Monday, July 02, 2007

Happy Fourth from ER and Uncle Sam

This review originally appeared many years ago on the ER web site (which, despite appearances to the contrary, will be updated very soon). Since we'll be off-line for a few days I thought I'd share it with you as my gift during this Fourth of July week...

Going to the video store isn't always a delightful excursion. Especially when your town is dominated by the likes of big-budget chains. And, while I staunchly refuse to rent at a Blockbuster, it's also a pain in the ass to drive all the way to the indie store when there's a chain right down the street. Okay, alright, I know. Renting from the likes of Hollywood goes against everything I believe in, and I can't wait till I start working in the city where I can rent from a good old fashioned indie with a huge porno selection like TLA Video.

Then again, there are times when the trip to the rental store results in a deliciously demented flick like UNCLE SAM. Now I'll admit that I was gonna rent this long before I took one look at the credits. It had one of those hologram boxes that changed pictures depending on how you looked at it, and this one had the creepy visage of a zombie-like Uncle Sam on the cover hovering between the time-honored 'I Want You' message. One move of the box to the other side and it became clear that good ol' Uncle Sam wanted me alright, but he wanted me DEAD! When the box makes you chuckle like that, a rental is simply inevitable.

Glancing at the credits made the flick move up the list from probable to DEFINITE... credits like director William (MANIAC COP, MANIAC) Lustig and writer Larry (IT'S ALIVE!, GOD TOLD ME TO, I THE JURY, the list goes on) Cohen. Stars like William Smith, Timothy Bottoms, PJ Soles, Robert Forster, Bo Hopkins and Isaac Hayes. In the words of nerdy, teenage comic fans, "Fuckin' schweet, fuckin' awshome!"

I'll admit that I've been disappointed by such "star vehicles" in the past -- does anyone remember a little flick called A FINE MESS, or how about the dismal fireworks of WISDOM? Luckily, this insane combo of DEATHDREAM and the aforementioned MANIAC COP avoids the problems and pitfalls of such flicks.

And while it would be easy to dismiss UNCLE SAM as a straight-to-video horror entry looking to capitalize on the genre's recent success, there are many philosophical questions raised during its snappy running time. For instance, exactly why does Uncle Sam's wife show up at her sister's house wearing her robe and pajamas? Or, while it seems logical that garden variety flag-burning vandals deserve to get their asses kicked by a zombie soldier, do folks deserve to die just because said zombie soldier finds their views "un-American"? And finally, is it right to laugh at Isaac Hayes simply because he ALWAYS sounds like Chef from SOUTH PARK?

See UNCLE SAM and join the debate...

Buy UNCLE SAM at Amazon.

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