Director: Uwe Boll (House of the Dead, Bloodrayne, Alone in the Dark)
Writers: Uwe Boll, Bryan C. Knight
Producers: Uwe Boll, Dan Clarke, Shawn Williamson
Starring: Zack Ward, Dave Foley, Chris Coppola, Seymour Cassel, David Huddleston, Larry Thomas
MPAA Rating: R
Running time: 109 min
During a conversation with fellow ATC co-host Colleen, we discussed that when you do something enough times, you’re likely to do it well at some point, even if it’s just accidental. Having only seen a few of Uwe Boll’s films, I can’t speak for the validity of the argument as it relates to Boll’s career, for all I know, he’s been getting better with each new project (I plan on finding out sooner rather than later) but however you cut it, Boll’s new film is good solid entertainment – even if it does cut into crass territory on more than one occasion.
Loosely based on the videogame, Postal has Postal Dude, yes that’s really his name – you should be used to this by now – a trailer park living, recently laid off, ex-con looking for work. A series of crazy events unfold and he ends up hatching a plan with Uncle Dave to steal some dolls, make a fortune and finally escape Paradise for good. Many of the jokes within the film are story related so I’ll leave it vague but let’s just say that Boll and long time collaborator Bryan C. Knight have gone all out here.
Whereas some films, Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay for example, set out to bend the rules of what the public will laugh at, Boll and Knight set out to break them completely – right from the opening scene. Even before the credits roll, they take a gut punch to religion that is so ludicrous, one can’t help but laugh. It’s the kind of joke one expects from Russell Peters or something that one’s likely to hear in the backyard after downing a case of beer. We may laugh because we’re drunk or maybe just uncomfortable but whatever the reason, Boll uses it to his advantage and it works.
Some of the jokes are plain funny and others are funny from recognition. There’s what appears to be a whole load of Boll’s personal experience with living in Vancouver tied into the film, case in point are the Asian driver and the coffee shop “incident” which Vancouverites will immediately relate to, but he’s out for blood and he hits everyone. Nothing is sacred: children, religion, war, sex, guns, violence, everything is a go and that is perhaps the film’s biggest weakness because at parts, it feels as though a scene is just squeezed in there to take a shot at something specific. Postal would have been better served by taking some of those jokes out and saving them for a follow up film or extras on the DVD.
Boll stretches his twenty million dollar budget to the edge. Not only does the film include appearances from some recognizable actors (J.K. Simmons, Seymour Cassel, Erick Avari), he brings on Canadian comic icon Dave Foley for a major role! Sure some of the performances are flat while others are over the top but they all serve the same purpose: exaggeration for comedic effect and it works because the entire film is one big experiment in exaggeration.
Postal is irreverent, unapologetic and “balls to the wall” over the top action/comedy. Sure there are lots of guns and killing but they’re all taken to the point of camp and within the context of the film, it works. It’s one thing not to find this particular brand of comedy funny yet quite another to criticize Boll for making a bad film because Postal is far from bad. A common criticism of Boll’s previous work is that his films are un-intentionally funny and perhaps that has been the problem to date: we have a naturally funny director trying to make serious films. The fact that this is an out-and-out comedy may be the reason it’s so successful. But perhaps this is the beginning of a new era of Boll films. Your guess is as good as mine but I’m willing to find out.
Postal will make some cry with laughter, others with anger and still others with jealous rage but for those that can appreciate it, it’s a serious piece of entertainment.
Click “play” to see the trailer: