But to reflect changing geopolitical realities, this time Vladimir Putin’s resurgent Russia will be cast in the role of the clumsy but well-intentioned global terror-fighting heroes.
“Team Russia: World Police 2” isn’t due to hit cinemas until November — just in time to provide some much-needed comic relief as the first body bags from the Middle East begin arriving home in Mother Russia. But the Dandy Goat’s puppet cinema correspondent Ibrahim Gottnoestringz has managed to get an exclusive sneak peek behind the scenes.
In a homage to the original movie, the opening sequence of “Team Russia” is also set in a beautiful European capital, but this time it’s Vilnius, Lithuania, where, like the Americans in Paris who toppled the Eiffel tower in the original movie, the Russian team charged with protecting the world from terrorism also cause some mayhem.
Unlike the flamboyantly American stars of Team America, the Russians are dressed in nondescript green uniforms with no insignia, and pose as ethnic-Russian Lithuanian separatists. They provoke some hilarious civil unrest before indiscriminately pouring automatic gunfire into peaceful unarmed protesters and setting fire to several public buildings.
Then they fly away in an unmarked Russian commercial transport plane, leaving flames and chaos in their wake — and their madcap antics give Soviet (Ed. change to Russian) forces a pretext to intervene and seize power.
In another homage to “Team America,” the film has the Russian team seeking a new recruit from the world of theater. A handsome young actor, Ivan Spankoff, is starring in an off-Red Square production of “Bent,” a tragi-comic chronicle of the lives of young Moscow skinheads living in squalid Soviet-era tenement blocks who spend their days beating up and setting fire to members of the city’s homosexual community.
After the show closes with a rousing rendition of “(Let’s All Go) Gay-Bashing!,” Spankoff, a swarthy ethnic Tajik, is approached by Team Russia to join them and go undercover posing as a Syrian freedom-fighter battling to overthrow the regime of Bashar Assad.
The story really gets into gear when the team lands in Damascus and starts taking out moderate Syrian rebels — not to mention numerous innocent civilians — with brutal Russian panache, while delivering some memorable one-liners and getting into a series of side-splitting cultural misunderstandings with their Iranian allies from Hezbollah and Assad’s murderous thugs.
Possibly the funniest moment of the film comes when, in a nod to the classic scene from “Apocalypse Now,” Russian and Syrian air force helicopters swoop in to drop barrel bombs on a refugee camp while loudspeakers fitted to the choppers blare out the theme from “Downton Abbey” after Hezbollah fanatics decide that “You Shook Me All Night Long” by AC/DC is degenerately Western and un-Islamic.
In addition to “Gay-bashing!,” “Team Russia” delivers several other tunes which are sure to become cult singalong anthems, including the Bob Marley classic reworked by a high-kicking chorus line of Iranian Revolutionary Guards “Al Quds You Be Loved?” And Vladimir Putin himself makes a musical appearance with a melancholy solo reworking of the Beatles’ “Back in the USSR,” as well as duet with the Syrian dictator on a rendition of “Assad Sweet Dreamer.”