And you thought it was just a chuckle-inducing trailer. Toy Boyz is a real film. All too real.
As Fun Time Internet’s resident film critic and human punching bag, I had the dubious honor of attending this mo-pic’s gala world premiere at the Second Annual Nokia Mobile Phone Film Festival in Stockholm, Sweden. The fest features the finest (or in this year’s case, all) that mobile-exclusive filmmaking has to offer. As such, Toy Boyz was screened for critics not on a massive movie screen, but on the all-new Nokia TokFone, a free gift to all who attended. You can imagine the bizarre image of a dozen film journalists sitting in a darkened cinema staring at our cell phones.
Based on the characters created by NOS Energy Drink, yet somehow also based on the real life experiences of its two stars, Boyz chronicles the epic rivalry/bromance of Rico and T’ork, rad racers in the surprisingly sexy, dangerous, and not-as-fast-as-you’d-think world of underground pocket bike racing. In a film that gleefully rips off other (read “far superior”) underground racing films (Fast and the Furious, Torque, Biker Boyz) undercover cop T’ork goes undercover (and under the covers with Rico’s sister Raquelle in several lengthy softcore sex scenes) to infiltrate Rico’s Underground Racing League, only to join forces with him to bring down Evan Angel, President of the Above-Ground Racing League. Angel is also CEO of Inferior Energy Drink, NOS’ biggest rival, and the man responsible for killing Rico’s Lil’ Bro-bo.
That’s the only plot I could decipher from this incomprehensible mess of a movie. I kept drifting in and out of consciousness due either to eyestrain from staring at the tiny screen or due to the sugar crash from all the free NOS the film execs kept shoving in my face.
(Fun Fact: Rico and T’ork are their real names. After legally changing their names to better match their badass personas, the “dudes with ‘tude” destroyed all record of their birth names. This included torching all the orphanages in Miami-Dade County; Rico couldn’t remember which orphanage he grew up in so he burned them all down just to be safe.)
The venue for this premiere was oddly appropriate – the Hottesexxxe Teater Døme. Once the most glamorous adult cinema in all of Northern Europe, the Teater Døme was scheduled for demolition immediately following the Toy Boyz premiere. Had the electricity not been cut off from the building, I would’ve noticed numerous explosive devices lining the walls and floors of the theatre. Why the film festival staff continued to allow – and even encourage – other reviewers to smoke in this condemned death house of a theatre remains a mystery. But that was the least of my worries.
My rickety, wooden theatre seat could barely support my meager weight. An hour into the film, the chair collapsed. I was forced to join the other critics in crouching in front of our broken seats. The decades-old floor stains put my Dockers stain-resistant pants to the test. They failed. Miserably.
And just whose idea was it to put Swedish subtitles over the picture? By making the subtitles large enough to be read on a smallish cell phone they inadvertently made the screen image completely indecipherable! And due to his Latin heritage, Rico demanded Spanish subtitles be overlaid over the Swedish. In any language, Toy Boyz is an unintelligible mess of a movie.
(Fun Fact: This film’s Swedish title roughly translates to Man Child on Moped.)
Due to the screenwriters’ strike, the script for Boyz was never written. And no one involved has a definitive answer as to what was actually filmed. Many action scenes were shot entirely by still photography to “save on costs”. Three sex scenes were cut from the film, as they weren’t part of the story; they just happened on the set while the cameras were still rolling. Michael Bay was originally slated to direct until it was revealed during pre-production that no one actually asked him to. With no script and no director, the direction was handled by a rotating cadre of NOS executives whose only concern was how to incorporate the product into every single shot of the film.
Toy Boyz hits an all-new low for the practice of product placement. The best (or worst) example is the scene where T’ork says to Rico, “Hey, let’s watch this commercial for NOS Energy Drink!” The oddly-chosen commercial features Rico and T’ork promoting the film Toy Boyz. Why would the movie need to promote itself during its own runtime? Immediately following this commercial Rico says, “Damn that’s fine! Let’s watch that NOS commercial again.” After showing the exact same commercial T’ork says, “I think I need to see that NOS commercial one more time!” After we suffer through the same commercial yet again Rico says, “I betcha I can watch this NOS commercial more times than you!” “You’re on, bitch!” This goes on for 12 minutes. It doesn’t matter who wins. Either way, we lose.
Toy Boyz clocks in at an unheard-of 4 hours and 15 minutes, with two 12-minute intermissions, making it the longest English language film ever made. What I also can’t comprehend is why the NOS execs would hand out so many free drinks during a movie so long, that’s shown on a screen so eye-bleedingly small, and in a theatre with no lights, making finding a washroom impossible. Luckily, all those NOS bottles made for some fine makeshift “trucker bottles”. The only problem in this pitch-black theatre was remembering which bottles still contained NOS, and which contained a liquid that is inarguably more nutritional.
But my problems pale in comparison to those suffered by the Boyz cast and crew. The actor playing Lil’ Bro-bo was accidentally killed by a rotor blade from a remote-controlled ‘copter. The film’s dedication to him was cut from the end credits in favor of a blooper reel – which ironically included his death, despite the protests of his family.
(Fun Fact: Toy Boyz was denied ratings classification in Sweden due to “blasphemous content”, even though Sweden is a widely atheist country.)
Rico and T’ork appeared in the post-screening Q & A session via videoconference from their Swedish hotel. When asked why they weren’t present for the premiere, T’ork stated, “We don’t need to see it, we lived it.” Added Rico, “And to the best of our knowledge, you only live once.”
It was also revealed in the Q & A that midway through production the cast and crew suffered from a mysterious fatal illness. The source of this illness was later revealed to be melamine from a tainted case of NOS from the new NOS plant in China. Especially ill was Rico, who drank his NOS from his “Lucky Lead Chalice” – even after his priest pleaded that he stop. When questioned later about his lucky chalice, Rico stated, “I don’t believe in luck.” When I asked if any of the free NOS doled out during the premiere came from the China plant, NOS executives answered by throwing out free t-shirts. This devolved into a NOS-chugging contest, which devolved into a wet t-shirt contest. Which devolved into a brawl.
The only actually-enjoyable portion of this surreal screening was a post-premiere outdoor performance by the Crotch Rockettes pocketbike stunt team. Not to be outdone, a jealous Rico and T’ork stormed the performance area on pocketbikes of their own. The “dudes with ‘tude” sabotaged the Rockettes’ carefully choreographed-for-safety routines, causing a fiery crash. Bystanders threw NOS on the flames, which only fed the fire. The inferno spread to the condemned Hottesexxxe Teater Døme, igniting the explosives and creating a NOS-fuelled explosion that destroyed half a city block. It also destroyed all known copies of Toy Boyz.
Before I passed out from the NOS fumes, I caught sight of Rico and T’ork surveying the damages they inflicted. They then proceeded to high-five and compliment each other on their badassitude. This devolved into an argument over which one was the most badass. Which then devolved into a brawl. Which then devolved into a wet t-shirt contest.
CODA: After a month-long stay in a Swedish hospital’s Intensive Care Unit, I awakened to learn the horrific news that Toy Boyz not only survived the inferno but also premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, and Street Meet was there to cover it. Was Toronto spared the wrath of Rico and T’ork? Did Scott’s beard make it out un-singed? Stay tuned for Fun Time Internet’s continued coverage of the global Toy Boyz release, and may God have mercy on us all!