Uwe Boll, the German director of Postal, wants his new film to shock, stir, offend, and entertain you. So to advertise the movie, this is what was released to the media:
“All 3000 victims of the World Trade Centre attack were not heroes. They were bankers! People who would let nothing stand in their way of making a quick buck. I have details on every single victim that day… proving that each and every one of them deserved to die. VICTIM 1: Russell T Khone, insider trading of over three million dollars. VICTIM 2: Linda Monteal. Cheated on her husband at their 10th anniversary party. VICTIM 3:… doesn’t matter, you should see what victim number 809 did.”
This is not funny. This is highly offensive. And so is the whole movie. Postal is based on a highly violent video game in which the downward spiral of a man’s life causes him to “go postal”, ie go on a deadly shooting rampage. No one is spared. Graphic scenes of young children being shot to death, a baby being run over, full frontal male nudity, and a jumbo jet smashing into a high rise office block are all combined in shocking detail. So Uwe Boll succeeds in at least two of his aims, he shocks and he offends.
The advertising material may not be funny, but is the film entertaining? I almost hate to say this, but yes. This is a very funny film. Strip away the controversy and forget the implications and you may well laugh your head off. Postal Dude (Zack Ward) and his Uncle Dave (Dave Foley) set out to rob a Nazi-themed amusement park of a shipment of highly sought-after dolls. However, the Taliban (including Osama Bin Laden) are attempting to pull off the same heist. Osama must call in help from his good friend George Bush to help retrieve the dolls and release Avian Bird Flu into America. Does that confuse you? It certainly confuses me. The film seems to be more of a collection of gags than a continuous storyline.
Uwe Boll (Amoklauf, House of the Dead, Alone in the Dark, Seed) wanted to make a statement with Postal. “Since September 11th,” he said in a press release, “1 million Africans, Jews, and Arabs have died in terrorist attacks and wars. Their lives and deaths were not featured by the mass media. Does this mean that their lives had less value than the life of a NY stock broker dying in the World Trade Centre?” It may be a valid point, but unfortunately the film does not reflect the theme, and becomes more of a weak attempt at publicity than serious filmmaking. It really does seem that Boll is more interested at promoting himself than following through with his political beliefs. But you can guarantee that this movie is going to make him a household name, albeit for the wrong reasons.
This is one film that will certainly challenge your humour, taste, and humanity, and will stir within you all sorts of thoughts about art versus vulgarity. So, again, Boll has succeeded in his goals.
The violence is so over-the-top that it is unbelievable, which is a good thing. Directors such as Peter Jackson and Sam Raimi have been doing this for years. But as the first mass-marketed film to openly mock the 9/11 attacks, and practically everything else, it falls flat. Anti-American and anti-war propaganda can be done well, but here it is not.
It is a shame, really, because it is a very funny movie. Forget about the politics and just laugh at the gags.