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POSTAL (UNRATED)
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Reviewed by: Pat Torfe

Directed by: Uwe Boll

Starring:
Zack Ward
Dave Foley
Chris Coppola
Larry Thomas

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about

A recently laid off loser of a man (Zack Ward) teams up with his cult-leading Uncle Dave (Foley) to steal ballsack-shaped Krotchy dolls from a local amusement park to sell on eBay to make some cash. Coincidentally, the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden want to do the same thing, except replace the part about 'selling the dolls on eBay' with 'lace them with biological chemical agents and then sell them'. Uwe Boll and George Bush show up (the former wearing lederhosen), bullets fly, and videogame fans wait with baited breath as to what kind of sh*tstorm Boll has cooked up.

Is it good movie?

Alright, before I get mass emails (yeah, right) from video game fans wanting Uwe Boll to die in a fire, let it be known that I too have been a fan of videogames for many years (come on, I reviewed them on this site), and I absolutely hated what Boll had done with his previous videogame-to-film efforts. That said, the man is obviously a real-life internet troll who wants nothing more than to push videogame fans' buttons 'for the lulz', and will eventually have to do something else before folks cease to care.

Enter POSTAL, which despite the title, has little to do with the original game it was based on, save for a few references here and there. Instead of going the action-horror route, this time Boll figured he'd go balls out with an action-comedy, emphasizing as much South Park-type humour as possible, and offending as many people as possible. The question is, is all this offensiveness funny? In short, not really.

Despite a sort-of-funny beginning with two of the Taliban discussing the topic of how many virgins they get (or don't get) if they become martyrs, and a spot where the aftermath of a shooting rampage has a hundred dead kids lying around and a reporter complaining that they're heavy to move, the rest of the film tries too hard and spirals downward into aping a South Park episode, which isn't so much flattering as it is annoying (just for the record, I haven't enjoyed South Park since they decided to do all of their 'satire'). Acting wise, while I give Zack Ward credit for keeping a straight face (and his sanity) through the film, everyone else comes off as boring or just plain awful. I will give Boll credit for picking some hot ladies for the eye candy, but even that can't save POSTAL.

In fact, some of the 'jokes' in the film wouldn't make any intelligent person laugh, and some are downright tasteless. I realize that some of these are supposed to be tongue in cheek and satirical, but having Dave Foley doing a full frontal for over a minute (including taking a dump and not wiping) isn't satire or funny (at least to me), and the same with the 'George Bush/Bin Laden skipping while holding hands' scene. They're not clever, and they serve no purpose other than entertaining people who really don't know what humour is (really, the former shows just how far Foley's career has fallen since Kids In The Hall). The same goes for the scene involving a corrupt cop using a brain-damaged paraplegic's pandering for donations as a way to get some quick money, or the Holocaust jokes during the Little Germany scene.

I know that this might seem ironic coming from a guy who loved SUPER TROOPERS, but at least the Broken Lizard crew put some thought into what they were doing, unlike Boll, who seems to have half-heartedly tried to make something resembling a comedy (complete with a rip-off scene of morality a la South Park), but promptly screwed it up with brain-dead humour. Actually, I take that back. Boll basically tried to make his own version of a mash-up of a Jason Friedberg/Aaron Seltzer film and a Troma film and succeeded, in that he made a film resorting to lame gags and unfunny jokes to pass the time.

Oh, there's stuff to offend for those who get off on that sort of thing, but I'm guessing your definition of 'funny' isn't consistent with someone who lost a family member in 9/11 or the Nazi prison camps. POSTAL is probably watchable if you're loaded, but you'd have to be close to passing out to get to that point. At which point, you'll probably be wanting to pass out.

Video / Audio

Video: One word (actually two) comes to mind upon seeing the 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer: interlacing errors. The video is full of 'em. Granted, it might be the promo copy I received, but it's ridiculous how much of it there is. Edge enhancement also crops up, but it's nowhere near as distracting. As for colour, everything's consistent, though not very vibrant, and feels kind of flat.

Audio: Consisting of a Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo track, guess which one you'll be picking? It doesn't really matter which one you pick, as they both sound pretty much the same, thanks to a shortage of directional and multi-channel effects. From explosions to gunfire, everything that's supposed to be loud is appropriately, uh, loud (probably to compensate for the lack of directionals).

The Extras

Double your pleasure, double your pain. The Unrated version of POSTAL comes with two discs of 'fun'.

First up is commentary with director Uwe Boll, and for a guy who talks non-stop, he's actually quite informative at first, that is until he gets going on a tangent about POSTAL being his 'personal revenge' on Hollywood, the fans, the haters, the world (?!) etc. for treating him like crap (gee, I wonder why?). After that, the commentary drifts between informative and his rants about stuff like how POSTAL is full of 'courage' for not pussying out to the censors or something. Overall, the commentary would be better if he kept it straight and not used it to take pot shots.

Next up is a sort of behind-the-scenes featurette entitled A Day In Little Germany: On The Set Of Postal. Running just over 9 minutes, this is below EPK, showing various shots of the Little Germany set with oompah music playing over the actual audio from the set. No real information, just mugging and tasteless attempts at humour.

Following that is probably the most worthwhile extra, Raging Boll: The Director Boxes His Critics. For those who don't know (or recall), Boll decided to box some of his more vocal critics 'for charity', as well as use the footage in the film (though it's nowhere to be found in the film). Boll's first opponent was Richard 'Lowtax' Kyanka of SomethingAwful.com, who got his ass handed to him by Boll (and rightfully so, considering how unfunny SomethingAwful.com is for a humour website). After Lowtax was Jeff Sneider of Ain't It Cool News, who fared somewhat better, but Boll still managed to own the match (no matter how much running around the ring Jeff did). Chris Alexander of Rue Morgue fared the best out of the bunch, as he lasted the longest and actually made Boll break a sweat. Chance Mintner, a '17 year-old web site critic', received the worst beating and never really landed a punch.

Last up on the first disc is a Verne Troyer Clip, with Verne calling out Harrison Ford and the latest INDIANA JONES film, saying POSTAL is the superior film (which is about as funny as chewing tinfoil, and just as painful), and the film's theatrical trailer.

The second disc contains the full version of POSTAL 2 for the PC, which is okay, if only just to kill Gary Coleman with a rotting cow's head (seriously) or piss on the bodies of dead terrorists.

Last Call

As far as this film goes (and from what I've seen of his other work), POSTAL is probably the best of Boll's career, but that's not saying much. Instead of being offensive in an unintentionally hilarious sense, Boll has decided to go the high road and offend folks in an unintentionally unfunny sense. Maybe I wasn't in the right mood for it, but if you think jokes about the Holocaust and 9/11 are funny, you might find some enjoyment in this. Other people will shake their heads in wonder and disbelief at how Boll keeps doing this.

ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

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