LAZER TEAM Review: Thin But Fun Superheroics Prevail
We live in strange times. Thanks to technology and crowdfunding campaigns, if you want to make an effects-laden superhero movie, then by God, you can go ahead and do that. You don’t need a studio or $100 million. You just need talent and a lot of people backing you. It’s crazy, but it's also great.
Lazer Team inspires such musings because while it’s clearly a low-budget film filled with largely unfamiliar actors, it still manages to provide a full superhero story with a fair amount of action and a satisfying third act brawl. Its visual effects aren’t top of the line, but instead of being a demerit, the rougher edges makes you want to rally around the film. It becomes part of the charm.
It also helps that Lazer Team has a clever, winning premise. An alien is coming to destroy the planet. Luckily, nicer aliens send us a suit of advanced weaponry that, when worn by a champion of peak abilities, give us a fighting chance at defending ourselves. Four losers stumble upon it instead, each getting stuck with one of the suit’s elements.
This suit is a great idea. Based on the gifts given to Perseus’ by the Greek Gods, we have a super duper helmet, super duper speed boots, a super duper shield, and a super duper Mega Man blaster thing. Individually, they’re only moderately useful. But if these four lunkheads can learn to work as a team they might have a fighting chance. That's a pretty big "if", though.
I keep describing this as a superhero movie because that’s the film’s most successful element. Doing so is a bit misleading, however, as this is primarily a comedy within a superhero skeleton. Even when the film tries to get a little real toward the end, Lazer Team focuses all its energy on silliness and jokes, almost to the point of being a spoof. That’d be fine if the jokes were especially good, but they’re far too simple for that. The tone keeps the film light and paper thin, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. It’s fun, just not funny.
Fun counts for a lot, though. You’re not going to develop real attachments to these characters, but it’s cool watching them slowly learn to use this technology and work together. At around 85 minutes, Lazer Team keeps your attention and never overstays its welcome. Above all, it’s remarkable how visually ambitious the film is for such a small budget, and it's even more remarkable that it more or less manages to succeed.