Get Duked!

The Duke of Edinburgh Award is given those who can travel length the Duke of Edinburgh trail through the Scottish Highlands while completing certain tasks. Typically the award is used to help reform teens who are trouble makers by making them work as a team to traverse the highlands. This year three of these suck misfits, Dean Gibson (Rian Gordon), Duncan Mach D’Naald (Lewis Gribben) and DJ Beatroot aka William DeBeauvoir (Viraj Juneja), are being made to make the trip after accidently setting a bathroom on fire and filming it for a music video. Joining them is Ian Harris (Samuel Bottomley), a homeschooled boy who is trying to complete the Duke of Edinburgh because it will look good on his university applications. The trio of delinquents and the overly prepared and awkward Ian set out to complete their hike but little do they know that it will not be the highlands that will be the biggest challenge but surviving will.

The film debut of writer/director Ninian Doff, who previously directed several music videos, is funny, suspenseful and at times very trippy. The cast is good with the four young stars doing well. Eddie Izzard (Ocean’s Thirteen, Mystery Men) and Georgie Glen (The Hitman’s Bodyguard) as the Duke and Duchess are great as the creepy hunters. James Cosmo (Braveheart, Troy) as the Farmer, Kate Dickie (Red Road, Prometheus) as Sergeant Morag and Kevin Guthrie (Dunkirk, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them) as PC Hamish are all very funny in supporting roles. The music is a large part of the story and portions of the film definitely feel like a music video, especially when the cast finds themselves in an altered state. I think that the story can be a little all over the place and times and seem scattered. Also even though I enjoyed the performances sometimes they were a little cheesy for me and I couldn’t decide if it was the writing or the actor. I think the idea is original and fun but might not be for everyone, with the drug use, raunchy music lyrics and psychedelic imagery.

Overall this was a fun movie experience for me and I think as a streaming movie it good. Not a big production so it fits the small screen. Even watching it on my computer monitor it was fun. I think that it has a lower budget feel. I enjoyed the outlandish nature of the comedy and the turns it took. It’s a little disjointed as an overall story but fun film.


3.5 out of 5

Second review by Gareth Von Kallenbach

As anyone who has lived in the U.K. will tell you The Duke of Edinburgh Award has a long-standing tradition. The campaign involves young people working as a team as they hike the Highlands. Along the way they have to learn about working as a team, overcoming challenges, camping and more. It was created as a way for troubled youth to learn valuable skills and hopefully get on the correct path in life. Others see it as a rite of passage and something to list on their C.V. to show future employers their ability to work as a team, improvise, overcome, and endure.

In the film “Get Duked!” which arrives on Amazon Prime this weekl audiences get introduced to Dean, Duncan, and DJ; three youths on a fast track to nowhere good. Joining them is do-gooder Ian who sees course as a way to break out of his homeschooling to have something attractive for his future university plans.

The boys are dropped into the wilderness and instructed to use a map to find a camp site where they will rest for the evening. The boys are being stalked by a deranged local (Eddie Izzard), who believes it is his duty to remove undesired elements from the population and sees the competition as a supply of those who need to be culled from the herd.

One would think this premise combined with goofy local cops and crazy farmers would result in steady laughs but the film is largely devoid of humor. The biggest issue is that the film cannot decide what it aims to be. It wants to be a horror/comedy such as “Shaun of the Dead” but it lacks the appealing leads of Pegg and Frost and the smart exchanges. The characters are largely unlikeable and are not developed well which makes it hard to care for them. Another issue is that the film has subplots that seem to be tacked on and do not really enhance the story.

The end result is a film that is watchable but far from as enjoyable as it could have been. As such it does not warrant a film I could suggest paying to see in a cinema but as a streaming experience it works well and does offer something different for those looking for a change from the usual lineup.

3 stars out of 5