In 80’s action films, it’s morally repugnant that we’re asked to cheer on Chuck Norris mowing down racially defined terrorists, Rambo blowing away a thousand Vietnamese soldiers, and Charles Bronson murdering a bunch of poor inner-city youths.
Yet, I love them so. They satisfy an entertainment-hungry part of my brain that intellectual stimulation will never scratch: Violence, sex, survival.
The magic of Benjamin Marra’s graphic novel Terror Assaulter: O.M.W.O.T (One Man War on Terror) is that he understands what makes them great: The cool looking hero, the beautiful women, the hyper-violence and the bucketload of oneliners. And while Terror Assaulter could be (wrongfully) described as a mere parody, every page exudes Marra’s love for the genre, and crank its inherent abundance of sex and violence up 1000%. In Chapter One, the hero kills hundreds of ‘bad guys’, gets into a gunfight, kills a ninja, steals a car, blows up a helicopter and has sex while saying things like “I’m ejaculating inside you.” Like really graphic hardcore sex. And the hero shoots the villain’s hundreds of times. And sometimes he shoots civilians cause they’re in his way. And if he feels like having sex in the middle of a shootout, he does it. No one is going to stop him. He’s the fucking hero.
In Terror Assaulter, Marra boils the 80’s action movie to its purest ID and it’s just as horrifying and hilarious as you’d expect. The hero is the good guy because he kills the most people. Everyone states exactly what’s happening in short declarative sentences (“ARRRGHHH! He’s killing me”). Civilians are sex dolls (male and female) or cannon fodder. Maara’s art style may at first glance look like something a polished high-schooler would draw in the third period, but it’s more complex as it envolves, and it defines the tone of the book brilliantly. Nothing feels right. Characters are at once too stiff or too bendable. The perspective is often flat. Yet, the action scenes (which make up 92% of the book) are hilariously realized and dynamic, without ever breaking away from Maara’s rigid visual style. I know that some readers may find the constant violence repetitive, but that’s part of the point, and the story’s progression (or non-progression) does keep things surprising in its crazy exploration of ‘American Values’
Let’s just say “The American Government may be run by Lizard People and the hero is cool with that.”
Purchase it at your local comic book retailer or pick it up on AMAZON
The Film Trap Book Meet discusses a new cinema-related book every week. We hope you’ll read the book mentioned above and join us in the discussion below.
We read biographies, criticism, theory and sometimes even novels and comics that are tangentially related to the cinematic arts. Basically, we read whatever we want to read!
Coming soon to the Book Meet:
- Reel Women by Ally Acker
- Weird Sex & Snowshoes: And Other Canadian Film Phenomena by Katherine Monk
- Movies as Politics by Jonathan Rosenbaum
- The Parade’s Gone By…: by Kevin Brownlow: