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EXCLUSIVE: 'Postal' Actually A Good Movie

sjohnson
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Posted July 3, 2007 - By Stephen Johnson

TheFeed's guest reviewer Fernando Phagabeefy took in an advance screening of Uwe Boll's videogame to movie translation Postal. Read his surprising reaction, below.

Ready for a shock to the World Wide Web?

Dr. Uwe Boll's POSTAL is one of the funniest movies of the year (not counting A MIGHTY HEART, of course) and his most accomplished film to date.

Of course, even the best Uwe Boll film could be pretty bad, considering the cinematic drivel that hovers over Boll's filmography like a dust cloud over Pigpen, but POSTAL is good enough to live on as one of the most hilariously shocking satires of American Plop-culture since John Waters' FEMALE TROUBLE & Paul Verhoeven's ROBOCOP & STARSHIP TROOPERS.

POSTAL bathes in political incorrectness with childlike delight, aiming to offend anyone and everyone equally and (mostly) hitting every target. With POSTAL, Boll has crafted his own CITIZEN KANE ("CITIZEN BOLL?"), and it will surely be one of the most talked about films of the fall, and live on as a true cult classic.

The story is basic in its plot, but allows for our hero, "Postal Dude" (played with perfectly timed comic energy by TITUS’s Zach Ward, the film's real secret weapon) to stroll through the decaying American Dream and expose our culture as the jaded, religion- obsessed consumerists we truly are. Sometimes only an outsider like Verhoeven, or Paul Greengrass with UNITED 93, could hold a mirror up to the American society so objectively (and what PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS faltered on), and Boll does it with manic glee.

Postal Dude is your basic trailer-trash-with-a-dream archetype, recently laid off and despising life, searching for the big score to pull himself out of the dregs of the town of "Paradise" and away from his grossly obese wife. P.D. seeks the advice of his Uncle Dave (THE KIDS IN THE HALL's Dave Foley), a con-artist-turned-Cult Leader, and the two concoct a get rich (and laid) quick scheme that happens to overlap with the Taliban's plan to dominate the US on it's own turf, starting with "Paradise".

What transpires is a mishmash of interweaving plots, crazed crisscrossing characters, and PLENTY of bullets, leaving no taboo untouched by its satirical slant. Bad Asian drivers, corrupt cops, religious zealots, self-absorbed celebs, trendy coffee shops, George W. Bush, Al Qaeda, and of course the handicapped, are all equally targeted for offense. But POSTAL has a similar heart to SOUTH PARK; the climax wrings a lesson from the crass chaos, so we can feel better about laughing at the preceding vulgarities.

Dr. Boll has not only taken a one-note videogame and written a crassly smart mirror reflecting our jaded, over-caffeinated times, but also assembled his best cast yet. POSTAL is chock full of seasoned comedy vets mixed with serious thespians (who would have thought a Cassavetes alumnus like Seymour Cassel would star in a flick like this?) all having a great time with the subversively offensive script. From Dave Foley, who rivals Kevin Bacon for funniest male nudity reveal in decades, to Larry Thomas, famous for his "Soup Nazi" character in SEINFELD, who gives an inspired turn as Osama Bin Laden that might actually make you chuckle next time you see the real Bin laden on TV. The cast is strong, but more importantly, they get the joke. In addition, Zach Ward, with his squinted eyes and shock of orange hair that might at first prove hard to shake his iconic role as Scut Farkas in A CHRISTMAS TALE, is a revelation as Postal Dude, both eliciting laughs and sympathy, and yet still kicks quite an ass when the guns are drawn. Other than an underwritten role for Jackie Tohn as the Coffee shop employee who becomes Postal Dude's cohort and love interest, the parts in POSTAL are juicy with absurdity and crude characterization, and everyone takes a huge bite.

Even Boll himself makes an image-skewering cameo (as who else? Dr.Uwe Boll, shitty film director!) and might have the funniest moment in the film when he describes his film funding methods; "All my moovies are made Wit Nazi Gold!" he says with a grin, then promptly pays Verne Troyer (playing himself) an appearance fee with plucked gold teeth.
Horrifying and hilarious, which aptly describes POSTAL's comic tone.

POSTAL's visuals have (for a Boll flick) a strangely accomplished, widescreen style that both adds to the overall scope of the film, but allows for some inspired (and disgustingly outrageous) set pieces, including a kid killing-spree montage and a trailer park shootout that would make John Woo's weapons wrangler jealous. 

The film moves at a Uzi-like clip, with jokes flying as furiously as the body parts, and while not every gag or moment works (some of the Taliban humor falls flat), POSTAL leaves no taboo unturned and sports a surreal comic quality not seen in films often these days, it's cinematic cousin being more TOP SECRET! and WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER  than most formulaic comedies of the day.

Aside from the explosively funny and demented opening scene (a sick nod to UNITED 93), the film also boasts one hell of a closing image, which will not be spoiled here, but it's as biting and outrageously inspired as the final moments of DR. STRANGELOVE. You'll be gasping at how "wrong" it is, yet laughing at the same time.

Before you start thinking this review was birthed from the laptop of it's director, who is known for his shrewd marketing antics both on the internet and in the boxing ring (when he challenged online reviewers to a boxing match, where he deftly bashed their asses in with the same smile as in his cameo), the film is not perfect by any stretch. It's crude, sometimes campy, almost like the Troma movie Troma could never afford. There are plenty of jokes and scenes that fall flat, some jabs dont quite connect, and a few actors feel like leftovers from Boll's previous, er, "films" like ALONE IN THE DARK & HOUSE OF THE DEAD. But more often than not, POSTAL will leave you laughing and begging for more.

Before you blindly bash Dr. Boll's latest video game-to-film "port" based on his previous work, leave your bullsh#t baggage at the door. The film is his most "intentional" comedy yet, a ballsy satire with an offensive mouth, a lot of gore and even a little heart. With POSTAL, Dr. Uwe Boll, the supposed "Satan of  Cinema", has finally shown that he's a lot smarter (and funnier) than the geek culture bashes him for, and he might have the cult classic he's been striving to achieve...and might get a little respect out of it.
Don't worry though; Boll's got Seven more movies in the works this year alone to muck those props up real good.

God bless America, and god bless Dr. Uwe Boll....at least untll SEED or DUNGEON SIEGE is released.

--Fernando Phagabeefy

EXCLUSIVE: 'Postal' Actually A Good Movie
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