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Larry Charles
Nicolas Cage, Russell Brand, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Matthew Modine, Rainn Wilson
Writing Credits:
Rajiv Joseph and Scott Rothman

An American civilian sets out on his own to find Osama Bin Laden.

Rated R

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 93 min.
Price: $29.99
Release Date: 11/15/2016

• “Making Army of One” Featurette
• Preview
• DVD Copy


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


Army of One [Blu-Ray] (2016)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (November 7, 2016)

After his success as a writer/producer on Seinfeld, Larry Charles managed a major hit with his second cinematic effort as a director. 2006’s Borat turned into a smash and set Charles up to write his own ticket.

Charles continued to stick with Borat’s Sacha Baron Cohen, and that produced diminishing returns. 2009’s Bruno fell far short of Borat’s grosses, and 2012’s The Dictator produced similarly mediocre ticket sales.

2016’s Army of One separates Charles from Cohen for the first time in a decade, but it fails to reverse Charles’ box office skid. Indeed, Army didn’t even receive a theatrical release, as it went straight to video.

Still affected by my fondness for Seinfeld, I wanted to give Army a look. Former ex-con Gary Faulkner (Nicolas Cage) tries to make ends meet as a handyman but fails to find much work.

One day Gary sees a vision of God (Russell Brand). The Almighty instructs Gary to go to Pakistan so he can capture Osama Bin Laden (Amer Chadha-Patel). Gary embarks on this illogical, semi-ill-fated journey.

Despite the ludicrous premise, Army comes based on a true story. The real Gary actually exists, and he got all the way to Pakistan before his crusade came to an end.

While Army presents factual aspects, it embraces a wholly goofy tone, so don’t expect anything dramatic or realistic. It goes for a wholly comedic approach that often stretches credulity.

At times Army offers the occasional laugh, but it mostly tends to grate, largely due to a rabidly over the top performance from Cage. Never the world’s most subtle actor, Cage goes completely unhinged here.

Why? I don’t know, as the movie’s premise could generate enough comedy on its own. Despite that, Cage decides to make Gary an absurd cartoon character – almost literally, as Cage chooses vocal affectations straight out of Woody Woodpecker.

I’ve often liked Cage, but his performance in Army flops, and it flops hard. The film wants to present Gary as a likable guy who manages to ingratiate himself to the people he meets, but that becomes impossible to swallow. Cage plays Gary as so annoying and manic that I find it tough to fathom anyone would tolerate him for more than 20 seconds.

With a better lead performance, would Army become more successful? Yeah, but its scattershot script limits its potential. The movie progresses without a clear through-line and feels almost random at times.

Maybe that makes sense given the manner in which Army displays Gary as unstable. Nonetheless, the decision doesn’t work for the movie, as it just makes a loose narrative even less coherent.

The occasional nugget of comedy does manifest itself during Army, but these sporadic laughs fail to sustain the viewer. Largely due to an abrasive performance from its lead, Army becomes a tough ride.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B/ Audio B-/ Bonus D+

Army of One appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The movie came with a good but not great presentation.

Sharpness was the primary weak link, as a few interiors seemed oddly soft. Those didn’t pop up often, though, so most of the movie showed positive delineation. No issues with shimmering or jaggies appeared, and I saw no print flaws.

In terms of palette, Army emphasized an amber feel. Throw in occasional teal elements and this was a restricted palette, but the Blu-ray reproduced it as intended. Blacks were dark and deep, while low-light shots appeared clear and smooth. Other than the occasional softness, this became a pleasing image.

With its character focus, the movie’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack lacked great breadth. Music showed nice stereo presence, but effects didn’t add much to the package. Gary’s visions from God used the various speakers in an active manner, though.

Audio quality satisfied. Speech appeared concise and distinctive, and music sounded full and peppy. Though effects remained restrained much of the time, they seemed accurate enough. This turned into a suitable track.

The Making of Army of One runs seven minutes, seven seconds and includes comments from producer Jeremy Steckler, executive producer Patrick Newall and actors Nicolas Cage, Russell Brand, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Will Sasso and Paul Scheer. “Making” covers story/characters, cast and performances, and locations. This becomes a general promo piece.

The disc opens with an ad for Wild Oats. No trailer for Army appears here.

A second disc provides a DVD copy of Army. It also gives us the “Making of” featurette.

Blessed with a strong “truth is stranger than fiction” storyline, Army of One shows potential. However, the movie adopts such a ridiculously cartoony tone that it never quite works. The Blu-ray offers mostly positive picture and audio along with minor supplements. Though it comes with a few laughs, the end result becomes a chore to watch much of the time.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
0 3:
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