For those who don’t know, Rooster Teeth is an online production company that’s produced a plethora of creative and funny internet shows, most notably the Halo-based comedy “Red vs Blue”, The Super Hero parody series “X-Ray and Vav”, my personal favourite; the Anime fantasy “RWBY” I would say I’m a casual fan of the studio’s work overall, but their fanbase is just as big as any given hollywood franchise you could think of. It was only a matter of time before the company decided to produce their first feature film, and after a hugely successful crowdfunding campaign in 2014, Rooster Teeth was finally able to treat fans with the big screen Sci-fi adventure known as “Lazer Team.”, which got a small theatrical release in early 2016. Is it as funny and sharply written as Red vs Blue? Or is Rooster Teeth’s first feature film effort a weak one? let’s have a looksy
The story for Lazer Team is pretty basic. Four idiots stumble upon a crashed alien spacecraft that holds a technologically advanced suit inside. Each of the four protagonists take a different peace of the suit and put it on, causing the suit to activate as each piece genetically locks on to each character. The government eventually catches up with them, and once it’s revealed that an alien threat is on the horizon, The four are taken to a government facility and trained to work as a team to stop the alien invaders. Now if you think that sounds dumb and cliche, you’re not wrong. The film’s premise sounds dangerously close to last Summer’s Box office Bomb “Pixels”, but what really makes this film work better than “Pixels” is the comedy. Yes, the low budget crowdfunded film’s writing is more clever than Sony’s big budget blockbuster. The team at Rooster Teeth take the absurd premise of Lazer Team and run with it. It may not the funniest product they’ve produced, and not all the jokes it bullseyes, but when it’s funny, it’s VERY funny.
The cast is composed of Rooster Teeth regulars for the most part. All four of the main characters are played by actors that fans of Rooster Teeth will recognize. From left to right in the image above, we have Michael Jones as Zach, Coltin Dun as Herman, Gavin Free as Woody and Burnie Barns as Officer Hagan. All four actors have good comedic timing as well as pretty decent chemistry, which is a necessity for a film of this nature. (although of the four, Zach and Herman really do steal the show) Hardcore fans will get the most enjoyment out of the film, since they’ll recognize many faces and possibly even catch some of the more subtle easter eggs hidden throughout. (Bonus points if you can spot the RWBY cameo) While non-fans will still find enjoyment here, it’s the longtime Rooster Teeth fans that will really get a kick out of Lazer Team and appreciate it the most.
Each of the main characters being stuck with a different piece of the spacesuit gives the film a great excuse to focus on the Teamwork aspect that harkens back to other successful team-based films like Ghostbusters and The Avengers. The film was given more money than the crew had initially asked for, so the props and special effects are actually quite good. The crew’s goal was initially $650,000, and they ended up with $2,480,421, so while the film still very much has an independent feel and look to it, I was surprised by how good a lot of the special effects were. Make no mistake, the film isn’t exactly going to win any awards for visual effects or cinematography, but for what it is, it’s a nice effort for the studio’s first feature. I won’t go into specifics for spoilers-sake, but there’s a set piece near the end of the film that’s visually quite impressive, thanks to some very well crafted practical effects.
Lazer Team isn’t the best Rooster Teeth has to offer, but it manages to have a lot of fun with it’s premise and works with it’s small budget effectively. I can’t imagine a Rooster Teeth fan not finding at least SOEM enjoyment out of the film, but as a casual fan, I still thought the film was quite enjoyable for what it was. As long as you know what you’re getting into; a small sci-fi team flick with some laughs, I think you’ll have a good time.