Team America: World Police (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

Just in time for its 20th anniversary, South Park’s Matt Stone and Trey Parker once convinced Paramount Pictures to give them tens of millions to make a puppetry comedy film aimed at spoofing Jerry Bruckheimer-produced action pictures, America’s foreign policy, and liberal Hollywood. The result was the modestly successful but well-enough reviewed Team America: World Police. Along with the 25th-anniversary release of South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut, the influential and unconventional comedy duo are making some 4K waves for the sake of their wacky, foul-mouthed animated features, and fans should certainly be happy.


In the world of this film, Team America is a North American counter-terrorism force led by the gruff but determined Spottswoode (Daran Norris). When one of their own is killed by a terrorist, Broadway actor Gary Johnston (Parker) is recruited to serve as an undercover operative based on his acting and language skills. Meanwhile, North Korean dictator Kim Jong II has a nefarious plan to destroy the world, duping many famous Hollywood elites to join up with him. Will Gary and the rest of Team America be able to launch enough patriotism at all who stand in their way to stop this threat? Survey (and one of the film’s many songs) says – F**k yeah!

It’s been several years since I last visited with the World Police, but I can’t say my opinions on the film have changed all that much. As a film described to be the toughest to make and the worst time of their lives by Stone and Parker, that shows on screen in terms of craft. This is a richly detailed film in terms of the production design, miniatures, clothing, models, and more. Being done so practically, it truly puts the Thunderbirds (the target of parody in terms of style) to shame. Even the puppetry on display, in terms of performance, adds a layer that truly benefits the aims of Stone, Parker, and co-writer Pam Brady.

From this, there’s plenty to appreciate about the broad comedy, where this film shines best. Thanks to so many visual gags, random bits of dialogue, and vocal performances, there are jokes upon jokes here, and some a viewer can still find for the first time all these years later. A personal favorite includes Gary being handed a hammer as a way to kill himself in case he is captured by the enemy, along with the heavy amount of puppet gore that comes with the gun battles we see throughout.

Naturally, being a work by Stone and Parker, the film is not about to shy away from its raunchiness, and the puppet-themed sexual content is just as ridiculous as ever, especially since these are very plain models being utilized for maximum comedic effect. Similarly, being R-rated, the choice to go all in on the profanity (as well as the violence) really tips the scales as far as how to parody the character types scene in 90s action films (a heavy influence here). It makes it all the more jarring and hilarious that Team America is as much a musical as it is an action film. Several original songs are featured on the soundtrack, and it supplies plenty of additional nonsense to serve a movie that already chooses to really go for it.

Where I’m less into the film is when it leans into its satire on reality, whether it be American militarism, foreign policy, the Hollywood stuff, or even its portrayal of Islamic terrorists, let alone anyone who doesn’t speak English. It’s not as though I’m not for a film that knows how to tackle those topics, nor do I necessarily find any of it offensive (going after everybody can have a neutralizing effect). It just doesn’t stand as being that funny. There’s undoubtedly an audience for this brand of humor, which has largely been catered to throughout the duration of South Park’s run, especially in the post-George W. Bush years. Still, for all who can see what Stone and Parker are aiming at, there’s also those who take what’s on display to heart.

I’m obviously intent on judging the movie for what it is and not how it is received. Still, given that this is essentially a retro review for a two-decades-old film, it’s worth taking into account the effect Team America had, and yes, whether it’s the “Maaatttt Daaaaamooon” gag or saying “derpa derpa” anytime a brown-faced person (terrorist or otherwise) is on screen, it speaks to the impact a film like this has. It is more fun reading the reactions (Sean Penn hates it; Alec Baldwin, George Clooney, Jodie Foster, and Damon love it), but for me, just watching the film this time around, I more or less “got” the idea but felt less amused compared to Team America member Chris (Stone) describing how the show “Cats” cause him trauma that made him hate actors.

Whatever the case, at just over 90 minutes, with rarely any time to slow down, Team America is the sort of bold experiment that delivers plenty of laughs and a clear level of ambition on display. The craft, alone, is enough to warrant a look at what Stone and Parker worked incredibly hard on for the sake of our entertainment. I wouldn’t put it on any “Best Comedy of the 00s” list, but it’s still fun and unlike anything else.


Encoding: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 4K (2160p)

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1

Layers: 1 BD-66, 1 BD-50

Clarity/Detail: It’s remarkably easy to tell how much of a clean transfer this is, as all of the details in terms of wires and backgrounds were left on screen. Not that I was about to be confused by a world full of puppets, but being able to register how plainly fake this all speaks to the clarity of the transfer. Even better is the level of detail that can be found throughout. The opening sequence (an action sequence set in Paris) is an easy highlight, as the film matches the work done to construct a city with the bombast of guns and explosions. It all looks stellar.

Depth: Many great moments abound, especially when framing the puppets against the variety of sets they occupy. It all does well in communicating the dimensionality of the film.

Black Levels: This is a very bright film, with mainly indoor moments reflecting times of darkness (puppets aren’t exactly looking for their light). There’s no visible crushing when looking at any scenes in darker areas. It all registers quite well.

Color Reproduction: The color palette is very active in this film, between the costumes, explosions, vehicles, and more that largely communicate red, white, and blue to the viewer. This disc may not feature the HDR branding on the cover to sell what it offers, but it looked pretty great on my 4K TV.

Flesh Tones: N/A…I guess. These are really good-looking puppets though. The exaggerated features shine.

Noise/Artifacts: There’s nothing to note here. This is a pretty fantastic transfer.



Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, English Audio Description

Subtitles: English SDH, English Captions, Francais

Dynamics: This lossless audio track preserves all the Hollywood blockbusterness that Team America aims for. The explosions and gunfire sound huge, the music comes in full force, and the dialogue is loud and clear. A lot of effort was put into this sound mix, and the disc is all the better for it.

Height: Thanks to the level of scale involved in taking on a puppet-themed action film, there’s a lot to like about how this film can balance what’s being asked of it for a home presentation.

Low-Frequency Extension: War action, in general, plays excellently in this regard, so here we have plenty of action and rock beats to allow the sub-woofer to shine.

Surround Sound Presentation: There’s plenty taking place in terms of the action one can hear frequently, along with how the score and various other sound effects factor into this audio track. It’s all balanced properly, with the rear channels getting plenty to do.

Dialogue Reproduction: Dialogue is loud, clear, and crisp throughout.



While nothing new is featured in the way of extra features, the Blu-ray still contains the same bonus materials available since the film’s original DVD release. Each shown in standard definition, it amounts to about an hour of extra material, providing insight into how this film came together at a quick enough pace. It should also be noted that the unrated cut (which amounts to one extra minute at most and only in the film’s most ridiculous scene) is only available on the Blu-ray copy of the film, along with the extras.

Features Include:

  • Deleted/Extended Scenes and Outtakes (SD, 6:07)
  • Team America: An Introduction (SD, 5:10) – An overview of how this experience went, with Stone and Parker noting the labor, characters, and other factors that go into a production such as this.
  • Building the World (SD, 12:42) – The production designer, visual consultant, set decorator, and other crew members go over the world’s design for this film.
  • Pulling the Strings (SD, 10:09) – A look at the puppetry work, its intricacy, and what it takes to get performances from marionettes.
  • Crafting the Puppets (SD, 8:01) – The puppet designers, sculptors, and others discuss the various puppets’ creations and the details that go with them.
  • Capturing the Action (SD, 6:44) – DP Bill Pope talks about shooting an action film with puppets.
  • Miniature Pyrotechnics (SD, 4:50) – The SFX supervisor talks about his contributions to the film.
  • Up Close with Kim Jong-Il (SD, 5:10) – A focus on the film’s central villain.
  • Dressing Room Test (SD, 2:05)
  • Puppet Test (SD, 4:10)
  • Storyboards (SD, 12:12)
  • Teaser Trailer (SD, 1:35)
  • Theatrical Trailers (SD, 2:20)
  • Digital HD Copy of the Film


Even with some of my misgivings, there’s plenty of fun to be had with Team America: World Police. It’s an off-the-wall, R-rated, puppet action-musical comedy. When else have we gotten one of those? It delivers on a lot of fun and impressive visual work, which is enough to recommend right there. Add to that this new 4K presentation, which shows off all the detail that went into this film’s creation. Additionally, there are plenty of extras to enjoy for fans curious about the making of this film. For fans of South Park or wildly irreverent satire, it’s a film of its time, but worth checking out.

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Writer/Reviewer, Film Lover, Podcaster, Gamer, Comic Reader, Disc Golfer & a Lefty. There are too many films, TV, books, etc. for me to list as favorites, but I can assure that the amount film knowledge within my noggin is ridiculous, though I am always open to learning more. You can follow me on Twitter @AaronsPS4, see what else I am up to at TheCodeIsZeek.com & check out my podcast, Out Now with Aaron and Abe, on iTunes.

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