|Index||8 reviews in total|
I hadn't seen this for years and just brought it on DVD. I've got up off the floor now! This film has it all. Insane politicians, evil terrorists (wanted for releasing the recipe for airline lunches, a crime that rates alongside killing), demented journalists, the SAS blasting the London wax museum (Madame Tussards) to pieces and a British princess enduring unenviable treatment at the hands of the baddie. I think anyone over 30 or those who survived the Thatcher/Regan era should see this film, it is just toooooo funny for words. Most of the jokes are still funny now and I will never ever make a cup of tea using a Liptons tea-bag ever again. Ian Richardsons camp admiral and Rik Mayalls SAS captain are guaranteed to bring tears to your eyes whilst Peter Cook as the PM is so funny you'll laugh till you burst your ribs. A classic and I'm off to watch it again right now!
As anyone who loves extreme comedy will tell you, there is the play-it-safe school (think VERY BAD THINGS, for example) where the film-makers lack the courage of their convictions, and there is the real thing, where the film-makers rampage through all notions of taste and decency with the reckless abandon of an amphetamine-addled bull in a china shop. Luckily, WHOOPS APOCALYPSE belongs firmly to the latter category, and it remains somewhat amazing that this film actually got made, because there is practically nothing - sacred or otherwise - that escapes this pungent satire's lethal swipes. The Prime Minister is insane, the President incompetent, the former Presidents an ex-circus clown and a convict ("How's life?" "Still serving it!") respectively, the SAS are slap-happy thugs, the popular press are semi-retarded buffoons, a member of the royal family is repeatedly humiliated and debased in ludicrously over-the-top fashion, and the only character with a single scrap of intelligence is a ruthless international terrorist! If ever a film came close to matching what the British satire magazine PRIVATE EYE regularly achieves in print, then this is it. The direction is a little uneven in places but there are still lots of clever touches, like the truly chilling scene in which the Prime Minister goes on an inane pre-war walkabout presenting nuclear fallout umbrellas (to Conservative voters only!), and the script combines AIRPLANE-style manic spoofery - a rarity in British films - with a very eighties line in grotesque slapstick, most notably in the castration skit and the shamefully delirious scenes spent with Rik Mayall (one of his few really effective big-screen roles) and his brainless SAS squad as they rampage through a wax museum, destroying the dummies and each other in a hilarious haemmorage of blood, gore, vomit and profanity that you'd have to be dead not to at least chuckle at. This is not a film for the faint of heart, but the subject matter warrants a strong, fearless treatment and that's what it gets. All the performances are wonderful (the cast mostly play it straight) and there are lots of good cameos to watch out for, including PORRIDGE regular Ken Jones, former Goodie Graeme Garden, eternal nutcase actor Daniel Peacock (who has one of the single funniest lines in the whole film) and even real-life page three girl Maria Whittaker displaying her best assets. Seek this one out, you won't regret it.
One can always tell an excellent film if the opening credits make one
guffaw ("The British partitioned the Island and took for themselves the
upstairs rooms, fighting soon broke out of several mezzanines")and
although the film wasn't quite Python it certainly had moments that
made me snort my drink. The film did have a tendency to feel like a
series of sketches but none the less Peter Cook's insane (although
rather charismatic) Prime Minister is worth the purchase price alone.
It was also some of the minor characters that provided some of the best
laughs such as the former US president (looking the spitting image of
Donald Rumsfeld) turned convict who published his memoirs "Commie
Bastards I knew".
All in all an underrated classic
Name a genre of political or social satire. It is in this movie. Name a sacred cow that needs to be kicked in the udders. A swift kick is delivered in this movie. Here's a sample. Loretta Swit is selected as vice president of the US because it is "PC". His first day in office the president dies. Our first female president is faced with some serious foreign policy decisions and decides to seek the advice of the former president, Murray Hamilton. You get the first hint of outrageous satire when her limo arrives at the gates of a federal prison. Hamilton portrays a hilarious amalgamation of Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon in an understated performance that borders on genius. He takes a break from busting rocks and advises Swit with a lot of film-flam and jibber-jabber, then embraces the two Secret Services agents. They walk back to the limo talking about how the former president is the salt of the earth. When they turn around you see he has stolen the shirts off their backs while leaving their neckties and suit coats in place. After that the outrageous satire comes rapid fire in every scene. After every scene you think, "They can't upstage that." Then they do. In spades and doubled. It doesn't end until the end of the movie. See it with some friends. Laugh out loud.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I bought this film on VHS in the late eighties and thought it was
hilarious; after many years I thought I'd see if I'd still enjoyed
it... I did! The film opens with the fascist Central American Republic
of Maguadora invading a small British colony in the Caribbean; a task
force is deployed and the colony is retaken. That isn't the end of the
matter though; the Maguadorans employ the world famous terrorist
Lacrobat to kidnap Princess Wendy and threaten to kill her if Britain
doesn't had the colony to Maguadora. Once she has been kidnapped it is
a race to find her before she is killed; an act that Prime Minister Sir
Mortimer Chris says will be met by swift nuclear retaliation! If that
wasn't bad enough it is learnt that the Soviet Union has its own secret
missile base in the Caribbean which they promise to use if Maguadora is
I found this film as hilarious as I did when I first watched it; sure some jokes don't work as well as others but they come thick and fast so if you don't laugh at one joke another is coming very soon. The main plot is clearly inspired by the 1982 war to liberate the Falkland Islands after the Argentinean invasion and there are other sections inspired by real events such as the SAS storming of the Iranian Embassy and even the Cuban Missile Crisis. Funny moments are too many to list but highlights include solving unemployment by getting people in work to jump to their deaths off Beachy Head, the public crucifixion of cabinet ministers and best of all the storming of a wax museum by a squad of overly enthusiastic, dim-witted SAS soldiers. The cast includes a fine array of acting talent including Peter Cook, Ian Richardson, Loretta Swit, Rik Mayell, Herbert Lom and Alexi Sayle; some like Mayell are hilariously over the top but most play their parts straight which given the material makes it even funnier. While I expect most people will find this amusing it isn't really suitable for younger viewers or the easily offended as it includes such things as an accidental castration, a travelling sex toy salesman and a pile of severed heads!
There's a genre of spy thriller which involves Presidents, Prime Ministers
and other heads of government, top police and spymasters, an assassin like
Carlos the Jackal, and the imminent outbreak of WWIII. Whoops Apocalypse is
one of those.
Just as Airplane is a disaster movie.
Not that Whoops Apocalypse is as funny as Airplane - there are too many scenes when the plot advances in a reasonably pointful fashion for that - but there are some inspired spoof scenes. There's a beautiful one when the Navy Officer gets his orders to report to his ship by nightfall - there are reasons why this isn't quite as poignant as the similar scenes in b&w 1942 movies.
Some bits of it may well seem inexplicable unless you remember that it was made in Britain in 1986, with the Falklands War still fairly fresh in people's minds, Di-mania a-booming, and Margaret Thatcher still running the country in demented fashion.
The highlight of the film is Peter Cook's portrayal of Prime Minister Sir Mortimer Chris: a high-powered Sir Bufton Tufton, fearfully right-wing and, as we discover, stark staring bonkers. Loretta Swit plays the US President a la Carol Channing, and a number of others kick in with decent cameos.
I'd like to see it again, to find out whether I got all the jokes the first time round - Airplane must have taken a dozen viewings before I'd spotted some of the really subtle touches. I suspect there is less to discover in this second and third time round, but it's not a bad attempt, overall.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I will agree with some others that compared to the original TV series;
this film is weaker. But it is still a very entertaining film. Peter
Cook is excellent as Mortimer Chris; what I liked was how subtly he
played the character's insanity. Other actors may be tempted to go over
the top; but Cook gives a restrained performance, which makes the
character work. He also gets some great moments; like the scheme for
reducing unemployment by pushing people off of cliffs. I also enjoyed
Richard Wilson playing one of his cabinet men; and his reactions.
I did find Loretta Swift a bit dull as Barbera Adams. I think the problem was that while Johnny Cyclops had character (albeit a Ronald Reagan parody), President Adams didn't have any. There wasn't really much of a foil for her to play off, no Deaconesque character.
The film does recycle some jokes from the series. Some work; like the extended SAS sequence (featuring one of my faves Rik Mayall as the trigger happy commander.) Some didn't; I didn't find the soviets anywhere near as interesting as they were in the show (the car battery to restart the Primer's heart was good.) One of the best features of the series was the biting lines given to the newscasters; and it works well here ("shrewed, honest, compassionate, she overcame these obstacles to become president of the united states.) I thought Michael Richards had the biggest problem, having to play Lacrobat, a role John Cleese did very well. Surprisingly, Richards is able to run with the ball, and his Lacrobat shines well. I think it helped that Lacrobat's disguises were all new this time round.
The credits also have some funny jokes in theme, along with a really good song by John Otway.
So, to conclude, I would say that while this film is not as good as the series; it still has enough redeeming features to recommend it. If nothing else for the SAS sequence.
What an utter disappointment. Forget this abysmal film and get hold of the TV series instead. What on earth were they doing making the American president relatively sane? ALL the politicians should have been bumbling buffoons (Peter Cook is good as the British PM). It lacks the biting satire of the original, going instead for "lowest common denominator" slapstick. 1 out of 10 if I'm being generous! This is unfortunately yet another example of a remake which totally misses the point of the original, the difference with this one being that they were both written by the same people.
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