Dance Dance Revolution is a staple in pretty much every decent arcade, whether that arcade is by itself, in a bowling alley, or a restaurant combo such as Dave & Buster’s. We have all wasted a dollar or three on this machine either picking a difficulty way too high or far below our skill level to get the maximum experience. While I never really mastered DDR, in grade school one of my friends introduced me to a flash game called, “Flash Flash Revolution”, which used the keyboard arrow keys in place of the giant game platform. At that point in time, Dragon Force’s “Through the Fire and Flames” had been out for a year or so and I was really getting into the DDR franchise. I even went as far as looking up videos of incredibly prolific and flexible dancers who pulled off insane moves and had effectively mastered DDR. These few instances and the rare times I played the game at conventions are my only real connection to the franchise. 2011’s The FP was born from a young man’s love of Dance Dance Revolution, and a passionate heart for filmmaking.
The FP was written and directed by the brothers Jason and Brandon Trost, with their siblings Ron and Sarah Trost respectfully doing the special effects and creating the costumes. Based on the short film of the same name that Jason Trost and his family made in 2007, The FP takes place in the real world location of Frazier Park, California. Frazier Park is supposedly set in a post apocalyptic world, although the film’s tag line, “An ancient game becomes a deadly sport.”, eludes the fact that we are not in the present I noticed Frazier Park looks more like a crappy run down town as opposed to a location where nuclear fallout could have occurred. The general plot of the film involves two city gangs fighting each other versus two other clans, in a lawless society where you have to fend for yourself, battling it out for control over the town.
In this small mountain town, a heated turf war broke out between two rival gangs, the 248 from the north, and the 245 from the south. In this future though, battle for supremacy is not built on weapons or resources, it is won. The game of choice is called Beat Beat Revelation ( the Trost brothers could not afford the license for Dance Dance Revolution). The film begins on the night of a big match between the two rival gangs’ leaders BTRO, of the 248, is up against L Dubba E, of the 245. BTRO’s little brother JTRO is present, and faces off against Beat Box Busta Bill, a 248 goon but JTRO easily wins his match as the night’s opener. The main event comes when BTRO steps up to face L Dubba E, but in the middle of his match, he collapses and dies on the game pad. Vowing never to play Beat Beat Revelation again, JTRO disappears into the outskirts of town for two years, until his best friend KCDC brings him back with news of troubles brewing in the F.P.
Composed by George Holdcroft, the music in The FP makes up half the film. Growing up, my brother introduced me to electronic music at the age of eight, and the trance feel of the F.P.s album seems in part inspired by late 90’s and early 00’s techno as well as Dance Dance Revolution’s soundtrack from that era. From the training sequences, to JTRO’s matches , to the ending credits, and everything in between, the soundtrack is something to admire all on its own.
Even though there are few characters that actually have speaking roles in the The FP, all of them have distinctive personalities, from the main cast to the supporting, and they all stand out when on screen. KCDC is one of my favorite characters in the film; he is JTRO and BTRO’s best friend and always has their back no matter what. Not only does he double as an MC for some of the Beat Beat Revelation matches, sometimes being almost too energetic for his small frame, but he also provide some of the comic relief for the film (such as when he butchers not only the lyrics, but also the actual act of singing the national anthem). L Dubba E the villain of The FP is arrogant, conceded, and cocky (basically a dick), but that is what makes him so great; he even goes as far as to taunt JTRO not but a few seconds after his brother dies. L Dubba E kicks JTRO while he is down and laughs in his face while he screams in agony.
Pros: In between the seriousness of the plot and the overly dramatic points, The FP has some genuinely funny moments, mainly coming from the side character KCDC. KCDC’s duck speech, which is effectively the core plot and part of JTRO’s over arching drive as well as his interpretation of the national anthem are good capping points to some of the more serious scenes. All of the Beat Beat Revelation matches, with the accompanied mesmeric soundtrack, break up the movie and are enjoyable considering Jason Trost, in real life, is a pretty competent DDR player . The costumes all have personality that match their characters, for instance L Dubba E wears a lot of chains, gold jacket, and even has gold teeth, that match his flashy and conceded attitude.
Cons: Only problem with this film is the perceived post-apocalyptic world. They have relatively modern working technology, such as pagers, cars, payphones, and not to mention fully stocked stores. The look and atmosphere feel like the crappy part of town you want to generally avoid versus a post-apocalyptic world.
Released by Drafthouse in 2011, The FP is fun to watch and experience, from the sound track, to the unique costuming and how it truly is a love letter to the real world Fraizer Park. Through a colorful cast of characters and attention to detail, you can see the dedication and passion. While it might not be for everyone, with its excessive cursing, occasional nudity, and subject matter, The FP is truly one of the more unique films that I have watched in recent memory and I will continue to introduce it to as many people as possible.