Team America: World Police (2004)


Team America: World Police is a 2004 satirical action comedy film written by Trey Parker, Matt Stone, and Pam Brady and directed by Parker, all of whom are also known for the popular animated television series South Park. The film is a satire of big-budget action films and their associated clichés and stereotypes, with particular humorous emphasis on the global implications of US politics. The title of the film itself is derived from domestic and international political criticisms that the U.S. frequently and unilaterally tries to "police the world". The film features a cast composed of marionettes. Team America focuses on a fictional team of political paramilitary policemen known as "Team America: World Police", who attempt to save the world from a violent terrorist plot led by Kim Jong-il. The film was primarily inspired by Thunderbirds, a popular British TV show created by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson which also featured an all-marionette cast, though Stone and Parker were not fans of the show. The duo worked on the script with former South Park writer Pam Brady for nearly two years. The film had a troubled time in production, with various problems regarding the marionettes as well as the scheduling extremes of having the film come out in time. In addition, the filmmakers fought with the Motion Picture Association of America, who returned the film over nine times with an NC-17 rating. The film was recut by a few seconds and rated R. The film was released in the United States on October 15, 2004 and received generally positive reviews. Team America grossed over $51 million worldwide. The film was released on DVD in the United States on May 17, 2005, available in both R-rated and Unrated versions.


Team America exists to stop terrorists from committing world crimes. With a home base within Mount Rushmore, the team consists of: Lisa, a psychologist; Carson, Lisa's love interest; Sarah, an alleged psychic; Joe, an all-American jock who is in love with Sarah; and Chris, a technological and martial arts expert who harbors a mistrust of actors. The team is led by Spottswoode, a United States government agent. I.N.T.E.L.L.I.G.E.N.C.E. is their highly-advanced supercomputer. The story opens in Paris, France, where the team interrupts a group of terrorists in action. During the ensuing firefight, the Team destroys the Eiffel Tower (which then collapses onto and destroys the Arc de Triomphe) and the Louvre, 'saving' the day but ironically causing more damage than if they had not been present. Carson then proposes to Lisa, but the moment is cut short when a dying terrorist kills Carson. In search of a new member, Spottswoode recruits Gary Johnston, a Broadway actor, who was starring in Lease, and who has college majors in Theater and World Languages. Gary will use his acting talents to infiltrate terrorist organizations. Unbeknownst to the team, North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il is supplying international terrorists with weapons of mass destruction, planning a mysterious worldwide attack. I.N.T.E.L.L.I.G.E.N.C.E. is informed of a terrorist meeting in Cairo, Egypt. Gary manages to successfully infiltrate the terrorist group due to his fluency in their language, which is shown to be a caricature of Arabic that consists mainly of the words "Derka", "Muhammad" and "Jihad". During this time, both Lisa and Sarah become romantically attracted to him. Chris, however, hates Gary, because he is an actor. Gary is sent in undercover, and gains trust of a terrorist lieutenant despite having a poor disguise. The team attempts to capture the terrorists, and although Team America successfully foils the plan, their actions again leave most of the city in ruins. The group is criticized by the Film Actors Guild (F.A.G.), a union of liberal Hollywood actors. The group includes Gary's favorite actor, Alec Baldwin, and his heavy criticism is discouraging to Gary. Meanwhile, the United Nations assign Hans Blix to inspect Kim Jong-il's lair, but Blix is killed by Kim Jong-il's man-eating sharks. As Team America relaxes, Gary expresses his guilt to Lisa, remembering a time where his acting talent caused his brother to be killed by gorillas. As the two consummate their relationship, a group of terrorists blow up the Panama Canal. The Film Actors Guild blames Team America, believing that they are responsible, as the terrorists claim this is retaliation for Team America's attack in Egypt. Gary, realizing his acting talents have once again resulted in tragedy, abandons the team, causing conflict among the remaining members. Believing the terrorists to be operating within Derkaderkastan, the original members depart, only to be attacked and captured by terrorists and the North Koreans, respectively. Meanwhile, Michael Moore infiltrates the team's base and suicide bombs the area. Kim Jong-il, upset with the terrorists' actions, expresses his frustration and despair by singing "I'm So Ronery". Meanwhile, Gary slips further into alcoholism. In North Korea, Kim Jong-il plans to host an elaborate peace ceremony, inviting not only the Film Actors Guild but also the world's political leaders. Alec Baldwin is chosen as the ceremony's host. During the celebration, a series of bombs will be detonated throughout the world, reducing every nation to a Third World country. Gary returns to the Team's headquarters in Mount Rushmore and finds only ruins, although Spottswoode and I.N.T.E.L.L.I.G.E.N.C.E. have survived. After regaining Spottswoode's trust by performing oral sex on him, and undergoing a one-day training course (shown as a montage for comic effect), Gary is sent to North Korea. Gary manages to free the team. They are confronted by the Film Actors Guild and a violent battle ensues, which involves panthers being released at the team, and leaving most of the Guild brutally slain, with Alec Baldwin remaining alive as the host of the ceremony. Soon after, Chris confesses to Gary that his mistrust of actors is due to the fact that at 19 years of age he was raped by the cast of Cats. The team then confront Kim Jong-il. Although initially unsuccessful, Gary convinces the world's leaders to unite when he recites the drifter's emotional speech that he heard in the bar, stunning Alec. Kim Jong-il then kills Alec with an assault rifle, but is defeated by Lisa and impaled on a Pickelhaube. Kim's bombs are disarmed; and he is revealed to be a cockroach from another planet. He flees, departing in a miniature spaceship, but promises to return. As Gary and Lisa begin a relationship, the team reunites, preparing to combat the remainder of the world's terrorists.