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Team America: World Police (15)



Review by: Jack Foley | Rating: One

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Deleted/extended scenes and outtakes. Animated storyboards. 2 theatrical trailers. 9 featurettes including: Team America An Introduction, Building The World, Crafting The Puppets / Pulling The Strings, Capturing The Action, Miniature Pyrotechnics, Up Close With King Jong Il, Dressing Room Test. Puppet Tests.

TERRORISM, world politics and Jerry Bruckheimer-style action pictures get the South Park treatment in Team America: World Police, a biting and frequently hilarious satire which, sadly, doesn't know when to call it a day.

Written and directed by Matt Stone and Trey Parker, the film emerges as a lively and frequently incisive romp during its opening 45 minutes, only to become overly repetitive and heavy-handed during the overblown finale.

Rather like one of the excessive Hollywood blockbusters it is seeking to deride, Team America feels over-bloated to the point of being sickening, thereby threatening to undo much of the good work that has come before.

The World Police in question are a Thunderbirds-style group of marionettes, whose sole aim is to save the world from the clutches of terrorism no matter what cost to themselves or the people around them.

The film begins with an Osama bin Laden-style marionette picking up a briefcase containing a weapon of mass destruction in the centre of Paris, only to find himself surrounded by Team America's gung-ho heroes.

In the ensuing gun battle, The Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe and The Louvre are destroyed, although no one seems to care given that American firepower has prevailed.

Yet the team is quickly called back into action after uncovering a plan to destroy the world by North Korean leader, Kim Jong II, who has also enlisted the unwitting help of the cream of Hollywood's outspoken actors (Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Matt Damon, Susan Sarandon and co) to help turn public opinion against the world police.

Needless to say, Team America has already antagonised the censors, who insisted on several cuts before passing the film for American audiences, while dividing viewers into those who got the joke and those who dismissed it as merely offensive. It will, no doubt, similarly split audiences in the UK.

Hence, those of a nervous disposition ought to steer well clear, while anyone who thinks the subject matter is too sensitive to be satirised will doubtless label it a vile creation.

In truth, it's not that bad, especially if you take it the right way, and given the high level of infantile fun that's contained within the film's opening section.

Several of the foul-mouthed songs are hilarious, while the much-debated marionette sex scene is a blast, serving as the movie's hysterical climax.

But it's pretty much downhill from there, as proceedings become drowned amid a tidal wave of bad taste and over-familiarity that pretty much makes Team America as bad as the films it is trying to parody.

Still, if the idea of seeing countless world momuments being blown up, or A-list actors being mercilessly shot, appeals to your sense of humour, then Team America pulls all the right strings.

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