the not too distant future, young cadets are put through
their paces in Federal boot camps, so they can prove
their metal before they are allowed to become Citizens
and members of the Mobile Infantry.
a part of that training, cadets take part in a team
vs team capture the flag scenario..but with a difference:
this game is Lazertag.
addition of a lazerbeam based training game was
a last minute idea just before the production actually
started shooting. The idea was based on the simple
age-old military "Capture the flag" scenario,
but adapted to meet the futuristic time in which the
events were occurring. The writers wanted a chance
at this early stage in the movie to show the potential
of the hero Rico, as well as to give an example of the
harsh and perhaps shocking military training being conducted
in the futuristic Federation.
participants in 'Lazertag' wore full Mobile Infantry
combat uniforms, as they would wear into a combat situation.
Over the top of their infantry armor the recruits
would wear Lazertag vests, which consisted of a system
of straps holding in place several receiver sensors
on the chest, back and shoulders. These packs
would acknowledge when the recruit had been 'hit' (presumably
shot or wounded) and would administer a strong electric
charge that would incapacitate the wearer until the
end of the training scenario.
recruits would carry their combat issue Morita rifles,
except the Lazertag Morita rifles would be fitted with
a lazerbeam emitter tip, and would fire lazerlight beams,
rather than lethal live fire. When these lazerbeams
hit another participant's vest it would register the
hit and incapacitate the 'hit' victim, removing that
person from the remainder of the game.
participating recruits in Lazertag would be split into
two teams: team RED and team BLUE. This proved
to be the simplest and most effective way of determining
which team a recruit belonged to. The recruits
would wear an armband on each arm, coloured respectively
for their team, as well as a special Lazertag helmet.
The helmets worn were standard-issue Infantry
helmets, but they had their helmet dome painted the
colour for their team, e.g either RED or BLUE. As well
as this, the teams' weaponry would fire coloured lazerbeams
(RED or BLUE) so friendly fire, direction of fire etc
could be determined.
the movie, our young recruit hero Johnny Rico takes
part in Lazertag, along with all the introduced recruits.
Rico is on team BLUE, along with Dizzy and a few
other of the introduced characters. In an early
ambush, much of team BLUE is incapacitated after a counterattack
by team RED, lead by Ace Levy. Rico incorporates
a move from his Jump ball skills from back in High school,
and catches his opponents off guard. After incapacitating
Ace, Rico takes his own team RED Morita and proceeds
to blast his way to the flag with both guns.
what is Lazertag...and how was it done?
was simply the combination of clever prop work and great
scene was shot at the Camp Currie set on location at
Mile Square Park. Only the principle buildings
in the foreground were real during these scenes - the
Camp Currie parade grounds and boot camp were mostly
digital enhancements on the small set that was actually
took place in a long rectangular field, littered with
barricade walls, ramps and platforms. At each
end of the arena was a ramp to a raised platform with
a coloured team flag mounted on it.
weapons were all ordinary fiberglass Morita rifle casings
(with no firearms), that did not fire lazerbeams. These
were fitted with a Lazertag tip, which slipped over
the barrels of the Morita and made it look like a futuristic
vests were battery powered and had hidden switches,
so when required, the packs' sensors and lights would
flash on and off, to give the impression that it was
'shocking' the wearer. Then, the actor would fall
to the floor and wriggle and spasm, pretending to be
incapacitated and unable to move.
the digital artists would add during post production
some sparks and flashes omitting from the packs,
so it looked more convincing that the vests were electrocuting
their wearers. The digital artists also added
in the blue and red team lazerbeams that occurred when
the recruits shot at each other during the game.
These artists were also responsible for the lazerfire
in the Star Wars Trilogy (mainly by the Storm Troopers
some scenes, like Rico's heroic "Flip-6-3 hole"
maneuver, the actors ran around with rubber Morita rifles
to reduce the risk when they fell over, bumped into
each other, or "went down" when 'shot'.
the wrap of the Lazertag scene, the "A" grade
helmets all had their respective coloured domes repainted
the normal MI grey colour for use in other scenes. You
can tell if a helmet was used for Lazertag as you can
see the original red or blue coat if and where the grey
dome has chipped or scratched. It is believed
that only one helmet escaped repainting.
addition of Lazertag at the last minute was a great
positive for the movie. It gave a brief introduction
to the leadership qualities and battle abilities of
the young Johnny Rico, as well as showing the harsh
training exercises of the futuristic Federation, where
trainees are incapacitated through electrocution when
shot. It also, on a more subtle note, is used
to show just how un-combat ready the young recruits
are, and serves as a foresight for their disastrous
first engagement with the enemy on Klendathu.