First off, this is loooowwwww budget and it shows. The sets are repeated over and over which makes the film feel a little claustrophobic given the story setting.
That said, it is really smart and clever in the way it was put together with some genuinely hilarious moments. But this isn't really a movie with a string of sitcom style setups to laugh about. It's more like one big long joke because everyone plays their characters completely straight within the context of a ridiculous world.
The standout character is the hillbilly/gang-leader villain guy. He's so over the top you can't help but smile when he's on screen being a total d'bag the entire way.
The main lead's nod to every anti-hero movie (and noticeably Snake Plissken from Escape from New York) is a running gag. The incongruity of these kids' lives is even more apparent when they have to interact with the occasional middle aged adult who (with the exception of crazy dad) all look pretty much like anyone you'd see today.
The plot is window dressing for the world building and seems mostly an homage to martial arts revenge flicks, with the dance video game taking the place of martial arts.
Where this movie stands out is in 2 places. 1. The music. It's fantastic. They knocked it out of the park with the electronic house/trance compositions that simultaneously nod to John Carpenter's moody soundtracks and bring it completely modern/futuristic.
2. The dialog. It's not quite as genius as Clockwork Orange in this department but it's in that direction. The kids all without exception speak their own dialect that can only be described as street ghetto. It will will be recognizable to Americans who will have heard lots of it in daily language but this is over the top constant. What sets it off as more than an affectation of the movie is the complete lack of black people that you would presume originated the style of language. Not one. There are whites and asians but no blacks. I can only think this is a purposeful move on the writers part and it does make a statement about language and co-opting 'cool'. This combined with the redneck/gangster stereotypes mixed in throughout the movie successfully give this movie a futuristic alien feel. Warning for the sensitive types there are a LOT of N'bombs dropped. However, through all the ridiculousness it hangs together with a weird logic.
Quite an interesting and enjoyable flick full of smiles but few laugh out loud moments. Most of the people in the movie seem to be able to act and they greatly help with the suspension of disbelief.
The last scene is quite hilarious.
If you don't like dry, wry, cerebral parodies then you probably won't like this much. It does drag here and there and the budget is glaringly obvious but I look for really good things from the Trost brothers in the future.
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