Lazer Team on YouTube Red is a science-fiction-comedy with a rollercoaster ride of quality. Back in the 1980s, there was a show called Nightflight which eventually evolved into USA Up All Night. Long story short, Nightlfight was a collection of weird videos, experimental short films, and animations. It was YouTube before there was such a thing as the Interwebs. What sort of weird experimental film is Lazer Team from Red vs. Blue creators Rooster Teeth? Wow. It’s one strange mix for the senses.
Lazer Team begins with an exposition bomb that instantly takes out the brain. After text explains how SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) discovered an alien signal, we learn that the aliens who broadcast the message are sending a suit of power to help Earth defend itself from a coming threat. A “champion” is born and raised to wear the suit, but when the outfit comes, the pieces are worn by four average Joes. With the pieces locked to them, the four losers must train with the would-be champion to save the world.
The closest comparison to Lazer Team is Galaxy Quest.
Star and writer Burnie Burns plays Anthony Hagan, a father, and a cop who inherits the left arm of the power suit which can generate a shield. His daughter’s boyfriend and football star, Zach Spencer (Michael Jones), gets the left arm which is a Mega Man style cannon. Colton Dunn (Superstore) is Herman Mendoza, a former football star with a bum leg who gets the boots granting him super speed. Gavin Free plays Woody Johnson, a dimwit who wears the helmet and gains super-intelligence, telepathy, and more.
Conceptually, the idea of a benevolent alien species sending an Iron Man suit to earth to help fight a great evil is fantastic. It’s a solid foundation for any sci-fi story to build upon to create a wide variety of entertaining tales. In Lazer Team, they shoot for unabashed silly action-comedy.
At times the comedy in Lazer Team is brilliant, particularly because of the performances of the four leads. Colton Dunn, Burnie Burns, Gavin Free, and Michael Jones all play off of each other well and inhabit their somewhat simple characters with gusto, often elevating the writing. More often the jokes receive a lip-press, shrug, and nod. The jokes aren’t bad; they just don’t land as intended.
The special effects are quaint, reminiscent of an 80s style with just simple touches of CG and some camera tricks. If effects are important to you, then Lazer Team is laughable. If not, then it’s fun and not a major distraction.
“My calculations show that, scientifically, we’re screwed.”
– Neil DeGrasse Tyson in Lazer Team
Lazer Team is by no means a great film. The humor and tone of the flick are a bit uneven. While most of the movie doesn’t take itself seriously, there are moments when it does, particularly towards the end. In these moments, the quality takes a severe dip. However, those moments, as groan-inducing as they are, are fairly few and far between.
The closest comparison to Lazer Team is Galaxy Quest. Both movies possess a joyful silliness and a group of barely friends who come together at the end. By every possible measure, Galaxy Quest is a superior movie, but Lazer Team carries that spirit. Lazer Team also has the same culty feel. One thing is for sure, Lazer Team is the perfect silly science fiction comedy for a lazy Sunday watch.