Tropic Thunder (2008)

Vietnam…how original.

It actually is a fairly original concept, well in recent memory anyway. A spoof of the vietnam war? A violent and dark humoured spoof? With some of the best comedy actors in the world? And Jack Black?

Yeah, it makes for a good movie, not a great one but a good one.

The story works well, but it’s nothing to write home about. Director Damein Cockburn (Steve Coogan) is trying and failing to make a movie adaptation of a critically aclaimed book ‘Tropic Thunder’, written by a vietnam veteran who has more to hide than his hooks suggest, after a complete cock-up involving a jungle and a huge amount of napalm, Cockburn decides to take the actors into the most remote part of the jungle and shoot the rest of his film there. Things go from bad to worse, when Tugg Speedman (Ben Stiller) goes A-Wall in his determination to finish the film, and the others try to get him out of a drug-dealing viet kong camp.

The main source of comedy here is the characters themselves, they are a very disfunctional group, each character has their own problems which leads to some hilarious situations. Each character is funny in their own way, making their performances unique. These actors seem to be playing actors in a film, and at on point an actor who is playing an actor has to act like a member of the veit kong in order to infiltrate the camp. I can’t really tell you any more of these funny moments here because of spoilers. But believe me, most of the humour in this is adult and quite dark, but there are some moments when the filmmakers think that the audience has somehow lost IQ whilst watching the film.

There is also the violence, which is suitably bloody and ridiculous for a film that is rated 15, they don’t push the limit but they do make the violence look good. There are explosions all over the place, blood gushing about the place. It is takes the mickey out of films like Platoon, and I think that it may have even done a parody of Forrest Gump at one point.  

Aside from that, there isn’t really much else to talk about. The actors and the humour are what makes this film and the rest just feels kind of bland. The setting works, the viet kong are good as villans beacuse, unlike platoon. The actors are mostly alone in their fight against them and not backed up by the military organisation of the world’s most powerful nation.

In summary, it’s funny. The actors are funny, the dialogue is funny and that’s pretty much all there is to it. Most Comedies have this as well, they have to rely on the characters and situations that they are in to carry the film. And this film gets carried well. Not brilliantly, but well.

Jamie Walshe.

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