Team America – World Police : Uncut Special Collector’s Edition (DVD)

The “South Park” team have got military hardheads and Hollywood handwringers in their sights in this sexed-up satire with strings attached.


Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Kristen Miller, Masasa, Daran Norris

The “South Park” team have got military hardheads and Hollywood handwringers in their sights in this sexed-up satire with strings attached.

Making marionettes act out the time worn plot spasms of a Top Gun-style blockbuster was always going to be fun for director Trey Parker and co-writer Matt Stone, but it was also going to be easy.

In lesser hands Team America: World Police could have been a puppet version of Hot Shots! Part Deux but the South Park team have gone the extra mile, throwing in hardcore puppet sex, copious swearing and blasphemy, projectile vomiting, puppet disembowelment and ethnic insensitivity. What’s not to like?

Gary, an actor starring on Broadway in Lease: The Musical (key song – “Everybody’s Got AIDS”), is the ultimate weapon. He’s got a deliciously square jaw and a double major in theatre and international languages. It’s only a matter of time before he comes to the attention of the mysterious (and barely closeted) Agent Spottswoode. Gary is to join the USA’s crack freedom-fightin’ anti-terrorist squad, Team America.

There, he’ll use his incomparable Broadway technique to infiltrate an Arab terror cell and Save the World. But that’s not all. He’ll also confront the memory of his dead brother, torn apart by gorillas during a family trip to the zoo. He’ll engage in hardcore puppet sex with a fellow team member. He’ll hit the bottle after a failed mission end and up lying face down in gallons – yes, gallons – of his own vomit. And he’ll come back from the brink to Save the World once more – this time from North Korea’s Kim Jong Il and a cabal of appeasement-minded Hollywood A-listers.

Sophisticated satire? Hardly. Parker and Stone’s geopolitical theory is based around the idea that the world is divided into three camps: “dicks, pussies, and assholes”- but Team America still works on just about every other level: as a gross-out comedy, as a dumb-ass satire, as a musical. As in South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, the funniest moments often come in song. Team America’s theme, “America, F**K Yeah!” blares whenever they blast off from their Mount Rushmore HQ and their heart-wrenching power ballad scores a direct hit on Jerry Bruckheimer: “I miss you more than Michael Bay missed the mark/When he made Pearl Harbor/ I miss you more than that movie missed the point/And that’s an awful lot, girl.”

It’s also a great visual achievement. Roaming around impressively detailed, one-third scale sets, the camera work is terrific, the action sequences hammy but very much on-the-money. The puppetry (by the Chiodo brothers) revels in its own Thunderbirds-style inadequacy when it comes to walking, fighting or, in this case, fucking.

But the real strength of Team America: World Police lies in its even-handedness. Parker and Stone mock liberal Hollywood and hawkish government, they mock action, they mock romance, mock the conventions of movie sex, the snobby French (naturellement), Broadway musicals, film censorship boards (just how do you classify hardcore puppet love?) and anything remotely “foreign” to the middle-American way of thinking.

Move over Michael Moore. The definitive cinematic response to the War on Terror isn’t Fahrenheit 9/11 anymore, it’s Team America: World Police.

Extras on the newly-released ‘Uncut’ Special Collectors Edition include an abundance of featurettes, deleted scenes, storyboards but still, no commentary.

Rating :
Reviewer : Jason Blake