Raised by the army, Adam has been training his entire life to be the champion of earth. The military has been aware for some time now that life exists outside of our home planet, and in preparation for the inevitable battle between earthlings and aliens, they have placed their faith in Adam, giving him a Spartan-esque upbringing, in which physicality and intelligence reign supreme above all else, including family, love, and especially sympathy. Now, twenty years in the making, the time has finally come for Adam to prove the extent of his capacity for heroism, rise to the challenge against the threat of world domination, and save the globe as the fate of existence hangs delicately in the balance. There’s just one problem: four local misfits have stolen his armor.
Hagan, Herman, Woody, and Zach are four local men from Milford, Texas, who stumbled upon a power far greater than themselves on a late Friday evening. While Hagan and Herman experience the aftermath of a devastating football game which led to a a mediocre life drawn out in the same city they grew up in, Zach is still living the high life as the star quarterback of his high school team, while Woody is just along for the ride. On this particular night, while Hagan, now the sheriff in town, is out on business, extracting the usual teenage drunkards from a party (Zach being the primary drunkard in this scenario), he stops by the scene where illegal fireworks are being shot off by his old teammate Herman, and Herman’s drinking parter Woody. As Hagan attempts to deescalate the situation, and Herman does everything in his power to amp it up, the four men are randomly interrupted by an unidentified flying object crash-landing into earth. Upon inspection, and despite Hagan’s pleas for logistics, the men find, remove, and put on separate pieces of suit that was shipped into the soil by the UFO. Clearly, this isn’t the wisest decision, and before they can change their minds, the suit latches onto them, digging its razor sharp blades so deep into their skin that the pieces cannot be removed.
Once the men are retrieved by the army and brought back to their secret headquarters, Adam is furious to find the four fools wearing his gear, especially since earth’s destruction is planned for less than a week away. Out of time and lacking options, Adam embarks on a mission to train the men to become soldiers, and hopefully, with his help, save all of humanity from complete obliteration.
Lead actor/writer Burnie Burns crafts a hilarious piece of genre gold that also doubles as a commentary for the military’s abuse of power, the new generation’s obsession with technology and the internet, and the fact that despite society’s downfall regarding intelligent thought, the planet is still worth saving. From the armed forces’ tendency to jump to weapons of mass destruction when less volatile methods are called for, to the dig at UC Davis’ campus police pepper spraying defenseless citizens, to literally calling out the military on its “competent incompetence”, Lazer Team plays up the charade of being a simple-minded genre comedy film, while much opinionated subtext resides just beneath the surface. While the film doesn’t paint every single member of service as trigger-happy, it does point out the manipulation of self that often accompanies positions of such vast power.
As many movies nowadays do, Lazer Team also comments on the ridiculous amount of technology that has come to be defined as the norm for the desensitized, smart-phone savvy teenagers of today’s society. During many of the high-pressure scenes, one or more of the younger people present is either taking a selfie with whatever weapon or crazed soldier or alien life form is present, or just filming everything that’s happening while everyone else tries to simply survive. However, despite the film’s general negative attitude toward these self-involved youngsters, it also points out, whether intentionally or unintentionally, how beneficial having such technology handy can be. There are many scenes in which the characters might not have survived, or at least might not have been given a second chance, if it were not for the recordings of their events that hit the internet and make their presence known, thereby making it harder for the military to get rid of them without anyone noticing.
Comical, surprisingly intelligent, and entertaining, Lazer Team is a movie that’s worth watching, and stands a step above other popcorn flicks of its nature. Although the formula is somewhat predictable, and the plot admittedly pretty silly, the film still manages to be a success, based partially on a script that provides some interesting notes on today’s individualistic-driven generation, and the raw power that comes from good old teamwork. Aside from its undertones, the film works because of its well-timed comedic beats, and the chemistry of its talented cast, most notably, Colton Dunn. Dunn is a popular comedian, but the fact that he has not gotten even more work than he’s already garnered is dumbfounding for the simple fact that he makes every project that he’s in that much more successful. With Dunn in tow, it’s hard to bring together a movie that’s not worth a few laughs, but it certainly helps having a solid script, and a skilled director to boot.