"Team America: World Police"
Directed by Trey Parker.
Written by Trey Parker, Matt Stone and Pam Brady.
Starring the voices of Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Kristen Davis and
Release Year: 2004
Review Date: 10/16/04
In the biggest surprise of the year, "Team
America: World Police" is the only film I've seen in 2004 that
features near-non-stop laughter and some of the wrongest comedy to
ever hit the screen. I almost feel wrong saying this to you,
but please--see this movie right now, because you will love
it...despite the fact that may be morally opposed to almost
everything happening onscreen.
An action-comedy that seems to be based on
another similar U.K. property called "Thunderbirds" (made into a
live-action film here in the States over the summer), "Team America"
might be a great parody of "Thunderbirds" but since I've never seen
it, I just assumed that we would have a satire of action-comedies on
our hands...and that's where "Team America" really shines.
Team America, a group of five heroes led by the mysterious
Spottswoode (voice of Darren Norris), combats terrorists around the
world uses brains, brawn and telepathy to take out baddies wherever
trouble arises. After a mission in Paris leaves one team
member dead, Spottswoode needs to recruit a replacement, so he goes
after the nation's greatest stage actor, Gary Johnston
(director/co-writer Trey Parker), to infiltrate the Mohammad Jihad
terrorist organization to take out a host of WMD's (weapons of mass
destruction) stockpiled by an Asian honcho named Kim Jong Il (also
voiced by Parker).
The plot alone of "Team America" would have
been funny as a live-action film, but as a marionette action-comedy
this shit is unbelievably hilarious. You wouldn't think that
watching dolls on strings (strings that are not attempted to even be
covered up by CGI) shooting at other dolls on strings would be this
funny...and then, in the intro, people are getting lit up by gunfire
and you almost can't stop laughing at watching the Team America
dolls dance around with their various machine guns in hand spouting
off lines like "Eat this!" or "Terrorize this!" the whole while.
The way this thing is set up, watching them do all sorts of things
is just funnier because the marionettes are obviously not able to
really fistfight, or really kiss, or dance, or really show any kind
of emotion...even when Gary--while "undercover" in his Middle
Eastern garb soon after being recruited--is trying to give his
teammates "the signal" when he is trying to abort by waving his
hands wildly in the back of a moving jeep, I could not stop
The creation of "South Park" guys Parker and
Matt Stone, "Team America" is not a film I was overly excited for
prior to release. I'm not a "South Park" fan, and I did not
really like "South
Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut" either. But even in the
"South Park" feature film, I had to admit--the songs were sometimes
brilliant, and here in "Team America", the score might be the best
thing about the movie. Using cheesy action theme music during
the action sequences and lyrical numbers to bridge the acts, you
will love the music if you saw a ton of action films in the 80s and
90s like I did, if anything because songs like "America...Fuck Yeah"
and "Montage" really do capture the essence of...well, you'll see.
Even a rant on films by Michael Bay seems funnier in song; who would
have thought that a critique of the acting in "Pearl Harbor" would
have been so funny?
All this, and the film is just so wrong
throughout...man, lines like "Oh Gary, I'm not going to fuck your
mouth, so get in the car already!" shouldn't have been allowed, but
whammo, there they are. The racism is rampant in "Team
America"; when a Korean pilot is shot down, his last words are "Ping
Pong! Ping Pong!!!"; and a scene featuring the destruction of
Panama Canal shows us a steel drummer dancing on the Canal at 7:15
in the morning just before he's unceremoniously drowned...and, his
donkey and three roosters go right along with him. Kim Jong
Il's stereotyped Engrish won't win over any fans, either...hell, the
title for his song is "I'm So Ronery", a play on "lonely" that
somehow is funny AND wrong at the same time.
And, don't even get me started on the sex
scene, or the treatment of homosexuals, or the fact that all the
Middle Easterners in "Team America" only seem able to say "mohammad",
"jihad", or "dergery dergery." And, plenty of other famous
people get dragged through the mud here, even Helen Hunt, who is
voiced by a man in this film.
Which brings this full circle--if you can
come into "Team America" knowing that the chances that you will be
offended by it are near 100%, then you will actually have a great
time watching this film. Not for the sensitive!
Rating: Opening Weekend
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard