Tropic Thunder (films)
Tropic Thunder is a 2008 action comedy film directed by Ben Stiller and starring Stiller, Jack Black and Robert Downey Jr. as a group of prima donna actors filming a Vietnam War film when their fed-up writer-director decides to abandon them in the middle of the jungle, forcing them to fight their way out. It was released on August 13, 2008.
Tropic Thunder Plot
During the filming of Vietnam veteran Four Leaf Tayback's (Nick Nolte) memoir on location in Vietnam, the stars--has-been action star Tugg Speedman, five-time Academy Award-winner Kirk Lazarus, rap star Alpa Chino, and low-brow comedian Jeff Portnoy--are consistently unreasonable and a $4 million explosion goes off with no cameras shooting. With filming a month behind schedule only five days into shooting, the media dubs this production "The most expensive war movie never made." Rookie director Damien Cockburn (Steve Coogan) is ordered by studio executive Les Grossman (Tom Cruise) to get the production back on track or risk being shut down. With inspiration from Four Leaf Tayback, Cockburn drops the spoiled actors into the middle of the jungle, where he installs hidden cameras and special effect explosions rigged so he can film "guerrilla-style". The actors have only a map and a scene listing to guide them to the helicopter waiting at the end of the jungle. Shortly afterwards, the director is blown up by a land mine left over from the French, but thanks to his preceding diatribe, only Lazarus (Robert Downey Jr.) realizes his death was real.
As Tayback and pyrotechnics man Cody (Danny R. McBride) wait at the helicopter, the actors fight through the hostile jungle, with the action star Speedman (Ben Stiller) the only one really interested in making the movie. Cody and Tayback attempt to rescue the actors after they lose communication with the now deceased director; however, they are captured by local drug producers.
After doing the "scene", Portnoy's (Jack Black) stash of heroin is swept up by a passing bat, causing him to go into withdrawal. After Lazarus and minor-character actor Kevin Sandusky (Jay Baruchel) discover that the inept Tugg is leading them the wrong way, the group splits paths, with Tugg continuing to play to the film while the others attempt to escape the jungle.
Unbeknownst to the actors, they were dropped in the middle of the Golden Triangle, the home of the heroin-producing Flaming Dragon gang. The Dragons mistook the actors for DEA agents and captured Tugg as well as Cody and Tayback. In captivity Tayback reveals he had never left the US during the Vietnam war, and originally made the book as a tribute.
With Tugg captive, the Flaming Dragon gang realizes that he is the star of the box office bomb Simple Jack and they quickly force him to reenact the film several times a day. The gang contacts Tuggs' agent, Rick (Matthew McConaughey), and Grossman through Tugg's satellite phone and ask for a ransom. Grossman curses out the gang in his typical fashion and later tells Rick they can benefit more by collecting the insurance claim on Tugg's death, offering the torn agent a share of the profits.
The other actors stumble upon the Flaming Dragon's heroin factory. After seeing Tugg being tortured, they plan an ambush based on the film's plot line. Kirk impersonates a farmer who has caught Jeff in his farm, distracting the armed guards as Alpa and Kevin sneak into the building the captives are held in. After the gang notices inconsistencies in Kirk's story, the actors open fire on the gang, temporarily subduing them despite being armed with only special-effects blanks. Jeff kidnaps the gang's child leader from the fray in order to be led to the drugs. After barely defeating the prepubescent crime lord in combat, he finds an enormous mound of heroin; however, reflecting upon his failing low-brow movie career, he rejects the heroin and uses it instead to knock out two guards.
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