“Lazer Team” may not be a record-breaking film making national headlines, nor does it have the greatest plot development, but it definitely exceeds the expectations of an independent B-movie, by combining science-fiction and comedy, to provide a fresh look at both genres while treating Rooster Teeth fans to the company’s first full-length movie.
The film is produced by Rooster Teeth Productions, which is known in the online community for animated works like the Halo video game web series Red vs. Blue and RWBY, and directed by CEO Matt Hullum.
In June 2014, Rooster Teeth launched an IndieGoGo campaign and raised more than $2.4 million from more than 37,000 backers, making it the highest funded film campaign on the site.
The plot follows four ordinary humans who accidentally intercept an Antarean alien spaceship containing pieces of a battle suit meant for the Champion of Earth, Adam (Alan Ritchson), who was trained from birth by the military to defend the planet from the inevitable attack by a dangerous alien race known as the Worgs.
Calling themselves the Lazer Team, traffic cop Anthony Hagan (Burnie Burns), water boy Woody Johnson (Gavin Free), high school quarterback Zach Spencer (Michael Jones) and former athlete Herman Mendoza (Colton Dunn) must learn to utilize the powers of their individual pieces of the suit with Adam’s help before the Worgs send their representative to fight Earth’s champion in four days.
Because each member of the team is wearing only one piece, they all must find a way to master the particular skills they are equipped with.
Each piece of the suit has a different function that is meant to complement each other when worn together as an unit; the helmet increases intelligence and adds other functions such as invisibility and slow-motion vision, the arm canon shoots laser projectiles, the gauntlet creates an energy shield and the boots increase running speeds.
With such an outlandish plot, the film lacks proper pacing and full plot development.
The second half of the film feels rushed, resulting in little to no buildup for the final fight and leaving viewers with an anti-climatic ending and wanting more.
There are some questions left unanswered, such as who the Antareans are and their bigger role in the whole scheme, but that may be answered in the possible sequel that is hinted at the end of the film.
Despite having a smaller budget than bigger Hollywood films, the cinematography and soundtrack are the standout features of the film.
With clever use of slow-motion and transitional shots, “Lazer Team” is visually pleasing to watch for its special effects and action.
Composer Jeff Williams, who is known for his music in Red vs. Blue and RWBY, provided original songs that are catchy and memorable.
The film is filled with one-liners and dry humor, especially from Dunn’s character. Dunn is the only professional actor out of the four main characters, but Burns, Free and Jones provide just as strong of performances.
While there are some references that only Rooster Teeth fans would understand, they are not overly obvious and do not detract from the overall experience of the film. Someone with no previous exposure to Rooster Teeth can easily enjoy the film just the same.
However, Rooster Teeth fans will be excited and surprised to see cameos by other company employees as minor or background characters.
As an independent film funded mostly by supporters, “Lazer Team” is a movie that may lack a strong, driving plot, but it makes up for it with its humor and visual effects.
The film is heavily supported by Rooster Teeth fans, as it managed more than $1 million in ticket pre-sales alone, but it can easily be enjoyed by viewers who just want to take a break from the mainstream movies.
“Lazer Team” is currently available on YouTube Red and in selected theaters nationwide.
Emily Lau can be reached at email@example.com.