American Rescue Squad
American Rescue Squad 2015
This review was in part decided on via my Patreon where for just $1 a month you can vote each month on what I watch for this site. This is one of the many indie superhero movies made in the past fifteen or so years but this was much more inspired by the political humor of South Park. It even opens with a dedication to Matt and Trey. Unfortunately, they really miss the mark with incredibly obvious metaphors and an oddly conservative overall outlook so this feels much more like heavy handed propaganda rather than subtle political humor.
The most frustrating thing about this movie is how obvious all of the metaphors are. The main superhero that the government relies on for absolutely everything is the Taxpayer. And when he is kidnapped, they go to the retired superheroes Personal Responsibility and Common Sense and shortly afterwards release Birth Control from prison. The alliance of villains that they eventually fight are led by a literal bleeding heart liberal named Dick Pansy with a team filled with the Bible Thumper, the Freeloader, the Immigrant, and a couple others. There are a few weird choices as the Bible Thumper would more likely be tied to a more conservative character, and the Immigrant is actually from India where he moved to Mexico City before coming to the US. And yet the movie still makes lazy immigrant jokes about him. There’s also plenty of other stereotype jokes that are milked for all they are worth, like affirmative action causing the government to hire an extremely lazy Black guy because they have to.
Besides all of the lazy metaphors, the movie is also filled with lazy song and dance numbers. A few of them are halfway decent, but most are performed by people who have only the slightest modicum of talent. This isn’t anywhere near Buffy’s Once More With Feeling or any of the musical episodes of South Park or the Simpsons. Instead, most of the numbers are slightly off key, sung by actors who don’t really have any musical background whatsoever and lyrics that are extremely literal and not all that funny. The humor all around feels like it’s supposed to be based around the obvious metaphors, but nothing really sticks out. All the absurdities trigger eye rolls much more often than laughter as it falls upon taking this ideological stance to the absolute limit, all while having a serious face put on it.
On a more positive note, this doesn’t go for the cheap laughs of the Blank Movies (Date Movie, Epic Movie, Disaster Movie, etc) where everyone seemingly winks and nods to the camera at every moment. Everyone in this movie is taking the material as seriously as possible and letting the absurdity of the situation carry the humor. But it falls flat for a different reason, because the actors just aren’t good enough to project the gravitas necessary to take these ridiculous situations seriously. It’s possible that it would actually be better if they did try to wink at the camera more often to play up the low budget nature of the film and overall low quality. All of the costumes for the various superheroes are extremely cheap and tacky, but no one within the world of the movie takes any notice of the T-shirt with the badly drawn on connected T and P logo for the Taxpayer. Birth Control has a brightly colored costume with a cyclops-like visor for no apparent reason. Personal Responsibility doesn’t have much of a costume except for a single boxing glove while Common Sense’s costume is the epitome of a lack of common sense as it’s the most brightly colored and clashing costume of anyone in the film. And yet again, no one comments on the absurdity of his costume, everyone just takes it in stride.
It was rather disappointing especially with the initial dedication to the creators of South Park that this movie failed as much as it did. The metaphors were overly obvious, the songs were lackluster, and the humor was nearly nonexistent. There were a few moments of action, but most of the superhero-ing was done through talking points. There were only a couple fight scenes and there were some attempts to do interesting things with the camera work, but once again the low budget nature shined through and it was obvious that this was done without a professional fight choreographer or talented stunt performers. It doesn’t help that the points that they were trying to make with their overly obvious metaphors were also heavily based on stereotypes and it was difficult to tell if they were presenting the material as something so obviously stereotypical and wrong that they had to be making fun of it, or if they agreed with it one hundred percent. It was just an overall failure on all levels. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.