One of the traditions of Christmas was that my dad and I would go to the pub on Xmas Eve, then stagger home and he would bring out the cheese and biscuits and more booze and we would watch one of his fave action movies. My dad loved them all, Stallone, Arnie, JCVD, Norris and perhaps his favourite, Steven Seagal.
This year, it felt like I kept up this tradition by watching the excellent MacGruber, which somehow has passed me by for years, I only discovered it due to my love of The Lonely Island, whose Jorma Taccone directed this brilliant actioner/comedy starring fellow Saturday Night Live brethren Will Forte and Kristen Wiig.
The brilliance of MacGruber is that it is not played for laughs, despite being a mile a minute hilarious. No one ever breaks character and gives a little wink to the audience, even when the main hero has a piece of celery sticking out of his butt. He is just ‘creating a diversion’. Classic.
All of the action movie cliches are here, the more you watched, the more you will laugh. You have the military dude coming back to get the former hero back in the game (see First Blood/Rambo/Rambo III), you have the new recruit who rubs MacGruber up the wrong way (Dirty Harry, okay not 80s, but this is what I recalled when these hilarious scenes were playing out), the sex scene played out to 80s MOR (every 80s film?) and even a topless dude blowing on a saxophone to complete the look.
It is a shame that Jorma do not appear, but Forte and Wiig bounce off each other (some times quite literally) brilliantly and are a constant joy. Perhaps the biggest props go to Val Kilmer, as the classic rich nasty villain, who makes the mistake of telling us everything just before he does it, allowing MacGruber to save the day, despite seeming to be a complete idiot.
Miss you dad, but we will always have…30 SECONDS, MACGRUBER!