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Time Mocks: Americans Win War on Terror!

The folks at Time show that they don’t restrict their propaganda just to “news” articles. They insist that it permeates every aspect of the magazine, even their movie reviews:

Americans Win the War on Terror!

By Richard Corliss

American dads, moms and kids watch a softball game in a Middle East compound. BOOM! go the terrorist bombs, and dozens are killed. Local soldiers stop a suspicious car at a checkpoint. BRAAAAAT! spits the evildoers’ gunfire, and the soldiers are dead. Back at the ballfield death scene, an ambulance drives off, carrying the wounded. KA-BLAM! A suicide bomber was inside. From the roof of a building a mile or so away, the masterminds of these atrocities record it all on video, for bragging rights later.

It could be Baghdad; it is Riyadh. The Kingdom shifts the current jihad one country south, from Iraq to Saudi Arabia. The movie also rouges the image of Americans in Islamic countries. Instead of being trapped in a four-year (and counting) quagmire, they come into town, clean things up and get out. What many thought would be the 2003 reality of a U.S. fighting force in Iraq has become a film fantasy in 2007.

During World War II, stateside audiences got morale-boosting movies with Errol Flynn or John Wayne leading victorious campaigns through Burma and Bataan. The current Mideast conflict is different, of course. America is not mobilized; only the military is. The enemy is not a country but an ideology, not uniformed but civilian guerrillas. And in a War on Terror there’s no sure way to declare victory. But just because our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan are less fighting machines than sitting ducks, that doesn’t mean that moviegoers should be deprived of go-get-’em war epics — or, in the case of The Kingdom, an old-fashioned , new-fangled action movie with the hint of a political statement…

Everything moves so much and so fast that the movie seems both gutsy and brainy. But the main strategy is to keep viewers’ pulses racing so they concentrate on the action, not the message.

Two messages, actually. One is that if America is going to do any good against Islamic extremism in the Middle East, it needs to link up with moderate Arabs like Faris. The other, more chilling thought, held till the film’s final scene, is that this war won’t end until both sides can somehow be convinced it’s over. And that’s an ending even Hollywood in the 40s would have a hard time selling.

That’s a mere coda, though, to the film’s climactic half-hour, when Berg pours on the adrenaline with cool shootouts, last-minute rescues and the cornering of the evil genius. That should give The Kingdom mass-audience appeal as a retro-fantasy of American grit and smarts, culminating in politico-military triumph. Who needs a stalled, baffled, exhausted Army when our four globetrotting, gun-toting crime-solvers can be sent to the scene to sleuth out and wipe out the bad guys?

I feel a sequel coming on. Next stop for this A Team: the caves of Pakistan!

Someone should compare this piece to Time Magazine’s review of 1945’s “Objective Burma!” with Errol Flynn:

Of course during WWII people like this reviewer would have faced the threat of prison.

We were at war.

This article was posted by Steve on Sunday, September 30th, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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