MOVIE REVIEW: TEAM AMERICA: WORLD POLICE (9 OUT OF 10)
Trey Parker earned cult respect long ago by creating “South Park” and writing and directing such films as Cannibal! The Musical, Orgazmo, and South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut. His comedic flair is all encompassing; it manages to combine a unique blend of parody, slapstick, deadpan, and verbal styles into a cohesive and ultimately entertaining whole.
Fans of Parker and his partner in crime, Matt Stone, have anxiously awaited a new film for nearly five years. Although “South Park” continues to get better with each season, nothing compares to when the duo is given a big budget and free reign over the content of their work. Their latest, Team America: World Police, shows that the wait was well worth it.
Written by Parker and Stone (with the former directing), the film tells the story of Team America, an organization of specially trained mercenaries stationed inside Mount Rushmore. Their mission is to police the world by fighting terrorism and procuring weapons of mass destruction. Sound familiar?
The plot is simple: the members of the team (Chris, Sarah, Lisa, Joe and Spottswoode) are looking for a new member after the tragic death of Lisa’s beloved in the ruined streets of Paris (laid to waste by the team in their attempts to kill terrorists). Spottswoode, the director of the crew, believes that Gary Johnston is just the man they need. Gary is a Broadway actor, and Spottswoode is convinced that by using his skills, they will be able to infiltrate terrorist headquarters and acquire information on the location of various weapons of mass destruction. So the newly assembled Team America blasts forth from the bowels of our great national landmark in the hopes of stopping the terrorist threat of Kim Jong Il (dictator of North Korea) who is planning an attack that would be “9/11 times 1,000… Yes, that’s 911,000.”
The quality of the film itself is worth noting, particularly because Parker utilizes the formula of a generic action movie and his “actors” (“Thunderbirds”-style marionette puppets) for full comedic effect. The attention to detail really shows through as the environments truly come alive with great cinematography and the skills of the production designers and puppeteers. The voices (performed mainly by Parker and Stone) are right on as always.
The music plays a big part, as it often tends to do in Parker’s films. However, this isn’t a musical like Cannibal or South Park. All of the songs were written by Parker and they play right along with the action, from “Montage” during the training montage sequence, to the incredibly moving love song, “I Miss You Like Michael Bay Missed the Point with Pearl Harbor,” and the Team America theme: “America, Fuck Yeah!”
As always, you can expect the comedy to be offensive. Team America even manages to pass “South Park” in that department. But there is a reason for it all. The filmmakers (who are libertarians) put the spotlight on how ridiculous our American society can be. Where Michael Moore blamed everything on Bush, Parker and Stone put the blame on certain aspects of American culture. They accomplish this in many ways throughout the picture, but the main punch comes from the F.A.G. (Film Actors Guild). By creating the F.A.G., the writers completely play with the American people’s fascination with celebrities and their willingness to believe everything that people like Michael Moore tell them. The F.A.G., headed by Alec Baldwin, condemns Team America and throws the entire situation into turmoil.
With an abundance of action and hilarity, Trey Parker and Matt Stone deliver a cleverly written and well-executed satire in Team America: World Police.