|fight for your right revisited||2 out of 2 users found this review helpful.|
DISCLAIMER: my original score of 3.5/5 was such because the film is both a little busted and great, but after watching it again, I can't help but give it a 4 because it is so much fun, despite its downfalls. So yes, the review will read a little more negatively than the score denotes, but just watch it yourself- you'll understand why I was and am so conflicted, which I apologize for. In the future, I strive to write more thorough and more consistent, clear-cut reviews for you all to enjoy. But seeing this is a special case of a review subject, I hope you can take it as is. Hopefully you watch and enjoy the short film, and thanks for reading.
"I think we're all on the same team here, and that's the no sledgehammer, no pie team."
The Beastie Boys will go down in history as those responsible for some of the best music videos ever made. MCA, Adam Yauch, directed him and his buddies in the most insane, hilarious, and inventive short videos that are practically legendary as far as music videos go. It’s a spirit that doesn’t give a damn for anything but fun that let these guys be as great as they have been. Fight For Your Right Revisited is the most entry into this anthology of crazy, specifically as a sequel to one of their original favorites in Fight For Your Right (to Party.) This is a short film, a longer version of the music video for Make Some Noise, which may very well be much better than the film, sad to say. The 28-minute romp has a lot of missed opportunities and doesn’t take too much advantage of the ridiculous premise at hand. Yet it is a constantly surprising cameo-fest with a lot of great, dumb ideas. Not to mention, it has 6 AMAZING lead performances- though improvisation heavy, they’re hilarious roles nonetheless. Those 6 comedic geniuses carry the weight when they can, but a lot of the time, Adam Yauch’s stylish handle, though pretty, really muddles what could’ve been even more fantastic than it ends up being, which I can't deny in the slightest, is f'ing CRAZY.
After fighting for their right to party, the Beastie Boys reap havoc all over town until they confront their future selves in an epic dance battle. This premise alone promises something magical. Honestly, the end result is something magical, and nonsensical to a point that you can’t help but marvel at. There are laughs, definitely, because of the absolutely insane situation these three get their selves into, along with more minor ridiculous romps. Unfortunately, as opposed to reveling in a non-stop cavalcade of absurdity, Adam Yauch directs toward lingering on things, and sometimes for way too long. As a music video, this little adventure works much better- it flows with the rhythm of the song and doesn’t stop because it is attached to its music. You get all the crazy without too much waiting. In the full short film, it seems that Yauch wanted to let you experience more of the weirdness at hand, maybe even make it more fun to witness. Instead, he ends up prolonging such with extensive use of time manipulation and slow-motion.
I would normally care less, because of how well Yauch and gang have used such effects in the past, but here it adds to the disappointment, since the video is pretty much established as a prolonged music video. There is a beat and pace to what goes on here, and that aspect should be part of the fun, if anything. Early on, the excellent song Make Some Noise kicks in, but at the point where our boys are supposed to start rapping, it goes instrumental. This is fine, because we see them being goofy, which is a way too long shot of them opening beers and throwing them around, with the pay off coming with Will Arnett as a business man getting hit with one and saying “COME ON.” Then all of a sudden, we are literally speed rewound to the beginning of the song, where we get the music video version, with the rapping and everything, and seeing them smash a glass fridge with a beer can, but this time in slow motion. Huh. I liked it the first time, but whatever.
Then at a few points, the music just straight up drops out in exchange for these miniature character moments, which for the record, are actually kind of great. Adam Scott plays an angry cab driver, a café is populated by a bunch of hilarious, but disappointingly silent comedic actors, and we enter a limousine full of drugged up rocker chicks. See? These are AMAZING ideas. I’m on board, but Yauch manipulates these moments in really strange ways that don’t really wring laughs, but just weird, awkward quiet moments that only get minimal laughs. In the café, we see the entire thing in slow motion over an operatic techno piece, which is enjoyable, but again, feels like unnecessary lingering, because all we’re getting are reaction faces and slow acts of idiocy that aren’t really any better when slowed down, albeit a bit more epic. It’s a bit disorienting, and becomes more so when the film speeds up and slows down the song at its own whim as well. For a split second, it’s kind of funny hearing the song at different speeds, as it would for any song, as well as for seeing some drugged up Beastie Boys being weird, but it’s as confusing as it is entertaining.
While Yauch is all over the place with his direction and editing, we can find consistency in the acting... kind of. I’m almost positive that there is no written dialogue to be found for this short film, but take a look at the leads here. You shouldn’t worry, my friends (maybe a little.) Our original Beastie Boys are portrayed by Elijah Wood (Ad-Rock), Seth Rogen (Mike D), and Danny McBride (MCA.) Wood’s performance as Ad-Rock is PHENOMENAL. It is downright disturbing how spot-on he is to the squirliness and bug-eyed ball of enthusiasm that is the lumber-jack, DJ Ad-Rock. Rogen and McBride, as fine of talents as they are, are pretty much their selves, mainly because they are, to be honest, not that similar to who they’re portraying. Rogen is totally that white kid who listened to hip hop as a teen, and can pull off the rapping at the camera, but otherwise, his actual acting is Seth Rogen. Actually, that goes for everyone- there’s no over-the-top acting or screaming or anything- you see these men doing very standard, raunchy improv for the most part, maybe with a few exceptions, like the usage of the words “retarded”, "buggin'", and “dope.” These words are okay in my book. As for the future Beastie Boys, we’ve got Will Ferrel (Ad-Rock), John C. Reilly (Mike D), and Jack Black (MCA.) Other than putting on a bit of a raspy, older voice and face, these guys are being their goofy old selves. Actually, Will Ferrel goes pretty goofy with his hip-hop demeanor, fluctuating in and out of a southern accent (it's great.) Not a bad thing, really, but compared to the absolutely bonkers levels past Beastie Boys videos have taken their tone, it is a bit underwhelming, even if fun to witness.
Back to the fact that there isn’t much of a script- This is a trend that has been starting to bother me as of late with comedy, and film in general. Just because improvisation makes things natural doesn’t mean it is a good idea to lean upon it entirely for your story and characters, unless you are 100% damn sure that it will work and be coherent. Here, much like with the out-of-whack editing, the latter half of the film has some very surreal quick moments of linger and possible uncomfortable nature. Some cases feel like the footage used is from the first take, where the actors haven’t necessarily settled into things yet. I mean it’s funny, but not their best material. It also doesn’t help that Yauch covers it in such a boring fashion, which is intended to let the actors carry it, but even they are seemingly unsure of it all. If it wasn’t for the fact that they’re all, you know, hilarious and talented in their own respects, this would be a disaster. But even when things feel just a bit awkward, the personalities at play are damn magical to witness. Seeing their comedic sparks fly in these eye-brow raising, irreverent moments of discussion and argument is just blissful- like seeing masters at work. Even if it is a bit unprecedented, it's still amazing at key moments.
It helps that pretty much everything you don’t get a glimpse of in the music video for Make Some Noise is quite amazing, especially the final showdown itself. In what is essentially its own separate music video, we see the most bananas (I’m running out of descriptors for crazy, folks) dance-off ever recorded (because they are ALL AWFUL DANCERS, OH MY GOD), which goes in the most horrific and hilarious directions that you and I could never imagine, but are glad happened like such. Plus, the song used goes uninterrupted, and the visual/editorial style actually works for the better because of the extensive action going on. I just wish that Adam Yauch was more sparse with these technical weapons early on, and let what works do its work, as opposed to trying to make every damn aspect of already established ground crazy. Either structure it more and go balls to the wall, or make it shorter. But as much as I can knock this short film, a good part of me absolutely loves that it exists. It’s a crazy little project that is a damned classic just for being a thing. But it’s also much more, looking to the fantastic actors constantly saving what could have been a bit of a train-wreck, and the outlandish little journey, along with its little road bumps along the way that is what happens to the Beastie Boys after the events of the music video for Fight For Your Right (to party.) These boys are up to no good, and even though it is slightly affected, for better or worse, it’s great to see them back again.
As a fan of many things at play here, I feel kind of bummed giving this thing a 3/5, so I gave it a 3.5/5. And I will totally contradict myself with this thing- Fight For Your Right Revisited is kind of amazing. I mean after writing this review, I watched the thing in whole again. And now I give it a 4, because yes, it is busted and all my knocks against it ring true, but oh my GOD it is fun and spirited. KICK IT.
This only makes me wish more and more for a Beastie Boys show or movie.
|Name||Fight for Your Right Revisited|
|US Release||Jan. 20, 2011|
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