Watch enough movies and you realize that not every film project is serious, not every director sees themselves walking on stage to accept the Best Picture award and not every cinematographer sees themselves as “painting with light and shadows” to create a new and unique vision for audiences. Some films are just good enough, and the best of those end up becoming far more popular years after they’re released than on opening weekend. In the science-fiction realm, producer Roger Corman is a master of the “b movie”, as it’s called, with classics like The Masque of the Red Death (1964), Bloody Mama (1970), Death Race (2008), and Last Woman on Earth (1960). They weren’t intended to compete with masterpieces like 2001: A Space Odyssey, just entertain their audience.
The film Lazer Team fits perfectly in this genre too, an entertaining B movie for a cynical generation of science fiction moviegoers. Go in expecting more and you’ll be popping out to the lobby for a snack or pulling another beer out of your backpack (we won’t tell if you don’t tell!). But go in looking for a light, breezy movie with some laughs, some reasonable special effects and a brisk pace and you might just find Lazer Team fits the bill admirably.
The story revolves around a secret extraterrestrial message received in the 1960’s warning us that the Earth isn’t alone in the galaxy and that attack is on the way! Fortunately the message is from a friendly race of aliens who encourage humanity to choose a Champion of the Earth for the subsequent battle. That man, nurtured from birth, is the smug, perfect Adam (Alan Ritchson), who is better, faster, stronger, smarter than anyone else on the planet.
Unfortunately, the gifts from the aliens to help us defend our planet don’t end up with Adam but are instead picked up by four lunkheads, Sheriff’s deputy Hagan (Burnie Burns), stoner and town idiot Woody (Gavin Free), testosterone-fueled high school football star Zach (Michael Jones) and former athlete turned town drunk Herman (Colton Dunn).
Each of them grabs a part of the alien suit after the delivery UFO crash lands near them, and the story propels forward like an argument at a rave that’s inevitably going to end in a fistfight. Zach has the hots for Officer Hagan’s daughter Mindy (Allie DeBerry), who plays the wide-eyed “Valley Girl” that’s so popular in teen comedies. There’s not a single unexpected setup for a straight line and laugh in the film, including when Dad heads into a party just to find his daughter drinking a beer: “There are two people you shouldn’t have find you drinking a beer when you’re underage, honey: Your Dad, and a cop. And I’m both.”
There’s really nothing stellar about Lazer Team other than a sense of fun that nonetheless pushes it forward into the climactic mano-a-mano battle to defend the Earth, with appropriate social media coverage by everyone in the film. Modern times, ya know.
Truth is, some films have something deep and profound to impart, while others are just time well spent, entertaining and amusing. Lazer Team is definitely in the latter category and if you smuggle in a brew or just go with a few good mates looking for some laughs, it’ll be a fun experience.