October 10, 2016

Review - 'Team America: World Police'

When I saw this film for the first time in May of 2005, I came out of the theater with a 6-pack. No, not a case of beer, I mean my abs were ripped! Why? ....because I laughed non-stop for an hour in a half, and all those crunches gave me the ultimate ab workout! Tears were streaming down my face for most of it and I was flexing those stomach muscles so much from the hilarity that I was sore for days.

Geniuses of satire Matt Stone and Trey Parker bring more laughs to the big screen after their wildly funny 1999 movie "South Park: Bigger Longer and Uncut" with a cast of square-jawed marionettes fighting terror by way of North Korea's Kim Jong II in a relevantly childish reading of "freedom." Inspired by the '60s British television series "Thunderbirds," Stone and Parker use Jerry Bruckheimer's action movie plot template to parody America's bullying military with one-third-scale puppets that give new meaning to 'wooden acting.'

The ridicule hits a fever pitch anytime the comic duo's brilliantly phrased songs modify the puppet action sequences (you'll be chanting "Team America, F**k Yeah" for days). Kim Jong II exploits the Film Actors Guild (including Alec Baldwin, Tim Robbins, Samuel Jackson and Sean Penn) for his evil schemes while the Team America World Police recruit a Broadway actor to infiltrate an Iraqi terror cell. This all-out adult satire pulls no punches and takes no prisoners.

The greatest gift that Matt Stone and Trey Parker possess is their inexhaustibly childish and brash approach to big issues. Although they’ve said in interviews that "Team America: World Police" mocks terrorists rather than the war on terror, the film rightfully does off-handedly ridicule Bush’s "war on terror." The movie slyly acknowledges the truth of multinational global corporate oppression, that there is no and can be no such thing as a war on terror, just as there can be no war on the desperation that drives ostracized people from committing any act of abysmal depression. When our puppet commandos kick off "Team America" by killing a group of Muslim terrorists in Paris, they consequently destroy the Louvre and kill many French civilians. It’s no accident that the French are the first to suffer at the hand of America’s fraternity minded group of mercenary heroes with ammo belts hung across their chests to preclude any confusion about the heroes’ agenda.

The liberal doses of crude vulgarity that Stone and Parker smear over everything they do is a keen equalizer that goes much deeper than party lines or class striations. Stone and Parker’s purely filthy satire enters your central nervous system via coded systems of pop culture references that expand in your sub conscious as you watch the movie. It’s a thoroughly integrated and sophisticated brand of intoxicating anti-propaganda that sparks from everything you already know on an intrinsic level.

In "Team America" no quarter is given to corporate shills like George Bush or John Kerry, or to puppet enemies like Osama or Hussein. Instead the filmmakers go right for the jugular of North Korea’s Kim Jong Il as a lonely dictator baddie who feeds UN Weapons Inspector Hans Blix to a shark. That scene won’t stick in your memory as much as the much-debated hilarious puppet sex scene (with an extended and extra disgusting version on the DVD), and the film’s final explanation of the world’s problems as based on assholes, pussies, and dicks, surely will stick with you.

Here's the mind-meltingly hilarious soundtrack for you to listen to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MhQ5678cJU8&list=PLF89A1F4F409E4F7D

Rated R. 98 mins. (A+) (Five Stars)

Here's some behind-the-scene clips...

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