In 2004, Team America: World Police was exactly what the world needed. Its biting satire of America’s gung-ho approach to global issues was timely in the midst of the Iraq War. But, more than that, the beauty of Team America was that it also skewered the drippy ideals of those on the other end of the political spectrum in the shape of the hilariously abbreviated Film Actors Guild.
Nine years after its release, Team America: World Police has just been released on Blu-ray. Is it still relevant after all of these years? Definitely. In the wake of Syria and similar potential interventions, America’s “let’s police the world” ideology is just as ripe for satire.
So here are ten reasons that you should definitely buy a copy of Team America on shiny Blu-ray. This post will of course contain tonnes of spoilers.
10. The Satire
Team America is equal opportunities offensive. Everyone gets the vicious barbs of Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s trademark irreverence. The main target is the American Right’s determination to intervene in the rest of the world, but there’s plenty of space reserved to have a crack at actors who try to involve themselves in politics as well.
The entire film also works as an obvious spoof of big budget action cinema. All of the expected genre clichés are present and correct, with the added hilarity of marionettes.
9. Kim Jong-Il
It’s gratifying to know that, for many, Kim Jong-Il’s legacy is as one of the most memorable comic creations in post-millennium cinema. Team America: World Police casts the former North Korean dictator as a crazed despot, complete with just about every racial stereotype imaginable. And yet, despite the apparently lazy characterisation, the heightened atmosphere of the film allows the character to work absolutely perfect.
His iconic song about being “ronery” never stops being hilarious and I could listen to him attempt to pronounce the word “inevitable” all day.
The violence in Team America: World Police is absolutely majestic. Only in the world of Parker and Stone could we see Samuel L Jackson getting his head kicked off, Matt Damon having his neck broken and Helen Hunt being dismembered in the space of a few minutes.
Marionette violence allows for near limitless levels of decadent gore. It’s not even close to realism, so body parts can fly, blood can slosh and basically anything goes. That suits us just fine…
It’s about as puerile a gag as any film could ever get away with, but Team America: World Police’s band of murderous actors couldn’t really be called anything else. The amount of laughs Parker and Stone manage to mine from a joke that should wear thin early is amazing.
Tell me you’ll ever get tired of Alec Baldwin saying things like: “you really made the world a better place, didn’t you fag?” and “that’s the fag way”. It’s on the same level as the Despicable Me 2 “bottom” gag: immature genius.
6. The Songs
The first time that you watch Team America: World Police, it’s entirely possible that some of the music will go over your head. Songs like the Michael Bay-baiting The End of an Act and Freedom Isn’t Free seem amusing the first time, but multiple viewings reveal them to be hilarious classics.
Perfectly aiming potshots at the scores of the action films that it parodies, the songs of Team America are one of the film’s true delights. Montage is a lot of fun if you’re out running.
5. Pop Culture References
Matt Stone and Trey Parker are best known for South Park, which draws heavily on pop culture for gags. Team America: World Police is no different, with the group of actors offering plenty of opportunities to dig at popular culture.
There are also references to Star Wars, a whole load of action movies and a stunning musical parody of Rent. The beauty of these references is that they refer to culture that is timeless rather than in the moment. Nine years haven’t aged the cultural riffs at all, meaning that the film still feels as fresh today as it did back then.
4. General Craziness
If any proof is needed of Team America’s utter craziness, the clip above is a good start. Very few films can suggest that a real world leader is actually an alien insect – but Team America: World Police is perfectly content to do that. It’s also willing to portray Michael Moore as a gluttonous suicide bomber and Matt Damon as a man of rather limited vocabulary.
Simply put, the film is a masterpiece of stuff that’s just too insane to work in any other medium. Even the central puppet premise is ridiculously off-the-wall. That said, no-one would expect any different from the guys behind South Park.
3. The One-Liners
Few films, except perhaps the ones on this list, are able to match Team America: World Police for sheer quotability. Parker and Stone are absolute masters of the crude one-liner and their skill with an insult should never be understated. Everyone of Chris’s attacks on Gary is perfectly written filth and Kim Jong-Il continuously spouts gold.
A comedy film more or less lives or dies on the strength of its joke writing, and Team America goes down as a definite victory.
2. Marionette Mounting and Puppet Pounding
Need I say more?
Unsurprisingly, Stone and Parker had a number of problems getting this scene past the censors. At least nine different edits of it were shown to the MPAA before they finally agreed to classify Team America: World Police at R, rather than the brutal NC-17 rating. As hard as the duo tried, they were eventually forced to cut scenes of urolagnia and coprophilia from the full sequence.
As an extended gag about what kids do with their Barbie dolls, it’s one of the silliest, funniest scenes in the entire film. Purely as an exercise in defying a terrible censorship body, it’s even better.
1. Dicks, Pussies and Assholes
The entire ethos of Team America: World Police is put across beautifully in this clip alone. It’s two minutes of biting social commentary, all wrapped up in a delicious coating of puerile, frat boy smut that couldn’t possibly be funnier.
Controlling a room full to the brim with political leaders by virtue of a worldview spouted by a drunk man in a bar is pure genius. It exposes the stupidity of politics, the wisdom of the ordinary man and the outright hypocrisy of just about everyone. It’s brilliant, and is worth the price of the new Team America Blu-ray all by itself.
Do you agree that Team America: World Police is a comedy classic? Will you be buying the Team America Blu-ray? Are there any awesome things that I’ve missed off this list? Let me know in the comments below.