Irresistibly silly and snappy, Battlecock is a sports comedy spoof full of skimpy pants, shuttlecocks and broken bones. The 9-minute short, directed by Ben Mallaby is unpretentiously and unswervingly funny, with gags coming in as fast as the slams. And for this badminton and (onscreen) violence lover, it doesn’t get much better than that!
Battlecock sees questionably professional badminton players, the Dukinson brothers, come head to head with their arch rivals the Krullmuller sisters, who are out for revenge. Organised to take place in an old, dingy warehouse, the rematch soon takes a rather violent turn. What ensues is a deadly funny badminton game unlike any ever played.
The short was actually filmed in Mallaby’s old school gym first. The rushes of Battlecock: The Original (as I like to call it) never made it to the editing suite however, because shortly after the shoot, the team found out they had been awarded a grant from Film London. To the annoyance of the cast, Mallaby made the directorial decision to re-shoot the entire film, in a funnier location.
“We decided on a run down warehouse in the style of Fight Club. Becky and Nat (the Krullmulles) decided the second time round that they would play the sisters foreign after we discovered Becky could talk gibberish on command.”
The team also needed some good make up effects to simulate a broken wrist, created by using bones from a local chicken shop.
Battlecock has everything you’d expect from a sports-based comedy centred around badminton, from the predictable genitalia jokes to the slow motion Matrix-esque shots. The film is unapologetically silly, as so many ideas and gags crash into each other at such remarkable speed, it’s hard to keep up. Most of all, Battlecock is a tribute to the joys of physical comedy—watching people being repeatedly hit by shuttlecocks has never been so much fun!
With a BAFTA nomination and two Staff Picks under his belt, Ben Mallaby is not resting on his laurels. He has recently finished a 6 part series for BBC3 called Climaxed, which is available to watch online, as well as a few shorts soon to be released. One I am particularly excited about is a 6 part film starring Richard Herring, about a sex robot made of toasters.