Tropic Thunder is the satirical and often hilarious jab at Hollywood and actors excesses that make up what the public really sees it as.
Film making 20/25
Bonus Features 15/25
I’m not a true fan of satire and Ben Stiller is not my kind of actor but parts of Tropic Thunder were so correct, not politically correct, at how we see actors and Hollywood in general that it was funny. The take on Hollywood and how they always do things their way often lends to comedy in itself and Tropic Thunder shows this exactly.
The movie is a straight out satire of action war movies and the typical Hollywood star out to glamorize themselves in any way they can. One note to this movie I thought was hilarious is the over the top acting by Tom Cruise that was so absurd it was hilarious.
Ben Stiller plays the action “star” Tugg Speedman who has five hit movies behind his belt and leads this all star cast. Robert Downey Jr. plays Kirk Lazarus, Jay Baruchel plays Kevin Sandusky and Brandon T. Jackson plays Alpha Chino while we have a great performance of drug-addled Jeff Portnoy played by Jack Black.
The five actors are starring in a new action thriller recounting the rescue of a Vietnam soldier by others that was written by war veteran John “Four Leaf” Tayback’s book. Tayback played by Nick Nolte is on scene as technical director and helps the director take the five actors to the heart of the jungle for some inspiration.
After the actors are arguing and fail to make a take of a four million dollar explosives scene the director argues with the studio executive Less Grossman played by Tom Cruise. Cruise is your typical balding studio exec and wants the film to start showing some kind of foreward movement as they are a month behind and only five days into shooting.
The director is worried about the film and his fledgling career and tries to convince the prima donna actors to start taking things seriously. When this fails he gets a suggestion by Tayback to take the actors into the jungle and film them from a single camera the director runs and remote cameras they will place.
He takes the war veterans idea to heart and whisks the actors in full costume to a deep jungle location unknowingly placing them all in the middle of the drug growing center of Asia. The director gives the five actors their initial instructions and promptly blows himself up with a landmine leftover from the French Indochina War.
The actors are initially frightened and realize the director has not simply gone off in a vanishing smoke trick to start the film as Stiller’s character is convinced of. Stiller leads the four off to start the filming and right into the heart of the Golden Triangle, the heart of the heroin poppy fields.
The Flaming Dragons, the drug producers, capture Tugg Speedman when the others take off after Tugg seems to go a bit mad and wants to continue filming the movie. The four are sure the director is dead and take off in the correct direction to head back to the landing site and get out of the jungle.
Tropic Thunder continues with Tugg Speedman, a special effects coordinator and Tayback, who is not actually the war hero everybody thought he was, captured by the Flaming Dragons. The four others rescue them and win the day against the real gun toting drug producers and escape but with the actors learning a thing or two about themselves and their work.
The entire movie is a satire and has a lot of whimsical and downright dumb parts but it also has some shining moments of filming as well. The entire movie may not be everyone’s cup of tea but it can be funny and hilarious at times like Less Grossman’s acting the downright maniacal and foul mouthed studio executive.
The film is a hard look at what actors and others in the acting business can believe themselves to be to a real farfetched degree. Even the drug producers are shown to be so stupid when they realize they have the actor of the only film they have ever watched in their possession.
Tropic Thunder is one of those movies you are either going to be amused by and find funny or you are going to wish you had not bothered to waste your time with. If you like satire and off brand humor poking fun at Hollywood and actors in general you may find this a great film.
The Blu-ray edition extra features include the typical director commentary and commentary from cast members as well as several short pieces such as making the big war scene and how they came about the final story of Tropic Thunder. A real interesting piece about the special effects and blowing things up is included and a look at creating the look of making a film is a neat addition.
There are some more deleted and extended scenes as well as clips from filming that are kind f funny with various cast and an alternate ending to the film. You also have the BD Live feature that allows you to download a bunch of additional scenes and creations from the film.
There is a lot of additional bonus material on the Tropic Thunder Blu-ray edition that adds up to a whole lot of value. But of course you have to be interested in the film in order to stand watching much after it, it definitely takes a certain type of humor to watch Tropic Thunder but it is funny at times.
While Tropic Thunder is not my type of movie it is still good and does have its great moments, take a look and you may be surprised at what you find. The Blu-ray edition also includes a lot of additional features to really round out this film experience.