Published on August 25th, 2008 | by Chris1
Tropic Thunder (2008)
Well, I finally got a chance to see it. I have to say, "YEAH!" Not bad at all. Ben Stiller's Tropic Thunder manages to lampoon the entire war movie genre, and liberally thrash the Hollywood "system", while still delivering a damn fine movie, comedy or not.
Just as in the eternal classics Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, and Zoolander, the more-or-less inept underdogs get through their trials and emerge victorious. Really that's what's at the heart of it all. But as is the case, the fun is in getting there.
The film starts with a rather respectable depiction of a helicopter insertion into the jungle of South Vietnam. Of course we find out that this is all part of the filming of the incredible "true story" of Four Leaf Tayback (. The scene's ending goes amiss in a spat between primadonnas Kirk Lazarus (Robert Downy Jr.) and Tugg Speedman (Ben Stiller). In a fit of rage, rookie director Damien Cockburn (Steve Coogan) gives the signal to cue the final spectacular Apocalypse Now-style explosion to end the scene....
Ah, but Tayback has the idea to put our bungling spoiled actors, who also include comedy star and drug addict Jeff Portnoy (Jack Black), and token extras Sandusky (Jay Baruchel) and "Alpa Chino" (Brandon Jackson) into the jungle to film things "guerilla style" as it were.
But, you guessed it, this goes terribly wrong as well, and the five of them are left to fend for themselves versus the local heroin smuggling ring.
I'll be honest, I was expecting a lot more of the "Scary Movie" style of lampooning than what I got. Apart from the silly parody of the classic Platoon scene, there really wasn't a whole lot more of it. Not from what I could tell, anyway. But fortunately, the rest of the comedy more than made up for it. Not so much sticking it to the war-movie genre per se, but a whole lot more towards the Hollywood scene. With Speedman's agent (Matthew McConaughey) trying until the very end to get him his Tivo (it's in the contract!) to a balding, overweight producer who thinks he's a couple rungs on the ladder below God himself (Tom Cruise), the gung-ho pyromaniac effects guy, and the eventual outing of the "hero" Tayback.... that's where the knife goes in. (Much to my relief I might add!)
One of the real gems of this film is the soundtrack. They managed to piece together a rather decent composition of original, classical-style tracks with vietnam-era tracks that seem to wiggle their way into a lot of 'Nam films. Not to the point of being corny, but it actually kind of works.
And the effects, nice job guys! I was actually impressed that it didn't come across as too cheap-looking. Apart from that amazing opening sequence, the rest was also respectable. The shocker with the director was simply brilliant. "It's just corn syrup!"
Not for the faint of heart, or the easily offended, Tropic Thunder delivers on its promise of a fun-filled bungle in the jungle, and then some. And yeah, I'm not putting this under "Vietnam War Movies" since, well, its really not....
Summary: Not for the faint of heart, or the easily offended, Tropic Thunder delivers on its promise of a fun-filled bungle in the jungle, and then some. And yeah, I'm not putting this under "Vietnam War Movies" since, well, its really not....