“No one said this fight would be easy,” intones the deadpan narrator of Military Intelligence and You! “Except for the President, the Vice President, the Secretary of Defense, the head of the FBI the National Security Advisor, the Secretary of State, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. But everyone else said this fight would be really, really hard.”
Indeed, what’s the writer/director of an indie indictment of the justification of military action with incomplete intelligence to do when faced with the prospect of a really, really hard fight against an entrenched enemy as enormous as the U.S. government? Well, first-time filmmaker Dale Kutzera blindsides ’em with Military Intelligence and You!, a hilarious satire assembled out of classic clips from World War II military training films and framed by fresh footage shot in a war room staffed with intelligence officers who—in their simplistic insistence on a dichotomy between do-gooders and evil-doers every bit as black-and-white as the cinematography—make their counterparts in Dr. Strangelove look like geniuses.
Charged with locating the secret airstrip from which the dreaded “Ghost Squadron” of fighter planes swarms into the skies to bedevil U.S. bomber runs into Germany, Major Nick Reed (Patrick Muldoon) tries to convince the hardhearted General Jake Tasker (John Rixey Moore) to destroy the two towns it might be in.
“What sort of nation would we be if we just went around sending in the troops just because we thought something might be there?” Tasker sputters. “No, what we need is proof. Rock solid, undeniable evidence.”
“And I’m sorry that I couldn’t manufacture any for you,” a crestfallen Reed replies.
Chastised by his superior, Reed must try to gather the intelligence to justify an attack while simultaneously trying to prove to Lieutenant Monica Tasty (Elizabeth Bennett), the woman whom he shared a pre-war romantic connection—and “had great sex” with—that war hasn’t left him “an empty, hollow shell devoid of emotion.” (“Of all the Central Commands in all the World Wars, you had to walk into hers,” the narrator teases as the one-time lovers lock eyes for the first time.)
The re-cut classic clips—starring the likes of the late Elisha Cook Jr., William Holden, Alan Ladd and Ronald Reagan—serve to dramatize the impacts of the intelligence officers’ orders on “the brave men who risk their lives defending the civil rights we’ve already given up to protect ourselves.”
Often laugh-out-loud hilarious, Military Intelligence and You errs only when it makes the parallels between World War II and the current conflicts too obvious or anachronistic. A running gag about color-coded threat levels, for instance, is painfully out of place in a WWII war room. Still, no one could accuse Kutzera of “attacking without complete intelligence.”
Distributor: Anywhere Road
Cast: Patrick Muldoon, Elizabeth Bennett, Mackenzie Astin, John Rixey Moore, Eric Jungmann, Russell Arms, Elisha Cook Jr., William Holden, Alan Ladd and Ronald Reagan
Director/Screenwriter: Dale Kutzera
Producers: Greg Reeves, P. James Keitel and Dale Kutzera
Running time: 78 min.
Release date: February 8 LA