Tropic Thunder is a Can’t Miss

Can’t wait for Ben Stiller’s new film, Tropic Thunder, huh?

The RandT had the privilege to attend a private screening last week… Yeah, that’s right! 

Check out our review and a killer uncensored trailer…


Tropic Thunder is a fast-paced, scathingly funny action comedy starring Ben Stiller, Jack Black, and Robert Downey Jr. as a group of actors filming a Vietnam-a-la-Platoon movie when their fed-up writer-director decides to dump them in the middle of a real war. The good ol’ folks at Cinemark’s Tinseltown were kind enough to invite us over for a private screening of the film. 

Although we were advised that the movie was still a work in progress, with sound tweaks and other edits still pending, we felt the movie was absolutely fine as is. This is Ben Stiller’s second film, since 2001‘s outstanding “Zoolander“, which he co-wrote, produced and directed. Sharing those same credits here, Stiller is back in top form. Watch him blow you away with 4 trailers that open the film- each showcasing one of the movie’s main characters. Following up with a killer action sequence, you’ll be left wondering if its actually Stiller and not Jerry Bruckheimer, directing this thing if only for the action. A beautifully built satire of the action-film industry and its lampoonable pomposity.

Good luck catching your breath between laughs and the fast paced action.

Stiller plays Tug Speedman, an established action star who tried turning into a serious actor-with disastrous results. Jack Black plays Jeff “Fats” Portnoy, a comedic star turned drug addict, that satirizes every Eddie Murphy-plays-all-the-roles movie ever made.

But the real treat was Robert Downey Jr.‘s character, Kirk Lazarus, the multiple Academy Award -winning thespian, who undergoes a controversial pigmentation operation to play an African-American character, Sgt. Osiris. Downey, who has long been one of our favorite actors, soars in his role as Lazarus, stealing virtually every scene he is in. You gotta give it to him, this is Downey’s summer, after his smash hit, Iron Man. Downey’s character Lazarus insists on staying in his Sgt. Osiris character throughout the entire movie and effectively exploits every possible stereotype along the way. If there is a “best comedic performance of the year” award out there we can give Downey Jr., sign us up!!

Stiller, abandoning his awkward-but-lovable-victim-guy schtick, does a great job as Speedman , who later in the film, surprises us with a fantastic spoof rendition of Marlon Brando’s Gen. Kurtz in “Apocalypse Now“. In a memorable scene, Stiller’s Speedman finally opens up to Kirk Lazarus about his role in his failed serious film “Simple Jack“, discussing the implications of becoming a character in its full sense. After Tuggman says that at times during the movie, he actually felt retarded (Ha!), in a hysterical attempt to provide constructive feedback. Downey’s Osiris tells Speedman, “Remember Forrest Gump, man. He was retarded, but he charmed the pants off the nation and the president and got an Oscar. In Rain Man, Dustin Hoffman was autistic, but he could count cards and make some money. But then, Sean Penn, in “I Am Sam” well, he couldn’t do nothin’. He went full retard. You can never… ever… go full retard. You went full retard, man”. 

Jay Baruchel and Brandon Jackson give great supporting roles, especially Jackson as rapper-turned-actor Alpa Chino, who has deal with Downey’s Sgt. Osiris‘ antics as a black man.

We were, however, disappointed with how Jack Black was used on this film. If you think back to”Bongwater”, “High Fidelity”, “Orange County” and of course, “School of Rock” and “Nacho Libre”, you would acknowledge Black is a highly talented comedic powerhouse. Seeing him reduced to a heroin junkie going through withdrawal for a third of the entire film was a little hard to stomach. Not until the final 20 minutes of the film, did we see Black shine – tied to a tree to keep his drug-induced withdrawal from compromising a rescue mission, he explains in vivid detail how he would passionately fellate Baruchel’s character Kevin Sandusky, if he would just untie him. A scene that will be quoted across college campuses for many years to come.

And just wait for insanely hysterical cameos from Tom Cruise, Matthew McConneghy, Nick Nolte, Steven Coogan and Tobey Maguire.

We really don’t want to give anything else away, because we want you all to enjoy this movie just as much as we did. If you love Ben Stiller and the comedy stylings that characterized movies like Zoolander, The 40-year-old Virgin, Old School, & Nacho Libre, you are going to love Tropic Thunder. We give it a WAY thumbs up. Especially after watching Stiller’s Speedman getting literally stabbed in the back several times by a 6 year-old as he tries an escape. 

Tropic Thunder
Rated: R
Release Date: 15 August, 2008




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Filed under Film, Opinion

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