Monday, September 22, 2008
Welcome to a new (and hopefully recurring) feature here at the blog-that-no-one-reads, I will joyfully watch films that bathe in the fermenting stew of bad-taste and hopeless shit and dick jokes. We'll start with a newer film, "Postal," the latest English-language travesty from German director Uwe Boll.
It's the wholly unique, completely stupid vision that sets "Postal" apart from the rest of the direct-to-DVD and limited-release litter. Director Uwe Boll's absolute dedication to adolescent, bloody story telling really shoves "Postal" down your throat, whether you want it or not. The film is not a side-tossed idea directed by a studio machine with minimal artistic control and no wriggle room. It wasn't pushed out in response to a marketable trend, with a title that sounds similar to a current blockbuster. It not only aims to entertain, the film actually attempts to make you think, something Boll should have sat long and hard on before he rushed over to the type-writer.
Boll actually poured his heart and soul into the film and crammed every inch of geopolitical and religious commentary he could into so-called themes and plot points. Then again, the director is as known for his video-game adaptation movies as he is for his exploitation of an obscure German tax loophole that allows him to make bank off failed movies. (apparently "Postal" is also a video game adaptation, but have no idea what the two have in common.)
All it takes is five minutes of "Postal" to understand why he has more haters than Rachael Ray, and less talent than Pauly Shore and Steven Baldwin have career sense. The man has challenged his critics to fight on countless occasions, but after his cameo in "Postal" I don't think any vitamin-D deficient scribes are going to take him up on the offer. He looks like one of the Eurotrash goons in Die Hard — slightly silly, yet still menacing (and of course frighteningly German). According to the avclub.com, "major talent agencies refused to let their actors appear in the film on the grounds that the script was too 'disgusting, insulting and over-the-top' for their clients. Many of the actors Boll wanted passed, and distributors refused to take the film out of fear of being attacked by Islamic fundamentalists." Boll thinks the whole world is against him because he speaks the truth, not diarrhea.
He sandwiches his social commentary and political messages between boobs, ultra-violence, dick jokes and girls in bikinis stealing plush male-anatomy dolls called "Krotchys." The bikini-clad bimbos work for a New Age cult leader named "Uncle Dave," [Dave Foley, (how the hell did he wind up in this mess)]. Uncle Dave is in some trouble with the IRS, and he wants to capitalize on "Krotchy's" beanie-baby like craze after he steals the dolls. But, Osama bin Laden and the rest of his homicidal home boys are also after the dolls. Al Qaeda plans to insert vials of Bird Flu into the dolls and then distribute them on a mass scale. "Uncle Dave" is Boll's primary vehicle to smash religion and the lemmings that follow both Christ and Christ-like figures off the figurative cliff. The slams are all far-from-subtle and played-out, or at best, poorly executed.
Boll portrays the terrorists as a bunch of incompetent but American-English speaking, white-collar dudes with extensive keffiyeh collections, and a direct phone line with President Bush who's always helping them out of bullet-ridden jams. It's a scenario that could have produced some good gags, but instead all you get are a few forced smirks. They also film their video releases on a sound stage in a warehouse, fake cave walls and all. One noticeably handicapped terrorist is always crawling around on the ground and looking, well, generally retarded.
Thrown in the middle is the protagonist, named only as "Postal Dude" [Zack Ward, (who?)]. He hates his job, hates his town and really hates his three-thousand-pound wife who's always shaking the family double-wide with some other tooth-challenged neighbor. The most bearable parts of the movie involve Postal Dude's painful existence — a job interview with a psychopathic boss and his evil secretary, a Jersey shore type who always hassles Dude for bus money. But that honeymoon from inane plotting goes out the window when Dude goes all Rambo, shoots terrorist, blows up trailers and jumps on Foley's stuffed-animal-stealing bandwagon. When Dude stops the action to give a 5 minute speech detailing his thoughts on humanity, pointless violence, and the need to come together, he only stops to mercilessly mow down the remaining citizenry.
Like everything in Boll's universe, "Postal" is uneven and out-of-touch with reality. He must have really looked deep and stripped himself of all self-awareness to achieve some zen-like level of cluelessness. When a black cop executes an elderly Asian lady with a shotgun for sitting at a green light through two cycles, the cop says defensively, "She called me a n*****." According to the avclub.com, Boll called the scene his special moment to himself because of his hate for slow (specifically) Asian drivers.
The shootouts and action sequences almost always boil down to Dude waiting for the bad guys to run out of bullets, before stepping out from behind a car/dumpster to shoot all the baddies with a machine gun. For a movie with such a high body count, there really isn't one inspired moment of fight choreography or impressive set design.
The relentless poor taste, irreverence and overall disregard of societal norms would be accepted by me with open arms, if it was funny. But it's not. It's shock humor at its most base level, and political at its most juvenile. Though it does get a few Annals of Bad Taste Bonus Points (ABTBPs) for the sheer number of children struck in the chest and head by stray AK bullets. The kid body count was at least 15.
Annals of Bad Taste score (comparative to others movies with similar taste): 3/10