Today we’ve posted BC’s review of Uwe Boll’s Postal, which hits limited theaters on May 23 (taking on INDIANA JONES). Living on Social Security and unemployed, DUDE desperately seeks employment, but instead finds a life of violent action and adventure when he teams up with his UNCLE DAVE, a financially strapped cult leader, in an effort to rip off an amusement park, only to find that the Taliban are trying the same heist simultaneously. Read on for the review.
There are a few things I have never understood. What happened to Crystal Pepsi or the Arch Deluxe, why Guns N’ Roses can’t just release “Chinese Democracy”, and what the hell was going on at the end of Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan are particularly troublesome. But none of those holds a candle to my genuine confusion as to why Uwe Boll is so vehemently reviled by fans and critics. Even if you ignore his German films, which are entirely different (and far better) than his first “trilogy” of video game films (Bloodrayne, Alone in the Dark, and House of the Dead), it remains a mystery why he is so hated when A. his video game movies were no worse (or, to be fair, better) than any other video game movie like Super Mario Bros, Double Dragon, or Street Fighter, and B. those other movies were based on genuinely beloved games, unlike Boll’s (come on, who the hell considers Bloodrayne to be a landmark game the way Super Mario is?)
Even ignoring the video game aspect, how are his films any worse than something like Captivity or Dark Ride? I’d watch Tara Reid try to pronounce “Newfoundland” a hundred times before subjecting myself to either one of those pieces of shit again. But yet, his detractors are always out in full force, even placing Bloodrayne in the IMDb bottom 100 before it was even released. And Bloodrayne, to anyone who bothered to watch it, would know that while it may have suffered from woozy casting and an occasionally nonsensical script, was at least professionally made from a technical standpoint. As of right now on the IMDb, there are less technical goofs listed for the film than there are for the Halloween remake. And let’s not forget: there are some people who would like nothing more than to point out Boll’s shortcomings if they could.
Well luckily for us, Boll has turned that negativity into a positive. The reaction to his films is just one of the many things in his new film, Postal (based on yet another (awful) video game), uses for a laugh. And while I am sure there will be a good number of folks who still hate the film (whether they see it or not), I am confident that anyone who approaches the film objectively will probably enjoy it quite a bit, so long as they are not easily offended.
Sort of like South Park meets Kentucky Fried Movie, Postal tells the tale of the Dude (Zach Ward) a trailer park resident whose life is falling apart. His wife cheats on him, he has no job, a would-be mugger hounds him at every turn, and basically, the entire world around him has fallen to shit (terrorism, religious hysteria, assholes on their cell phones at the coffee shop, etc). One day, he hatches a plan with his cousin, Uncle Dave (Dave Foley), to steal a truckload of high demand Furby-like dolls and then sell them for profit. Unfortunately, Osama Bin Laden (Larry Thomas, aka the Soup Nazi) and his minions have plans for the dolls themselves, as they plan to use them to unleash a terror attack. Needless to say, when the two groups meet, all hell breaks loose.
Unlike Boll’s previous three films, this one is INTENTIONALLY funny. It’s not horror or action like the others, but instead a genuine ZAZ-style kitchen sink comedy that manages to fun of pretty much everything, leaving no sacred cow un-tipped (the film’s lone Jew joke is worth the price of admission alone). In fact, even the game’s fans, assuming they exist for some reason, will see that the film is more or less faithful to the game. The Dude is just trying to go about his day; it’s everyone around him that’s an asshole. Eventually he snaps, and Ward does a great job carrying the film even as he turns into a borderline sociopath. The rest of the cast is good as well, save for the annoying character played by Chris Coppola, who is nowhere near as funny as he is supposed to be. But Ward, Foley, Thomas, and the supporting cast (including the great J.K. Simmons as a street preacher) are all in fine form, having a grand old time along with the rest of us.
The first 20 minutes of the film work best, as we open on a truly tasteless but funny United 93 parody. Then we meet the Dude, who is trying to get a job at some corporation run by the always great Rick Hoffman. After that, the laughs aren’t as frequent, but still come along at a mostly even clip. The film does suffer from some pacing issues, particularly near the end of the second act, as our team finds themselves locked in a bunker, resulting in one of the “good guys” turning traitor. The subplot drags, nothing that happens there is particularly funny, and it really only adds a complication to the finale that wasn’t really necessary. But then it picks up again without any real permanent damage. Like all films of its type, the jokes hit as often as they miss, though since so many different types of humor are on display here (slapstick, parody, dry, broad, etc), what’s unfunny to me may be the film’s highlight to someone else. Boll himself even gets a big laugh, poking fun at both the manner in which his films are funded, as well as how his films are viewed by the game’s creators.
Your enjoyment of the film is probably dependent on how easily offended you get. If the sight of George W. Bush (well, a lookalike anyway) amusing himself by using a toy plane to knock over two towers made of Legos is too much for you to handle, then maybe you should stick to According to Jim. Everyone else, prepare yourself for the shocking truth: Uwe Boll’s Postal is a damn fun film, and succeeds where everyone else has failed: it validates using a video game as the source material for a feature film.