6 out of 10

Cruel Post-Modernist Send-Up

I sometimes wonder, how long is it before the engineer's test card is made into a film? Give any programme on TV 30 to 40 years, and it inevitably becomes a major movie. Wind the clock back that time from now and maybe it helps to explain the renaissance of Gerry Anderson's creations. For if their "South Park" was Charlie-Brown-gone-wrong, then Trey Parker and Matt Stone's "Team America" is surely "Thunderbirds" after a bad accident at the cutting room.

Rather than a secretive rescue operation, Team America is an organization that is out to take down terrorists gung-ho style, guns ablazing to the strains of "We're America, Fuck Yeah". And whilst they bligthely cause more damage to the world's cultural heritage than the terrorist would have, (destroying the Eiffel Tower, La Louvre and the "Arc De Triumph" in the process of saving Paris) everyone (curiously with Bush excluded) in any camp or view is not safe from the cruelty of the send-up comedy, from weapons inspector Hans Blix to contraversial documentary director, Michael Morre. Everywhere, Parker and Stone just slip the knife between the shoulder blades as subtlely as a Medicii assassin. Most amusing of all is Kim Ill Jong, North Korea's cruel dictator who is protrayed as some sort of James Bond villian, yet treats us to his one of the songs for which Trey and Stone are so rightfully renown, "I'm So Lonely". With backing from a small time Broadway actor, Gary, the Team America squad, led by Spottiswood, must take on Jong and his friends in FAG (Film Actors' Guild), a group of whinning, liberal Hollywood actors including Alex Baldwin, Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon..

Performed entirely with puppets, every fundamental fault with Thunderbird characters is amplified, for instance, as Team America going into combat they are still discussing their relationships and all the Arab terrorists come from "Daka Daka Land". Able to laugh at itself, Team America is finely crafted piece of post-modernism, and yet, it remains at heart, a one-joke movie and well before it's 107 minutes is up, one can't but help keep looking at one's watch.

Too Much Of A Good Thing at 107 Minutes!

Film Critic: Robert L Thompsett