The Best Films You’ve Never Seen: Whoops Apocalypse

Whoops Apocalypse//1986//Dir. Tom Bussmann

“You’re telling me that the entire population of Great Britain went and elected a deranged psychotic to the highest office of the land….  Again?”

I haven’t checked, but I reckon it is fairly unlikely that you are going to see this top-notch late cold war era satire on the TV any time soon. Any film that makes crude, disrespectful swipes at the establishment, the army and the royal family would probably find itself out of favour in the current climate of pro-forces, Jubilee-tastic, culturally enforced flag waving.

More’s the pity as Whoops Apocalypse is an outstanding comedy, successfully crossing toilet humour, political satire and violent slapstick in one big piss take of the Falklands War.

The main story is of a dispute over a small republic in South America snatched from British colonial grasp by a neighbouring military dictatorship. The hugely popular, yet demonstrably psychotic Conservative prime minister sends off a task force to wage war. Included in their number is the highly Diana-like Princess Wendy, who is kidnapped and threatened with execution – leading to ultimatums of the thermonuclear type and a race against time to stop a huge apocalyptic war.

Hanging off this backdrop are a number of great interludes, such as the PM bringing in a job creation scheme fuelled by mass suicides of those in employment or the escapades of almost insanely elaborate international terrorist/impressionist played by that racist bloke off Seinfeld.

Pick of the bunch though is the extended cameo from Rik Mayall as the commander of an elite SAS squad sent to carry out a violent and superbly sweary raid on an unnamed London wax museum in order to rescue the princess.

Generally the whole thing is about as subtle as a frying pan to the face but now and again a darker moment of satire breaks through the gags about accidental castrations involving the royal family or jump starting Russian leaders via other slightly less dead Russian leaders.

Appealing for calm within the British delegation, Loretta Swit as the rational US president implores,“But where is the sanity in vapourising millions of totally innocent people?”, Cook’s, hook-handed PM fixes her with a cold eyed, withering stare and retorts matter of fact, “Well it shut Japan up didn’t it?”

Whoops Apocalypse is available on DVD, either on its own or in a double pack along with the original LWT TV Series


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