Lazer Team

Year: 2015
Production Co: Rooster Teeth Productions
Director: Matt Hullum
Writer: Burnie Burns/Chris Demarais/Joshua Flanagan/Matt Hullum
Cast: Burnie Burns, Gavin Free, Michael Jones, Colton Dunn

Nothing about Lazer Team should work. The premise is kind of dumb and the execution is nothing special. There are no big names or stratospheric effects budget, the acting is very middle of the road, and as one of the first films on YouTube Red (the video giant's paid subscription service) it's entering a field crowded with dross at a time when big, prestigious movies are jostling for space in the movie-going consciousness.

But there's something in the at-times over-earnest performances that gives the four leads a kind of slacker chemistry that makes you want to see them succeed despite being such dolts and losers. The script isn't exactly comic gold, but their shared charisma elevates it and Lazer Team is full of enough laughs to ensure a good time.

The film starts by telling us about Adam (Alan Ritchson), a young man groomed by the army all his life to lead the fight against an alien civilisation heading towards Earth, as warned by another, more benevolent, alien race.

With the showdown imminent and the local army base readying to help the multitalented Adam meet his destiny, we also meet four local fools – ineffectual smalltown cop Hagan (Burnie Burns, also a producer and writer), the former friend and football colleague Herman (Colton Dunn) who now hates him, Herman's idiot friend Woody (Gavin Free) and local bad boy Zach (Michael Jones).

While setting off fireworks in the woods, Herman and Woody unwittingly bring down the alien ship that's delivering Adam's long-promised armour, and with Hagan happening to drive past after arresting Zach, it's the foursome who instead come across the powerful helmet, boots, shield and gun attachments.

When they put them on – just thinking they're cool toys – the army eventually shows up, takes them to the base and explains to them that not only will the accouterments not come off, they'll now have to form a team and conduct the fight Adam's been preparing all his life for.

It's up to Adam and his superiors to train the self-named Lazer Team in their use in little more than a month before their interplanetary opponents show up, and the four losers who don't like each other much, can't work together and couldn't tie their shoelaces in an emergency is the source of the comedy.

The plot wears decidedly thin and there are no surprises to be had if you've ever seen a buddy comedy or a sci-fi alien invasion movie, but the casting alone makes Lazer Team worth your time.

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