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Let's go postal! (Film only)
Member Name: thereddragon
Date: 18/07/09, updated on 18/07/09 (80 review reads)
Advantages: Shocking zany off-the-wall humour, good film adaptation of game
Disadvantages: Not your cup of tea if you're easily offended
Zack Ward as Postal Dude
Dave Foley as Uncle Dave
Verne Troyer as Himself
Larry Thomas as Osama bin Laden
Brent Mendenhall as George W. Bush
Uwe Boll as Himself
One of my guilty pleasures in life is that I admittedly love the 2003 PC game 'Postal 2', one of the most under-rated, under-known (although pretty notorious amongst those who do know of it) and chortle-out-loud hilarious First Person Shooter (FPS) games ever. In this game, you play an Everyman type of character known only as 'Postal Dude', who becomes fed up with life in a rundown trailer park in the fictional town of Paradise, Arizona with an obnoxious demanding wife, an unpleasant dog, and a menial job with the software company Running With Scissors (the makers of the Postal game series). Your day is made even worse when you report to work only to find that you've been sacked. Much mayhem ensues as you 'go postal'.
Along your journey of shooting and being shot at, you encounter a wide variety of bizarre people and situations while you simultaneously try to carry out a series of mundane tasks for your shrewish wife without being killed in the process. 'Postal 2' possessed possibly the most 'nothing is sacred' and off-the-wall humour of any computer game ever, with something guaranteed to offend pretty much any sensibility, but with such wild imagination and zaniness that it really is extremely funny as opposed to just crude for the sake of it. If you can relate to heaps of really outrageous, lurid and wacky humour being thrown at you continuously, you'll love the game, but if you are even the slightest bit Politically Correct or easily offended, you'll want to give it a wide berth.
In the shape of the 2007 movie 'Postal', notorious film director Uwe Boll, infamous for making numerous really terrible video game-based films which pretty much nobody likes, decided to turn his hand to giving us a film based on 'Postal 2'. I was curious to see it but not expecting it to be any good considering who the director was.
And to my surprise, I really enjoyed it. Boll has actually managed to capture the look and feel of the rundown town of Paradise, Arizona and its seedy denizens and tatty graffiti-laced buildings very true to how they appear in the game. However, my one major problem with the credibility of this re-creation of the game was what I felt was a total miscasting of the main character, 'Postal Dude' - the game character is a bitter and twisted, grizzled and gnarly red haired dude looking maybe mid-30s or so, wears sunglasses at all times, a shabby long coat, jeans, a T-shirt depicting an alien's face, and speaks in a gruff deep, snarly voice. Our hero in the film is a wimpy-appearing guy looking maybe mid-20s or so, wears wimpy clothes, acts wimpy and has a wimpy little voice. The only resemblance between the two versions of the character is that they both have red hair!
The very thin plot revolves around a similar theme to the game, of Postal Dude becoming more and more fed up with his life, finding himself embroiled in one insurmountably stressful situation after another. Hope appears to come along in the form of his Uncle Dave, a sex-crazed religious cult leader, who wants him to assist in the theft of a shipment of hugely popular offensive dolls ('Krotchy Dolls' which are in the shape of male genitalia) which could make them a fortune. Of course, everything goes horribly wrong in their endeavours, including it turning out that Osama Bin Laden and the Taliban are in town and also want to get their hands on these dolls for their own nefarious terrorism purposes. Once again, loads of ever-escalating mayhem ensues.
As with the game, the film is totally OTT and overflowing with zany offensive humour, including Uncle Dave's debaucheries, Verne Troyer (Mini-Me from the Austin Powers films) playing a bad-tempered self-obsessed celebrity whose pretty much every word is a swear word, and even an appearance from director Uwe Boll himself at a German-themed local festival (Nazi-themed, as we'd come to expect in a film like this) in which, being 'interviewed' on stage, he good-naturedly sends himself up with offensive and shocking comments. Vince Desiderio, one of the creators of the 'Postal' games, also appears at the festival dressed as a lifesized Krotchy Doll. He angrily accuses Boll of ruining his game with this film, and a fight breaks out between the two with unfortunate consequences for Boll, which will probably be very satisfying for those who hate his films! We even get convincing lookalikes of Osama bin Laden and George W Bush portraying a very unlikely good-buddy friendship.
I really liked this film a lot more than I thought I would, what with videogame-to-film adaptations always turning out to be really poor and disappointing, and Uwe Boll's terrible reputation. But many people feel that this is Boll's only watchable film, and he has done a mostly good job here. The film drags in parts, where a moment of humour has been a little too stretched or where there is a bit of a lull that maybe could have done with tighter editing, but overall, I enjoyed the heck out of this.
Probably the reason this film was so much better than Boll's other efforts, was that the game's creators only agreed to sell him the rights to make the film if they could be involved in its production. So it ended up with a much more authentic look and feel than most (if not all) other videogame-to-film adaptations. Even details such as Postal Dude's infamous use of a live cat as a silencer for his gun have been included (although unlike the game, the cat is not harmed in the film!).
Once I was able to get past my disappointment that 'Postal Dude' was not at all as I'd always known him, I found Zack Ward very good in portraying the rather different character and did eventually warm to him. All of the supporting characters were as larger-than-life as they should be (literally, in the case of Postal Dude's wife), and all in all, everyone appeared to be having a lot of fun with their roles.
The cinematography is pretty good, with a colourful, fresh and vibrant look that brings Paradise, Arizona to life. The direction - well, it's Uwe Boll, so you know it's not going to be 'Citizen Kane' calibre. It's adequate, for the most part, aside from the above-mentioned stretched or dragging scenes - a bit uneven, but the sheer craziness of the film helps counterbalance it.
The film, as you may expect, was mauled by the professional film critics and did terribly at the box office. However, it won three awards, although these were Golden Raspberry awards: Uwe Boll as Worst Supporting Actor, Verne Troyer as Worst Supporting Actor, and of course, Uwe Boll as Worst Director. But it also won Best of Festival at the Hoboken International Film Festival, though I'm not sure how much of an accolade that is!
Recommended if you like madcap, non-politically-correct humour with lots of cartoon-style violence, are not easily offended, and of course, especially if you know and love Postal 2 (and can suspend your concept of what Postal Dude should look and speak like). Just an enjoyable hour and a half or so of good brainless fun.
Also on Ciao under the same name and on Helium as Esmeralda Draic.
Summary: Good brainless fun for those who are not offended by the content