At first, the idea of being paid to be a professional video gamer seems like the dream job for the unambitious couch potato. Play video games all day!?! Get paid for it!?! Sign me up!
Of course, the reality is never close to the uninformed dream, and that’s why we need a documentary like “FRAG” to put us right. Tackling the world of professional videogaming, “FRAG” is the epic primer on the subject that this underworld of sporting deserves.
Mike Pasley’s documentary does a great job of first introducing us to the idea of professional gaming, and then giving us the reality of the sport as it exists today: stessful tournaments and shady sponsors; fresh faces worn asunder in a sport trying to survive its own infancy. If “King of Kong” was a bit of the history of gaming competition, then “FRAG” is what happens when the amateur champions evolve into the superstars.
From the celebrity status of gaming wunderkind Johnathan “Fatal1ty” Wendel (a young man whose face can be seen adorning gaming magazines the world over) to the under-dog story of Rafik “Lost-Cauze” Bryant, “FRAG” isn’t short on human drama or memorable personalities either. In essence, these are the Michael Jordans and Babe Ruths of a future sport, and in five years when these guys are household names, we’ll all be looking back at “FRAG” as the place where the story was told first. Or not. But for those of us who are as much into video games as we are movies or music (and believe me, they’re more of us each year), these are the superstars of our hobbies; the ones pulling paychecks for what we do in our free time.
If I have any criticism of the film, it has to do with the uneven arc of Rafik’s story, mainly in that one minute he’s the focus, then the film moves away, then we pick up his tale again as if we never left it and… it feels inconsistent. Not that his story is unworthy, and the dramatic pay-offs are not to be missed, but you just wish the transition could’ve been a little smoother.
Ultimately, however, “FRAG” succeeds in almost every capacity that a documentary can: it introduces you to a world you’re unfamiliar with, it educates you, it entertains you and it leaves you wanting more. If you ever wanted to be a pro-gamer, or have friends or family contemplating the same, then you must see this film.