Rob Abrazado (flatvurm) wrote,
Rob Abrazado

Going postal

Turns out maybe I should have followed my instincts yesterday and not gone to work. It was crap. But I went anyway, so...that was that. Not much to talk about in that regard, so in lieu of a life update, what say we wrap up this Video Game Movie Project, yeah? :)

The final installment of the Project, not counting the Mortal Kombat epilogue, was the late addition of another Uwe Boll movie, Postal. This one is based on a video game of the same name, which I had heard of at some point in the past, but never actually seen or played or know anything about. It turns out, apparently, that there's not much to know: you run around and shoot people. I know this description actually doesn't differentiate it from a lot of other video games, but in this case, that's apparently the whole description. From the game's Wikipedia entry: "There is no plot as such." Swell. :)

The movie improved on this premise somewhat by adding a storyline. I say "improved," but...well, I'll explain what I can.

The protagonist of the film, who is never really given a name, but is called "the Postal Dude," for reasons never really made clear in the film, is a guy just living out his crappy life in the town of Paradise, Arizona. He is apparently trying to fly on the straight-and-narrow, having retired from a life of running cons with his shady Uncle Dave. Dave, however, has gone the other direction and is now living a life of luxury and decadence under the auspices of his greatest con yet: acting as the leader of a hippie-dippy doomsday cult. The Dude's attempt to live a good life is continually thwarted, however, and after a day of being turned down by both job interviews and unemployment, finding his wife is cheating on him, and getting mugged, he finally snaps and agrees to take up his Uncle Dave's offer to join him in getting some criminally-obtained easy money. Postal Dude wants the money so he can finally get out of town. Uncle Dave wants the money to pay off the back taxes he owes to the government.

The plan turns out to involve hijacking a shipment of the hottest toy around, the Krotchy doll, a talking plush doll that basically looks liks a giant cock-and-balls, and selling the toys, which are fetching ridiculously high prices. Things get complicated, however, when it turns out that Osama bin Laden and his Al-Qaeda cell (who all happen to be in town) have the same plan, and the two groups run afoul of each other. Further complications emerge when Uncle Dave's right-hand man, a "true believer" in Dave's con of a cult, kidnaps the superstar actor who provides the voice of the Krotchy TV character, on whom the toys are based, in an attempt to further what he believes are the cult's doomsday prophecies, but which are actually just Uncle Dave's absurdist ramblings. Mayhem ensues, etc.

I have the overwhelming urge to qualify or rationalize the following statement somehow, but I'll just come right out with it: the movie actually wasn't that bad.

Okay. Having said that, now let me start to qualify and rationalize. :) Firstly, you have to put up with a lot of senseless violence. But, you knew that already; it's a movie based on a video game where you do nothing but gun people down. Secondly, you really have to put up with a lot of lowbrow puerile humor. In fact, if you take out the senseless violence, that's all this movie's got left. Here's a sampler of the humorous subjects approached by this film: racism (though, to be fair, the movie is basically racist in all directions), orgies, the morbidly obese, orgies with the morbidly obese, bestiality, rape, bestiality rape, police brutality, suicide bombers, the handicapped, and midgets. Also stepping in dog poop, which is always funny. Basically the whole thing is a long series of scenes of mindless violence intercut with cheap shots and juvenile gags. Put like that, of course you realize this thing wouldn't be knocking 'em dead at the Sundance Festival, but somehow, as a whole, it just holds together well. I think that about covers the qualifying.

As for the rationalization, it's entirely possible that much of what I enjoyed about the movie came as a direct result of having already been steeped in way too many video game movies already, and Uwe Boll movies in particular. This one broke new ground by actually becoming an overt and fully self-aware self-parody. And by this I mean: Uwe Boll actually showed up in the movie, as himself, and made fun of himself and his enterprise. Over the course of an interview being performed in the movie, Boll admits to being a pedophile, and explains that all his movie productions are, in fact, funded with Nazi gold. Eventually the creator of the Postal video game, Vince Desiderio, shows up and starts beating the crap out of Uwe Boll. "What have you done to my video game?!" Desiderio shouts while pummeling Boll. When the inevitable mass gunfight erupts around this conflict, Boll gets shot in balls and keels over, moaning, "I hate video games..." That...probably indicates the intellectual level of most of this movie, by the way.

In any case, if anything, that scene increased my respect for Uwe Boll. me it displays an unmistakable self-awareness of in just how bad of esteem he his held. And to be that aware and to just not give a damn, hat's off to you for that, Herr Boll. By offering us that scene, Boll basically acknowledges the criticism he receives for his dreck and says, "Yeah? So? Here's some more." For good or ill, I do like a man who can laugh at himself.

So...let's talk about cast. The lead in the film was played by Zack Ward, who is quickly showing himself to be a Uwe Boll favorite, since he was also the male lead in BloodRayne II: Deliverance playing the vampire Billy the Kid. (I love saying "vampire Billy the Kid.") Aside from Ward and some other Uwe Boll regulars, this movie was actually loaded with a few recognizable names and faces. Heading this collection for me was Dave Foley, who many of you know from comedy troupe Kids in the Hall, and many others from Celebrity Poker Showdown. And, just for the record, if so far nothing has convinced you to give this movie a chance, let me offer you these five words:

Dave Foley full frontal nudity.

I'll let that sink in for a second. All done? Okay.

Moving on, also representing in this movie was J.K. Simmons, who you probably know as Skoda from Law & Order, Schillinger from Oz, the boss in The Closer, or Jameson from the Spider-Man movies. Or any of a million other things he's done. I mean, come on; the dude is recognizable., remember way back when I said part of this plot involved kidnapping an actor? Well the actor in question is none other than famous little person Verne Troyer, who you'll know best probably as Mini-Me.

A small break here. The movie actually drew on a lot of elements from the video game Postal 2, which had a lot more in the way of actual characters and stories and stuff than the first Postal game. Many elements from Postal 2 crop up in the Postal movie, and the inclusion of Troyer is, I believe a substitute for the little person involved in Postal 2, Gary Coleman. (Another nod to Postal 2, by the way? Using a cat as a gun silencer.)

I was also impressed with the imitations they had of Osama bin Laden and George W. Bush, which were both pretty decent.

In summary, I'd say this is probably the best of Uwe Boll's works that I've encountered thus far, which, as you probably know by now, is not saying a whole hell of a lot. Still, it's saying something. The movie itself is pretty much nothing except a lot of ordinary-life-turned-to-sudden-and-omnipresent-violence (which I understand is basically what the video games are about, too), with scenes of senseless death and destruction interrupted with a lot of quick-and-dirty juvenile humor, basically revolving around sex and poop. Even will all that said, I actually found myself genuinely enjoying the show, catching myself even laughing out loud at times. I definitely give the movie points for pulling off an actually fairly well-done self-parody. And I will, at this time, repeat for you those five magic words: Dave Foley full frontal nudity. I admit that it does shame me deep down, but when push comes to shove I'm going to give this movie one tentative thumb up. After all, it could have been worse.

Aaaaand, that, my friends, wraps up the Video Game Movie Project. As I said, I actually wrapped the whole thing up with repeat viewings of Mortal Kombat and Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, which of course I'd seen before and which I feel don't need much rehashing at this time. I'll limit myself to the following summations: MK1, ridiculous. MK2, fucking ridiculous. Thank you.

What's next? Who knows. What I do think is that I definitely need to take a couple steps back and a couple deep breaths. It's possible that I did myself some harm by embarking on this project. I mean...I sat back and enjoyed Postal...know what I mean? It seems like...well, it's not completely unfeasible that I haven't been warped somehow by this project. :) That said, I still found it overall enjoyable, and I hope you've enjoyed coming along on this ride with me. Peace, everybody!
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