Screening as part of Toronto After Dark 2012, Lloyd The Conqueror is a fun flick about the world of live action role playing. Starring Evan Williams as Lloyd, the film follows three community college students who are forced to join a larping league in order to pass one of their college courses. The only catch, their teacher is the reigning champion, and he isn’t interested in being defeated.
If you’ve ever had an interest in learning about live action role playing, or at least wondered what the hell people are doing dressed up like knights while smashing each other with foam swords, this is the flick for you. A bit slow to start, the comedy really starts to kick in about 20 minutes in and gets continuously more funny until the end. By then, everybody will be cheering Lloyd on as he sets out to defeat his college professor Derek (Mike Smith, yes, Bubbles from Trailer Park Boys) and become the larping champion.
This isn’t nearly as nerdy as you might be imagining. Lloyd and his two friends, Patrick (Jesse Reid) and Oswald (Scott Patey), have little interest in becoming the larp champions. For those of us without any knowledge of this type of role playing, the three friends become our guides. The world they enter is a strange one where the villains rule with a foam covered fist and leaders ride their steeds into battle. By steeds I mean a guy dressed as a unicorn. It only gets more strange from there.
After Lloyd and his friends fail miserably at a report on Beowulf, their professor Derek gives them a chance to pass and keep their financial aid. Derek is the champion of a local larping league, but his reign has frightened off newcomers. Now there aren’t enough teams to hold the annual battle, meaning he can’t be crowned champion. Determined to beat the record for most championships, Derek tells Lloyd that he’ll pass them if they join the league. What he doesn’t think is that Lloyd and his friends will embrace this new world, and be taken under the wing of Andy (Brain Posehn), the level 80 wizard who currently holds the record for most championships. Derek happens to know Andy’s deepest secret, and he’s bringing it out in an attempt to defeat Lloyd.
Comedies have never really been my favourite genre, but this one hits its stride after a slow opening. By the end, I was howling with laughter. Director Michael Peterson manages to make something like guys dressed up in bad outfits into an epic battle. The fact that the characters are so likeable helps. You really do want Lloyd to win in the end, especially since Derek is such a huge jerk. By taking something so many people think is the nerdiest of hobbies and making it into a battle for the ages, Lloyd The Conqueror is an hilarious and thrilling film.
Under the marquee – Will