Reviewed by Jason Coffman
Rating: 7 Beans
o some people, finding terrible movies in the video store to rent is a passing fancy. For those of us who have made it into a study, there are certain joys of finding films such as "Uncle Sam" on the new releases rack of the local video store. "Uncle Sam" follows the tradition of "Jack Frost" and the "Silent Night, Deadly Night" films in creating a monster out of a seemingly harmless character from popular folklore. This time, it just happens to be the figure who represents the United States and all it stands for; it is so hard not to like this movie.
The film opens with a crashed helicopter which has been shot down by friendly fire. This takes place in Kuwait, if my memory serves correctly. Anyway, the guy in the helicopter isn't dead and shoots the two rescue guys. Why? Well, why the hell not? We need to establish this character as a villain.
Anyway, it turns out the body is that of a man who (I think) supposedly disappeared three years before. He is often referred to as "Uncle Sam" because he is the uncle of the young protagonist, and his name is Sam. His body is brought back to the States and put in his sister's home for storage until the funeral. Things turn sour when some local hooligans burn a flag and its ashes fall into Sam's waiting grave; apparently, this has a special magic effect that brings Sam back to life.
Before this movie is over, we have seen Isaac Hayes in a performance which made me say over and over again: "Isaac Hayes gets paid money to act." Robert Forster, obviously pre-"Jackie Brown," is in the movie for about a minute as a corrupt politician who Uncle Sam kills with fireworks. And there's a wheelchair-bound child who was injured in a fireworks accident who has some sort of weird psychic bond with Uncle Sam. Put it all together, and you have an enjoyable bad movie, if one that isn't quite as all-out fun as it could have been.
"Uncle Sam" will make an excellent double feature with "Jack Frost," although I suggest watching this first as "Jack Frost" is far superior (in that special kind of way). You and your friends can sit around discussing the way America must now use its former legends as cheap horror films, and whether or not "Uncle Sam" is patriotic propaganda thinly veiled in the sheen of straight-to-video trash. Except I think that all patriotic propaganda not associated with Kevin Costner is straight-to-video trash...
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