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What should become a big anti-war movie in the tradition of Apocalypse Now, the film version of the book Tropic Thunder based on the real-life adventures of Vietnam veteran “Four Leaf” Tayback’s (Nick Nolte), turns into a disaster (just like the filming of Apocalypse Now – Hearts of Darkness – A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse).
The production is way over budget before it really starts, the producer threatens to shut it down, and inexperienced Director Damien Cockburn (Steve Coogan) can’t handle the superstars starring in his film: Tugg Speedman (Ben Stiller), an action star who is past his prime and can’t really act, method actor and five-time Oscar winner Kirk Lazarus (Robert Downey, Jr.) who underwent a skin dyeing operation to play a black soldier, rap star Alpa Chino (Brandon T. Jackson) and fart-comedian Jeff Portnoy (Jack Black). To save the film, they want to shoot it guerilla-style – everything shall be “real”. But it gets all too real when the fake soldiers enter the territory of a real drug lord.

Method actors who remain “in character” during the whole production, acting-handicapped movie action stars, drug-addicts, token minority actors, blatant product placement, megalomaniac producers, “based on real events” films, directors out of their depth, multi-million dollar budgets spiraling out of control, friends who seriously consider to let you die in exchange for an executive jet – Ben Stiller lashes out at them all, especially at actors who take themselves and their “craft” too seriously.
Most notably are the performances of Robert Downey jr. as over-motivated method actor, a certain Tom Cruise in a minor surprise role and Nick Nolte as the “real life hero” who is not quite as heroic as it seems.
Solid satire, but not as laught-out-loud funny as, let’s say, Superbad – foul weather yes, but not the promised thunder.

Tropic Thunder - Nick Nolte and Danny R. McBride  Robert Downey Jr. and Ben Stiller in TROPIC THUNDER 

Tropic Thunder Movie Trailer

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