out of Five
Running time: 107
Thunderbirds meets Jerry Bruckheimer – this has pretty much everything you’d expect from the makers of South Park: scathing political satire, crude humour and several hilarious gags.
Channel 4 seem to have lost interest in South Park of late, but rest assured, it’s still going strong and is, in many ways, the most openly political show on television. Meanwhile, South Park geniuses Matt Stone and Trey Parker have brought their satirical talents to the big screen once again with this frequently crude, often hilarious comedy that pulls no punches, dishing it out to both the left and the right equally. It’s also a brilliant pastiche of Hollywood action movies, only with an all-marionette cast.
Battling Terrorism No Matter What The Destruction
Team America are a group of highly trained commandos dedicated to battling terrorism around the world, no matter how many national monuments get in their way. After flattening Paris the Team call in Broadway actor Gary Johnston and persuade him to use his ACTING skillz in order to infiltrate a terrorist cell in Cairo. Unsurprisingly, Cairo gets destroyed in the process. The team then uncover a plot by Kim Jong Il that involves Weapons of Mass Destruction and a peace conference featuring all of Hollywood’s left-wing elite…
All the Bruckheimer-style action movie clichés are present and correct, including huge explosions, over-the-top violence, ridiculous montage sequences, a hero with a tortured past (Gary’s ACTING skillz got his brother beaten to death by gorillas), cheesy one-liners and implausible stunts. There’s even a hilarious sex scene, the pornographic climax of which was apparently trimmed in order to secure a lower rating.
This is, essentially, the film that Thunderbirds should have been – they even have a Thunderbirds-style HQ inside a hollowed-out Mount Rushmore. The puppets are extremely impressive and the fact that the strings are constantly visible is used to brilliant comedic effect, particularly during one of the film’s crudest scenes. The special effects are good too – you’ll believe a puppet can vomit!
As with South Park: The Movie, the soundtrack features some superb songs, such as the Team’s theme tune (“America – Fuck, yeah!”), the montage-scoring “We Need A Montage” (borrowed from South Park) and a hilariously soppy love song about heartache called “Pearl Harbor Sucked And I Miss You”.
In what seems like a missed opportunity, there’s no puppet for George Bush, presumably because the film was made before the election and Parker and Stone didn’t want to commit themselves to a President. As a result the film often feels weighted towards bashing the liberal left, although the whole Team America ethos brilliantly skewers right wing politics, just without personal attacks.
Works Brilliantly And Is Frequently Hilarious
There’s a huge amount to enjoy here – additional highlights include the
“string-fu” fight sequences; Kim Jong Il speaking with Eric Cartman’s voice (almost as if Cartman were doing the voice himself) and feeding Hans Blix to his sharks; and – the film’s best gag - a hilarious confrontation between two members of Team America and some “ferocious panthers”.
There’s also a brilliantly inspired climactic monologue (which we get twice, in Action Movie Cliché-style) that builds a theory of international relations around the interaction of “dicks, pussies and assholes” and is, bizarrely, as sensible as it is crudely funny.
To sum up, Team America is frequently hilarious and works brilliantly on a number of different levels – it’s well worth seeing, despite the fact that the humour may not be to everyone’s taste. In short, as Parker and Stone might say, “Team America? Fuck, yeah!”