Streaming on Amazon Prime starting August 28
“Get Duked!” is the comedy-horror mash-up movie that follows some inner-city ‘Boyz’ who get dropped off into the Scottish Highlands for rigorous trek over hill and dale. Along the way they meet up with some Royals who have murderous intent. The young juvenile miscreants, along with one other home-schooled do-gooder, are avoiding criminal charges by taking the “Duke of Edinburgh Award for Trailblazing and Hiking” challenge. They do not notice that the first letters spell out DEATH…
There are three small-time rule-breakers guided by a school councilor, Mr. Carlyle (played by Jonathan Aris). The Bad Boyz are anger-filled Dean (played by Rian Gordon), loyal but dim-witted Duncan (played by Lewis Gribben), and the new wanna-be rap star – who goes by the name DJ Beatroot (played by Viraj Juneja). Rather than go into Juvie Hall, they are told by Mr. Carlyle that completing the challenge will clear all their records. When they get to the Highland drop-off point, they find there is one more in the group — an earnest but naive home-schooled kid named Ian (played by Samuel Bottomley).
The four boys head out on the long and arduous hike. Totally unprepared, the three punks think this will be an easy stroll in the park, but Ian knows the details of the challenge. They must show Teamwork, practice Orienteering, and discover food by Foraging. They also do not know about the nefarious Royals who live in the area, and what devious plans they have in store. ‘The Duke’ (played by Eddie Izzard) and his wife the ‘The Duchess’ (played Georgie Glen) are the insane leaders of a band of Royal descendants. They have one goal in life, to “cull the heard” and take out as many despicable young thugs as possible.
The Duke and Duchess plan to hunt down these four misguided scum of the Earth and rid the Scottish soil of these lesser beings. They are straight out of “The Most Dangerous Game” where the game being hunted is people. The guys have a run-in with the attackers, and try to make a home-made bomb. But that just pisses off the Duke even more. They escape and meet Mr. Carlyle in his mini-van at the first meeting point. Dim-witted Duncan thinks that Mr. Carlyle is the attacker. After an awkwardly arranged accident – they prop a presumably dead Mr. Carlyle into the mini-van and push him to a cliff — only to see him roll the other way down the Scottish highland road.
The boys are on the move again, running and hiding. They meet a Farmer (played by James Cosmo) but he isn’t much help. But Mr. Farmer does enjoy the raunchy rap rhymes of ‘DJ Beatroot’. So they guys travel further and further into the Highlands wilderness. Ian is hoping that they all stick together as a team, and learn to use the skills they need to win the challenge. But that is not close to coming true. Because they casually ruin the only map they have and they want to leave Ian behind when he hurts his ankle.
Meanwhile, the local Constables in the Police Station are hot on the trail of the Bread Thief. It is the Number One case to be cracked in the small town. But word of shots fired and people being hunted down give rise to concern. Sergeant Morag (played by Kate Dickie) takes second-in-command PC Hamish (played by Kevin Guthrie) to go investigate. They find several clues – but they figure out everything wrong. Soon they believe they are on the trail of an organized group of urban thugs and terrorists meaning to push drugs and a general vile outlook on the peaceful locals.
So are the boys going to survive the challenge? Will the cops find the Bread Thief? Will the Duke and Duchess (and all their friends) pay for what they have done? Will we ever see Mr. Carlyle and the missing mini-van? But most importantly – Will Ian get his most valued prize – the certificate that says he has completed the “Duke of Edinburgh Award for Trailblazing and Hiking” challenge? It is so classy, it is even laminated!
Ninian Doff has come up with a crazy, yet classic, goofball movie that pits the High and Mighty against the Down and the Dirty. It is not perfect in many ways, but this movie leads to a good time watching and imagining what if something like this could happen. The Royals in the movie have some very bizarre thoughts about the commoners. The weird group of youngsters setting out on the challenge shows that they might not be that far off. Every person in the movie is a broad parody of many stereotypes – and they pull it off in a splendorous manner.
“Get Duked!” is a movie that pulses with energy and originality, even while channeling the classic “The Most Dangerous Game” and “The Hunt”.
Streaming on Amazon Prime starting August 28
Directed by: Ninian Doff
Written by: Ninian Doff
Starring: Samuel Bottomley, Viraj Juneja, Rian Gordon, Lewis Gribben, Eddie Izzard, Kate Dickie, Georgie Glen, James Cosmo
Music by: Alex Menzies
Distributed by: Amazon Studios
Length: 87 minutes
MPAA Rating: R for drug content, language throughout including sexual references, and some violence/bloody images
Genre: Black Comedy