Postal – An Acquired Taste (Or Lack Thereof)

By Ezra Stead

Postal is an unexpectedly brilliant film. Postal, USA / Canada / Germany, 2007

Directed by Uwe Boll

If you’ve never heard of German director Uwe Boll, that most likely means you’ve just avoided some really bad movies. The only other one of his films I’ve seen so far was 2005’s Alone in the Dark, a truly terrible film at least as bad as any I’ve previously deemed the worst of the decade, but by all accounts I’ve heard, his other previous films – including House of the Dead (2003), Bloodrayne (2005) and In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2007) – are also among the worst ever made. He is famous for his execrable video game adaptations (see all of the above) and for financing them through a loophole in German tax law that rewards filmmakers; the law has since been changed, presumably to make it more difficult for Boll to make movies. So it was with the gleeful fascination of a movie so bad it’s funny (i.e. Troll 2 or The Room) that I approached his post-911 comedy Postal. Three days and four viewings of the film later, my mind was blown.

This movie is brilliant!

Without even getting into the plot or the many hilarious things that transpire throughout the film, let me just recount the opening scene for you – it will convince you to either see the movie as soon as possible or stay away forever: two terrorists hijacking a plane on September 11, 2001, are in the midst of an argument about their eternal reward for the suicide bombing they are about to carry out. In Islamic tradition, they are supposed to get a hundred virgins each awaiting them in the afterlife; however, one of the two has heard that the number is actually closer to ten. The other replies, “Well, that’s ten more than you have now.” “Yeah,” the other says, “but how long will they be virgins. Not long, right?” Finally, they call the boss to get an estimate and, when it is a disappointing figure, they decide to call off the jihad. At that precise moment, a group of heroic passengers break into the cabin to stop them, inadvertently causing the plane to fly directly into the World Trade Center.

It is the perfectly realized beginning to one of the most irreverent and absurd comedies I’ve ever seen. Poor taste and hilarious sight gags abound, and stars Zack Ward (the evil Scut Farkus from 1983’s A Christmas Story) and The Kids in the Hall‘s Dave Foley are excellent as a laid-off postal worker and his cult guru uncle, respectively. Together, they form a plan to rob a German-themed amusement park owned by Boll, unknowingly ending up in the middle of a Taliban plot to do the very same thing.

Loosely inspired by a video game, this film playfully turns Boll’s reputation on its head and ultimately comes out more like a Troma Team version of Dr. Strangelove than a mass-produced action flick. It may be a fluke in the German hackmeister’s career, and I may be one of the only people out there who feels this strongly about it, but I think this is one of the funniest and most original movies of the decade.

Ezra Stead is the Head Editor for MoviesIDidn’ Ezra is also a screenwriter, actor, filmmaker, rapper and poet who has been previously published in print and online, as well as writing, directing and acting in numerous short films and two features. A Minneapolis native, Ezra currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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