Ben Oliver

Banner image for Tropic Thunder

Tropic Thunder

I don’t drop character ‘till I done the DVD commentary.
21 January 2014

A brilliant concept that sadly never quite delivers.

Downey Jr., Stiller, Black and friends play a cast of movie stars in an action film going wrong. The director (Steve Coogan) decides to take drastic actions in order to turn the film around by plunging the actors into a ‘real world’ war scenario, then filming the results on hidden cameras. Things take a turn for the worse when the group get ambushed and captured by real criminals.

The ‘trailers’ at the start are very funny (Tobey MacGuire as a gay monk in ‘Satan’s Alley’ is unforgettable), and they set the mood of the film nicely. Downey Jr. plays an Australian method actor so deep into his role he’s wearing black-face 24/7. Funny, but only for a while.

This is the problem with the movie. Every joke and idea doesn’t quite have the legs to last the running time, and by the end it’s all a bit tired.

Nevertheless, it’s worth a watch to see some novel ‘meta’ jokes, talented actors at work (although I think Downey Jr. was wasted in such a 2 dimensional role) and of course Tom Cruise in a show-stealing cameo.

Reply by email