Robert Downey Jr Weekend – Tropic Thunder (2008) Movie Review

Director: Ben Stiller

Writer: Justin Theroux, Ben Stiller, Etan Cohen (Screenplay)

Starring: Ben Stiller, Jack Black, Robert Downey Jr, Jay Baruchel, Tom Cruise, Matthew McConaughey, Steve Coogan, Brandon T Jackson

Plot: Through a series of freak occurrences, a group of actors shooting a big-budget war movie are forced to become the soldiers they are portraying.


Tagline – The movie they think they’re making… isn’t a movie anymore.

Runtime: 1 Hour 47 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Laugh Out Loud Funny

Story: Tropic Thunder starts as three very different actors, the academy winner Kirk Lazarus (Downey Jr), Tugg Speedman (Stiller) who has is trying to recover from flops and grossed out comedian Jeff Portnoy (Black) are working on a war epic under rookie director Damien Cockburn (Coogan), when the filming becomes a disaster after only one week.

The plan to get the actors to take things serious, it to leave them in the jungle without assistants or contact to the outside world, only they find themselves in the middle of a real war against the locals who still believe the war is going on.

Thoughts on Tropic Thunder

Characters – Tugg Speedman is an actor who has always been trying to make a bigger name out of himself, only he has been on a string of flops and clashes with Kirk’s style on screen. He does come off like a dumb actor who will believe in only what he thinks to get through the shoot, while becoming the leader his character is meant to be in the film. Kirk Lazarus is a method actor that has had black pigmentation put into his skin for the latest role as a black man, his style does clash with Tugg, understanding the situation more than anyone else. Jeff Portnoy is the grossed-out comedy star who is battling his own addiction with drugs and drink, always getting himself into trouble in the press. Less Grossman is the studio head that demands money from his investment, he is loud and will abuse anyone who doesn’t follow his orders.

PerformancesBen Stiller does give us a wonderful role, which does give us moments that feel like Zoolander, poking fun at certain actors reality of life. Robert Downey Jr is great too, as he got an Oscar nomination for playing an actor who will go to extreme lengths to get the job done, Jack Black does give us a little bit too much at times, while Tom Cruise could well have given us the most surprising of his career.

StoryThe story here follows five actors who believe they are making a war movie, only to find themselves trapped in the jungle being hunted down by the locals and they must put together everything they have learnt to make it out alive. The story here does manage to turn the filmmaking process on its head, by showing us just how difficult the actors can be to work with and then only to become more extreme when they must fight against people who want to kill them, while also showing the behind the screens process too, while also willing to leave everything as over the top as it could be.

Action/ComedyThe action in the film does give us military and over the top action clichés which is fun to watch and does add to the comedy we are experiencing through the film.

SettingsThe film use the jungle setting to show us just how alone the actors become after trying to become a more extreme shot.

Special EffectsThe effects are used for the explosions, which are cinematic just like the idea behind the movie being made.


Scene of the Movie – The rescue.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Jeff’s character is a lot to deal with.

Final Thoughts This is a clever comedy that manages to build up the idea of making a film and the switch to a reality through actors who will do anything to get the perfect shot.

Overall: Comedy that hits.

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