There’s really nothing funny about “The L.A. Riot Spectacular,” and that’s because the film itself doesn’t particularly aspire to be a comedy that you can laugh out loud at. Klasfeld’s film is instead a dark comedy that, through over the top acting, and utterly odd gags, examines the sheer lunacy that was the LA Riots. Klasfeld’s film takes the events of the L.A. Riots and places it as both a sport and spectacle. Klasfeld doesn’t blame the white cops only, or the poverty stricken black looters, yet instead he places the blame on everyone from the media, the gangsters, and Rodney King.
“The LA Riot Spectacular” is an anarchic comedic study on humanity warts and all; our opportunism, our ability to market on this event, our cruelty, and our shamelessness in taking what we can from a tragedy that solved nothing. L.A. is still in the condition it was before this occurred, and director Klasfeld examines that through much utterly twisted commentary from both our characters who auction off the Rodney King tape, and from reporters who proclaim “We’re going to run this all night, we need to sell detergent.” Given enough time, “The L.A. Riot Spectacular” will offend someone, and that’s because Klasfeld’s film takes no prisoners, and mocks and degrades us with a smile.
He blames everyone and deems everyone involved as the guilty party. Unflinching human cruelty is on display in his biting and vicious satire that takes stock footage from the L.A. Riots, and edits it together with an all-star cast who perform for the three ring media circus that leads to the riots that not only further divided a city, but exemplified the lack of progress in our social climate. Set with a backward montage of world events that has changed us in over a decade subsequent to the riots.
Not to mention Klasfeld points out how L.A. has progressed very little in its landscape subsequent to the looting and fires, and challenges us to focus on what’s really important instead of being distracted by the media’s influence. Sadly though, Klasfeld’s film drives the commentary and gags down our throats much too often, particularly in the climax where he really draws out the blatant commentary instead of sidestepping it in exchange for more subtle shades of the evident racism present during those times. Snoop Dogg’s narration as a spectator enjoying both the police beatings and the looting is one of the many bright spots of “The L.A. Riot Spectacular,” as he eggs people on and, in one scene, explains what he took during the looting.
But there’s just nothing funny to Klasfeld’s film. In the light of the over the top acting and pretty goofy gags, you’ll find yourself both uneasy and horrified when you once again get a glimpse at the beatings and atrocious violence that occurred. “The LA Riot Spectacular” is not opportunism, but a mere reflection and criticism of our society in both the black and white shade. Klasfeld’s message comes through loud and clear if even a little forced at times, and puts us all under the microscope to hang our heads in shame.