American Way, The
REVIEWED BY: Kami Posted on 05/03/2009
Another strange and bizarre journey with Dennis (Mad Dog Morgan, Blue Velvet, Easy Rider) Hopper who stars as a Vietnam veteran known as Captain who is still at war. It’s just that now his war is with Amerikkka and his crew fly around in a converted B29 bomber (Uncle Slam) that’s been turned into a pirate tv station known as S&M TV!
Hopper and the crew are in the middle of negotiations to finally land and give themselves up to the authorities when he spots one last cause to fight for. A new presidential candidate is being groomed for the White House and Captain doesn’t like the look of her. She is Mrs. Westinghouse, a right wing, fascist war mongering born again Christian who is being marketed by a team led by computer printouts and media savvy. (nothing much has changed) S&M TV has one last mission – to take Westinghouse down. Of course, the good candidate doesn’t take this lying down though and the crew soon find themselves under attack. Pirate stations across the country are wiped out, missiles are launched, Armageddon approaches and Jimi Hendrix becomes a weapon of mass destruction!
With footage from the Vietnam war constantly on in the background (and foreground), snippets of old films, music footage, a soundtrack that is killer this is a visual feast that will blow yr mind while making you question whether anything has actually changed. Sure, the new Prez seems like a nice guy but hey the economy is rooted, there’s a war on, the TV is king and the pressure is on to conform and fit in.This film might have been made during the Reagan/ Nicaragua/ Contragate era but this scathing and blistering attack on the greed, the religious right movement and Reagan’s economics and morals still resonates today.
And this is more than just a vehicle for Hopper madness. Michael J Pollard (Bonnie And Clyde) puts in a great and twisted performance as Doc the technical wizard who does all the hard work and keeps saving their arses and Eugene Lipinski as the half man/half dodgem car hybrid Ace is suitably outrageous. But there’s subtlety to this movie too. The footage of the war that flashes across the screen, the juxtaposition of music, old movie footage, news items… and the relationship between Benedict (Al Matthews) and his Vietnamese houseboy Minh (Michael Ho)– a very sweet piece of not telling but showing… the film does suffer from that look that haunts 80s low budget movies but over all it still holds up remarkably well and the politics of selling the president as a product, of the views of a few controlling the many, of the hypocrisy of state and church – well, like I said, very familiar territory still. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
DIRECTOR(S): Maurice Philips | COUNTRY: USA | YEAR 1988 | DISTRIBUTOR(S): Umbrella Entertainment | RUNNING TIME: 100 minutes | ASPECT RATIO: 4:3 Standard Ratio | REGION: 0 | DISCS: 1
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No extras whatsoever but then it don’t need them.