Toronto After Dark, Day 4: Lloyd The Conqueror
During my high school years, a number of my good friends were LARPers. Although I never joined in, content to remain indoors with my pen-and-paper roleplaying, I did swing around a few foam swords which remain in my closet to this day. This information is revealed to establish a frame of reference through which the monocle is peering.
Lloyd the Conqueror follows the misadventures of three friends who, desperate to pass their community college english class, enter into an Infernal Accord with their teacher and reluctantly join the local LARP league. Their teacher happens to be the alter ego of Derek the Unholy, who has scared off most of the other participants in the league, and needs to fill out the ranks of the opposition so that he may once again be crowed king at the Final Battle. One more win would see him break the record of the White Wizard, Champion of the Light, a retired LARPer who sees fit to take these new acolytes under his wing.
Foam swords (and maces, and halberds) are swung, tinfoil balls are hurled, spells are incanted and countered. The battles take place in parks and in fields with hydro wires looming overhead, wherever there is space and a minimal number of outside eyes. Everything in presented in authentic style, and I have little doubt that most of the involved actors do this for fun in their spare time.
This is a comedy, with most of the humour falling into either the category of in-jokes or sex jokes. The in-jokes aren’t necessarily geared specifically towards LARPers (although that does account for a number of them), but more nerd culture in general, with references to Star Wars, Star Trek, and thousand-sided dice. While some things might fly over the head of a mainstream audience, it’s all in good fun. Most of the rest are a collection of Your Mom jokes, junk kicking, sexual references and cracks about virginity that make it seem like a 13-year-old took a shot at penning the script. While there is nothing wrong with crude humour, it still requires a sort of maturity not shown here. When a character states “it’ll be just like you’re surrounded by actual perverts”, it’s hard not to wonder if that’s really true.
Role Models, circa 2008, was a film involving the hobby (sport? activity?) of LARPing tuned for a general audience. Lloyd the Conqueror, on the other hand, is a film about LARPing, by LARPers, and, I would say, for LARPers. If you have a real interest in the hobby or the sub-culture, it might be worth checking it out. If not, you can just watch the trailer — all of the best lines are in there anyway. 2 out of 5 stars.