FP 3: Escape from Bako (2021) [Nightmares Film Festival 2021] 

Picking up a few years after the last scene of FP 2, this third entry in the series takes JTRO and his fam and gets them involved in a new challenge that includes everything from remixed to time travel. Will they manage to figure out what to do in time to save their world? 

Written and directed by Jason Trost, the creator of the series, this one takes the usual candy-colored neon-filled world of the FP, turn the styling up to 11 and throws in some time travel just for the fun of it. This leads to more insanity, more battles, and more characters that wouldn’t make sense in any other series. The series regulars will recognize what they love here while others will either fall in love with the series or absolutely hate it. The language that is used in the other two films is still here, the concepts and ideas, the characters (minus a few who didn’t make it to this one), and some randomness bring the film to the screen with that energy the series has throughout and with some new ideas that mostly all stick the landing. Of course, some of these don’t work as well, but overall, this is a fun entry in a series composed of mostly crazy moments and ideas. 

The cast for this one is smaller than the previous entries, something that may have had to do with the budget and timeframe to get this new movie done (the 4th entry is also basically already in the can with a status listed in post-production as of this writing). The returning leads and a few more people make up the entirety of the cast with some extras here and there. In the part of JTRO, director Jason Trost brings a slightly more mature version of his character on the screen and also steps back a bit to give more room to Chai-Tro to shine. The daughter of JTRO and Chai-T, she is played by Lib Campbell here who plays her a bit in an annoying manner, something that seems definitely on purpose and works with the part. Playing her mother, Tallay Wickham brings the over-the-top at times charm of her people, something that works here as well. The characters are meant to not be people who most viewers would want to hang out with, they are people from a very specific future which some would say we are heading to fast. This means that these characters must be played in a specific manner which the cast does so very well here. 

Another strong aspect of this film is its look. The film clearly makes great use of green screen for a large portion of its runtime, but it does so in a way that works within its established world. The cinematography by Markus Mentzer paired with the editing and the special effects create that world in which JTRO and Fam can travel through time and fight the good fight. The film looks like everyone involved knows what they are doing and shows every last penny of its $20,000 budget on the screen. This is one that shows the viewer and potential filmmakers that a world built from green screen and talented people can really work for the right story and setting.  

FP 3: Escape from Bako takes the established FP WTFness and adds time travel to the remix to make it something all of its own. There is a bit less BBR here to say the least and some of those battles are missed, but overall, the stakes are raised, the characters evolve a bit, and the film does its own thing with known ideas. Does it work? Yes, for those who love this series. If one did not love the first two, this one will not sell them on the series. For those who are all in, they’ll love it and its new additions to the pantheon of insanity that is the FP universe.