the FP2: Beats of Rage. In fact, for the first act, I was thrilled to be back in this strange world. But, to be honest, the allure wears off quickly. I went into the first film knowing nothing and so was blindsided by the absolutely batshit crazy world he created. A world of utterly bizarre characters all talking like street thugs (Jason Trost said in an interview that the dialog was based on the wannabe gangsters he grew up with). A collection of characters whose only ambition was drinking booze, and playing video games for life and death stakes.
But, the sequel just feels like more of the same. Very little new is actually brought to the table. We still have a world ravaged by war (and whose main causality seems to be the English language), we still have the quest for booze, and we still have the fall from grace, the final battle, and the redemption.
I suppose an argument could be made that a sequel that is similar to the original fits into the mold of the 80’s straight to video gestalt. But, while it is fun, it is also unsatisfying. Like your 5th hit of heroin. (Just making an example this in no way is an endorsement of drug culture, stay in school). So what we’ve got here is more like the Rocky films in which there is a set formula to be followed, and less of an expansion of the story.
“…he has found a way to make purposefully “bad” movies for comic effect…”
Mr. Trost’s major strength is that he has found a way to make purposefully “bad” movies for comic effect. When most filmmakers attempt this, there is always this very self-aware air to the work, but not Mr. Trost. There is a real level of love for his work that shines through. He manages to capture the feel of those old, crazy, incompetent stories without a hint of self-aware irony. One cannot help but get the feeling that there is a great deal of love and reverence for the source material. And, in my opinion, this sort of comedy always plays better when it is played straight.
I have recently heard he is working on a third film in the FP saga. I will admit I have mixed feelings. So to use the vernacular of the characters in the film “Shit got me scared yo and that ain’t a’ight.”
The FP2: Beats of Rage (2019) Directed by Jason Trost. Written by Jason Trost. Starring Jason Trost, Nick Principe, Mike Gorman, Art Hsu.
8 out of 10 beats yo