Starring: Zack Ward, Dave Foley, Chris Coppola, Jackie Tohn, J.K. SImmons. Rated R.
Uwe Boll is tired of the abuse.
The man popularly dismissed by Internet pundits as “the worst filmmaker in the
world” earned a new nickname – “Raging Boll” – in September 2006, when he faced
off against five of his most vociferous critics in the boxing ring, beating
them all into bloody submission, if not some newfound appreciation of his
Boll’s greatest sin? According to
his most ardent detractors, it’s that his movies, so often based on
ultra-violent video games, misrepresent the spirit of their source material.
That’s debatable, but what’s not so debatable is that his productions, hastily
thrown together and frequently underfinanced, are as shoddy in appearance as
they are crude and bizarre. They are sometimes laughably wrongheaded (Alone
in the Dark, In the Name of the King) but thanks to Boll’s anarchic sensibilities, rarely dull.
loosely by the
controversial 2003 computer game, Postal
would be more of the same if not for Boll’s decision to embrace the comedy
inherent in his feather-brained tributes to testosterone. Yes, it’s tasteless –
witness the opening shot of an airliner crashing into the World Trade Center as
two hijackers consider changing course for the Bahamas – but there are a few
genuine laughs mired in the manic muck.
reputation – his
highest-rated film on the Rotten Tomatoes website boasts an 11 percent approval
rating – he has never had trouble rounding up recognizable talent, which might
explain the presence of Dave Foley (Kids in the Hall), J.K. Simmons (Juno)
and even celebrity midget Verne Troyer, playing himself, in Postal. Even so, the film belongs to Zack Ward as the Postal
Dude, who leaves his Paradise, Ariz., trailer park in hopes of landing a job
and winds up at the center of a bloody search for Osama bin Laden.
some might recall as
the red-headed bully from A Christmas Story, is hardly a revelation here, but he seems affable enough
when he’s not splattering right-wing religious zealots and assorted small-town
crazies. Even Boll makes a tongue-in-cheek appearance as himself, if only to
vocalize his contempt for video games and the button-mashers who mock his
Is it funny? Not really, but it
has isolated flashes of inspiration, none more true-to-life than Ward’s
deliciously inane job interview with Hostel’s Rick Hoffman. (“How would you move a mountain using only
a spoon?”) Elsewhere, the film is a jumbled, needlessly violent mess, sloppily
edited and feckless in its attempts at political satire.
Yes, it closes with
a shot of bin
Laden and Dubya frolicking in a field, skipping along hand-in-hand just before
an atom bomb reduces them to so much post-apocalyptic mulch. It’s a subversive
image, I suppose, but what’s the point? Like the rest of Postal, it wants to be shocking, but it’s far too superficial to
elicit anything more than bewilderment.