I’m not a Game of Thrones fan (I know, I know, give it a break). My wife and I tried watching it at least five times, and each time we’d reach episode four – and that would be it. Perhaps one day we’ll give it another shot. Yet it’s my complete lack of awareness of all things “Thrones” that propelled me to review Ara Paiaya’s terrible-on-every-conceivable-level Purge of Kingdoms, a self-declared Unauthorized Game of Thrones Parody.
Now, I firmly believe that a good parody, like a good adaptation, has to be its own entity, so those unfamiliar with the source material may still get at least a modicum of enjoyment out of watching it. Just look at Young Frankenstein, Airplane!, This is Spinal Tap, Shaun of the Dead or Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story – instead of simply emphasizing moments from the films they parody, those classics stand on their own, with fleshed-out characters and delightfully zany, tongue-in-cheek humor.
“…a stranger has been glimpsed on his land – turns out to be Kocky of the West…”
Clearly, the filmmaking team behind Purge of Kingdoms didn’t study those films. Their resulting feature – if you can even call it that – is more in line with Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer’s dire pseudo-parodies (see, or rather don’t: Disaster Movie). Akin to that filmmaking duo, Paiaya seems to have just taken bits right out of the HBO hit show, exaggerated them for supposedly comedic effects, and spiced up the facile proceedings with a plethora of flatulence and cock jokes.
From the very first few seconds, we are assaulted with annoyingly self-aware narration, the sight of lions mating, a fart joke, an anus gag, and a blowjob reference. Hey – no one can blame Paiaya for not warning his audience of the atrociousness to come. King Barbo (Agnus Macfayden) is informed that a stranger has been glimpsed on his land – turns out to be Kocky of the West (Prince Fielder), a rapper/prophet of sorts, whose advice is: “If ya’ll wanna be in more books and TV shows, ya’ll gotta stop killing each other.” The King sets out on a mission to “restore the peace [they] have once enjoyed,” just to be reminded by his servant that there has never been peace. So Barbo decides to “burn everyone alive” during the upcoming Purge Fest 3000, while his own wife, Queen Cursey (Anna Hutchison), schemes to overthrow him.
“If a fart gag makes your sides split with laughter, go right ahead…”
That’s the outline in a nutshell. I hesitate to dig deeper into the supposed “plot,” as any semblance of it is so deeply buried beneath all the prepubescent toilet “humor,” sped-up slapstick sequences (a-la Benny Hill), offensive jokes, cheap stabs at political relevance (including a reoccurring Trump, a.k.a. Lord Trumpet of Orange) and anachronisms, only the most jaded audiences will endure the entirety of its 80-minute running length. Jarringly edited, poorly shot, lurching from one sight gag to the next, Purge of Kingdoms is not aided by its cast. Uniformly hamming it up to the max, none of the actors honestly have the chops even to chew scenery properly – some visibly crack up during certain moments. Oh, and don’t expect dragons either – unless you consider a character dressed in a cheap neon suit a dragon. If there’s a feat that the film achieves – in itself rather laudable, I guess – is that it never, for a tiny moment, is funny.
“You were dead! I just blew you back to life!” a character exclaims. “How do you expect me to take you seriously if you only have five followers?” another inquires. “I don’t want to pressure you or anything, but you’re embarrassing our entire house,” says yet another – which may be the “funniest” line in the entire thing. It doesn’t matter if you’re a fan of the critically-lauded show, which I’m sure deserves better than this. Designed to appeal to the lowest common denominator, in equal parts juvenile and offensive, Purge of Kingdom is the worst film I’ve seen so far in 2019. If a fart gag makes your sides split with laughter, go right ahead – otherwise, avoid at all costs.
Purge of Kingdoms: The Unauthorized Games of Thrones Parody (2019) Directed by Ara Paiaya. Written by J.J. McDowell, Damián Romay. Starring Agnus Macfayden, Lou Ferrigno, Anna Hutchison, Armando Gutierrez, Madison McKinley, Tim Preston, Riker Lynch.
2 out of 10