Saturday, February 22, 2014

Tropic Thunder (Ben Stiller, 2008) Review

In my review of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, I came to the realisation that Robert Downey Jr is slowly becoming one of my favourite actors so, as a result, I looked to see what how his progress at the Oscars is (it is Oscar season, after all). His nomination for Chaplin makes perfect sense but what surprised me was that he was nominated for this film. I only know one actor who one an Oscar for a comedy, Kevin Kline in A Fish Called Wanda (we'll get to that soon enough), so how good is the film as a whole? Let's find out.

A film crew is sent to Southeast Asia in order to film an adaptation of a Vietnam war memoir however things end up going horribly wrong when the director (Steve Coogan) is caught in an 'incident' leaving the cast and crew to fend for themselves. A gang of drug makers out in the wilderness stalk the cast and crew however they are unaware that the gang are not actors and are real terrorists. The cast, consisting of established actors such as Kirk Lazarus (Robert Downey Jr), Tugg Speedman (Ben Stiller), Jeff Portnoy (Jack Black) as well as up and coming ones like Kevin (Jay Baruchel) and Alpa (Brandon T. Jackson), have to take on the terrorists like real soldiers and figure out what exactly is going on.

Going in, I really wasn't expecting that much but I was intrigued by the inclusion of Robert Downey Jr being among more comedic actors such as Ben Stiller, Jack Black and Steve Coogan. Also, I heard that Downey Jr was nominated for an Oscar for this film but is it warranted? While I couldn't see him win, he is pretty good here. What shines most is his chemistry with Ben Stiller which leads to some very memorable moments. He stands out but that's not to say the other actors aren't good too. Jay Baruchel is always a good actor to watch and a side story including Mathew McConaughey and an un-regonisable Tom Cruise (seriously, that was him?) does a good job of building up towards the film's climax.

The film is a comedy at heart and doesn't forget that. There are many hilarious moments which are often combined with awesome moments making for...hilariously awesome moments, I guess. The way that the film connects all the sub stories together is clever and done surprisingly well (not to mention unexpected in some places). It's rather dark and controversial sense of humour leads to some very quotable lines (I heard "Never go full retard" so many times before even watching the film) so it appears to be a bit of a trendsetter...shame I'm only just jumping on this film since it came out in 2008!

I will admit that I wasn't completely sold on the idea at first as it could've been horrendously awful so I am impressed at how good the film came off. It's not an amazing film but, with solid acting and memorable moments, is worth a watch. Being in University now, I'm running out of films I've seen but still have a lot on my watch list so it may take longer to get reviews out because...I have to watch these films (saving the Transformers trilogy for the release of the new one).

The cast do a good job and it does have some memorable moments that you'll be quoting for a while.

1 comment:

  1. Just when I thought the days of the funny comedy are long gone, they give me Tropic Thunder. If this doesn’t put Stiller on the map of the respectable, then I don't know what will.