Back in the late 90s, one thing that surrounded video games and a lot of gamers had to fight against was controversy. It all seemingly started with 'Mortal Kombat' and its blood, let alone its fatalities, but has since evolved into a sort of point of acceptance... I mean, sort of. But the point is, games are a hell of a lot more violent and shocking than they were back then. Either way, for the time (1997), 'Postal' was among the more controversial titles. It sort of came and went, and I didn't think much of it over the years until just now. Of course, with Uwe Boll behind the wheel, yet again, I knew I was in for a "treat".
First, a little history - the first game sees a man evicted from his home, and fights his way to a US Air Force Base, believing they are releasing poison gas in his town, and that he has an immunity to it. The game was pretty damn famous for its violence and "WTF" moments in general, and became something of a cult classic among PC gamers. The film evidently has a bit more to do with the second title, which takes on a bit more of an 'InFamous' style, where The Postal Dude has to accomplish a bunch of daily tasks as peacefully, or as violently as the player chooses. Of course, it didn't fare too well with its controversial ideas either, including using a cat as a silencer, which is paid tribute to here.
Like the games the film is based on, 'Postal' is all about controversy. The film opens with what "really" happened during the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The terrorists are told there aren't enough virgins to go around after they carry out their task, so decide to ditch the plan and reroute to the Bahamas. That's when a group of passengers busts in and sends the plane crashing into the World Trade Center, offering a gigantic middle finger to any victims involved in the tragedy that occurred about six years earlier than the film's release. So from the get-go, I felt a little uncomfortable about reviewing this. While you can tell it's not to be taken seriously, it's very hard not to cringe at some of the terrible jokes here. The film is representative of that kid in school who tries incredibly hard to be cool by saying and doing nasty things.
Taking place in present day (again, 2007) Paradise, Arizona, a man only known as The Postal Dude (Zack Ward) is living a life of crap. His wife (Jodie Stewart) is openly cheating on him, he's having no luck at job interviews, and he just wants to make some cash to leave town forever. He teams up with his Uncle Dave (Dave Foley); a cult leader who owes the government a hefty sum in back taxes, to hijack a shipment of "Krotchy Dolls". What's a Krotchy Doll? Essentially just a plush penis with scrotum, evidently very rare, sought after, and valued highly on the black market, fetching as much as $4,000 per doll. Meanwhile, Osama bin Laden (Larry Thomas) has the same hijacking plan, but intends to infect the dolls with Bird Flu before their distribution. Anyway, paths cross, shit happens, and it becomes just as offensive as it sounds.
This is one moment where I am going to cut Boll a teeny, tiny bit of slack... Not enough that he can do anything with, but there is something I can't deny about this movie. It's almost so fascinatingly messed up and bad that I could consider this the ultimate "so bad, it's good" film in the Boll collection. There's no stiff acting, no boredom, no terrible narration, it's just a movie that's trying very hard to be as messed up as it can be. It's big problem is that it thinks its being satire as opposed to what it is - just plain offensive, and even kind of insulting. But I can't deny I had a few random laughs here and there. None of that was towards anything particularly offensive, racist or whatever else. But there were bits of dialogue that caught me off guard, like being in a job interview and being asked "what is he difference between a duck?" I don't know why, but random, silly things like that just get to me.
At the end of the day, this becomes one video game based movie I kind of want to show all of my bad movie loving friends. It's not enough to call it a guilty pleasure, because you feel pretty uncomfortable about some of the things they deem funny here. But like I said before, it's just fascinating. It's one of those things you might watch and wonder how they got away with a lot of it. For example, a baby carriage gets hit with a vehicle here. It happens in 'Speed', but ends up being full of cans, and funny in a "holy shit" kind of way. There's no reveal here though. This carriage just gets hit, and we have no clue what might be in it, suggesting a baby is entirely probable. This is one messed up movie, but I almost recommend it just based on the amount of "WTF" I saw... coming from me, that's saying a lot.