Team America: World Police
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E dir Trey Parker
scr Pam Brady, Trey Parker, Matt Stone
voices Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Kristen Miller, Masasa, Daran Norris, Phil Hendrie, Maurice LaMarche, Fred Tatasciore, Jeremy Shada, Dian Bachar, Josiah D Lee, Paul Louis
release US 15.Oct.04, UK 14.Jan.05
04/US 1h47

Here we come to save the day! On the job (above) and during the "Montage" (below)

parker stone
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South Park boys Parker and Stone are back with another ruthlessly irreverent comedy that refuses to pull a single punch. And the best thing about this film is its rejection of party politics. This is one of the only political movies I've ever seen whose real target is the polarized state of society. All extremes get an equal bashing here, as they well deserve.

A team of highly trained commandos is dedicated to battling terrorism around the world, even if it means destroying any country they happen to be in. Collateral damage, you know. After flattening Paris, they call in a Broadway actor to infiltrate a terrorist cell in Cairo. After flattening Cairo, they follow the trail to Kim Jong-Il's palace in North Korea, where he's using a peace conference featuring all of Hollywood's left-wing elite as a cover for his global domination scheme.

These are puppets, not actors, and there's never any attempt to hide the strings. It's Thunderbirds meets Jerry Bruckheimer! The plot is pure action movie pastiche; Parker and Stone are making fun of Hollywood just as much as (maybe more than) American politics. Every action movie cliche is present and accounted for, from explosions and gruesome violence to inventive stunts and more. Much more. It even includes Bruckheimer's obsession with lame romantic entanglements, complete with soppy love songs (one of which compares heartache to Michael Bay, Ben Affleck and Pearl Harbor). We even get a mind-bogglingly silly sex scene. And they take time out to lampoon Broadway musicals and, of course, Michael Moore.

But it's the political content that'll get audiences buzzing, and the filmmakers ridicule everyone across the spectrum. Rightwing gung-ho violence and leftwing ineffectual dithering even square off for a blood-soaked climactic battle between Team America firepower and the high-profile Hollywood left. Parker and Stone undermine their case with frequent vulgarity, an obsession with gay sex and blistering language. And while their central thematic speech (which we hear twice) is utterly unprintable, its message is a call for balance in the world of politics and international relations. And that's extremely urgent right now!

cert 15 themes, language, vulgarity, puppet violence and sex 22.Oct.04

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2004 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall