Friday, 22 August 2014

Team America: World Police

Lowdown: A team of Americans saves the world from evil people, mostly by blowing it before they do.
Sometimes, a person has to do what a person has to do. This time, this person had to re-watch Team America: World Police, because how could I avoid doing so? Seriously, once our illustrious Prime Minister, the suppository of all knowledge, called on all Australian to join him on Team Australia there was no alternative. Especially as Tony Abbott’s Team Australia is all so similar to the 2004 movie’s Team America: a joke of a fabricated construct meant to divert the public from Abbott’s stupid & evil budget and into the familiar territory of “being tough on terror”.
As one can expect, I was not the only one entertaining this observation. Check this lovely piece of photoshopping, one of many others to grace our social networks this past two weeks:

Now that we’ve dispensed with the pleasantries, let us check Team America (the original movie, as opposed to Tony Abbott’s wet dream) under the hood.
Team America comes at us from the direction of the makers of South Park. In many respects it’s a similar affair: jokes that aim at everybody’s below the belt areas done in not so realistic a fashion. For this movie, however, South Park abandoned its crude animation in favour of Thunderbirds style live wire operated puppetry.
If you’re after a story, there is one in there (surprised?). A group of evil Muslims – and we know they’re evil because they repeatedly say “dirka dirka Mohammad Jihad” – puts its hand on weapons of mass destruction in some covert deal taking place at Paris. Team America comes in with its flashy jets and blazing guns, but – despite taking the better part of Paris down while trying to take the terrorists down – the baddies get away with their WMDs.
Our team only hope? Recruit a Hollywood actor, make him look like an Arab (by patching blobs of hair on his face), and send him to mingle with the terrorists. After all, anyone can hold a conversation with a group whose vocabulary is limited to “dirka dirka Mohammad Jihad”. Even a member of Team America.
Thus starts a chain of events that goes all over the world and runs extensive mockery over the USA’s self-claimed role of policing the world (and, as we’re witnessing in today’s Iraq, the particularly bad manner in which it executed this role). As mentioned, the filmmakers cannot leave the scene without thworing extensive mockery on the liberal side, too, which they do by mocking several Hollywood left wingers (e.g., Tim Robbins) and not so left wingers (Samuel Jackson). Seriously, though, the main event is the collection of vulgar jokes thrown everywhere – from songs like “America, fuck yeah, so lick my butt and suck my balls” to extensive barfing and multiple events of extreme misogyny.
Don’t get me wrong, though: given the context and the tone, I have found the whole affair incredibly effective at being hilarious. Ultimately, the scare factor here is not the result of this movie being the gross product that it is; the true terror is in the likes of Tony Abbott, a world leader and the democratically elected Prime Minister of a continent, actually mimicking the puppets in real life.
You can say a lot of bad things about Team America. I doubt, however, you’d be able to name many other movies that depict the Prime Minister of Australia in this certain light that Team America depicts him, and do so as effectively as Team America does. That takes true art.
P.S. Did I mention there are no dark skinned members in Team America?
Best scene: I always had me a soft spot for the montage scene that goes with the song “even Rocky had a montage”, as the Team America chief protagonist prepares for his ultimate mission at the heart of darkness.
Overall: Vulgar, silly but also an effective and too often too true a parody. 4 out of 5 drunk crabs.

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