Whiskey Tango Foxtrot: Tina Fey’s Greatest Performance Bounces From Comedy to Hails of Gunfire [Blu-ray Review]

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From Paramount Pictures and directors Glenn Ficarra, John Requa, comes Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. Based on the book “The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan” by Kim Barker, the film is available now on Blu-ray Combo Pack and stars Tina Fey, Margot Robbie, Martin Freeman and Billy Bob Thornton. 

In 2002, cable news producer Kim Barker (Tina Fey) decides to shake up her routine by taking a daring new assignment in Kabul, Afghanistan. Dislodged from her comfortable American lifestyle, Barker finds herself in the middle of an out-of-control war zone. Luckily, she meets Tanya Vanderpoel (Margot Robbie), a fellow journalist who takes the shellshocked reporter under her wing. Amid the militants, warlords and nighttime partying, Barker discovers the key to becoming a successful correspondent.

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Review

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot – aka military slang for WTF aka “what the fuck?” is one of the best Middle-East war movies in years. That’s because it’s not a thriller. That’s also because it’s not a comedy…  I guess it isn’t even a war movie after all is it? Whiskey Tango Foxtrot isn’t even a biopic in spite of being adapted from a reporter’s journal. The tone of the film feels is light and different from anything else I’ve seen in some time and that might be why several audiences didn’t get it or even give it a shot when it first came out. There are several hilarious moments, the dialogue is sharp and then there are serious scenes as well – after all this is Afghanistan shortly after 9/11…

Tina Fey plays real-life war correspondent and journalist Kim Barker and we see her struggles trying to get a grasp of reporting in Afghanistan with zero experience until she turns into a person obsessed with the job. She resorts to dangerous methods in order to prove her value and that’s when the more serious and suspenseful moments of the film come into play. Whether she’s interrupting a male-only prayer session or running into machinegun fire with a camera – Kim is clumsily braving death repeatedly and it makes Whiskey Tango Foxtrot such a unique film to be able to bounce from laugh-out-loud comedy to downright terrifying situations.

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The team of journalists all live in this party house and it was fun seeing them interact with one another. Rival network journalists all just hanging out with one another getting high, drinking, dancing to House of Pain’s ‘Jump Around’ – then flying in a helicopter the next morning to try and get footage of shit exploding. What’s truly fascinating is how quickly Kim goes from hating her assignment in Afghanistan to loving the country and using any excuse she can to stay there instead of heading back to New York and sit at a desk.

This truly is Fey’s greatest performance and it’s one that is so good in fact that I would have considered her for awards season. However – this movie is still a comedy and one that has ridiculous albeit hilarious moments like a guy who watches donkey pornography at the journalism house all day — so because the tone is so strange the movie will likely get passed over. There’s a moment during a hostage rescue mission where we see marines killing soldiers set to the song “Without You” by Harry Nilsson. It was brilliant – one of my favorite scenes of 2016 in fact.

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I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed Whiskey Tango Foxtrot – I didn’t expect it to go the places it did and the writing was so strong that it really elevated the film from being your typical comedy and morphed it into something much more intriguing. We all know that women are treated poorly in that country, but the way it’s handled here is way more captivating than any other film or TV series set that has been set in that area.

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Special Features

There are over 45 minutes of behind-the-scenes features on the Blu-ray making the home release a great addition for collectors. The interview with Kim Barker (whom Tina Fey plays in the movie) is especially cool because we get to see her and listen to her thoughts as she reflects on the experience of having her novel adapted into a movie.

  • Feature film in high definition
  • All In: The Making of Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
  • War Reporter: The Real Kim
  • Embedded In Reality – Find out how the military played a pivotal role in bringing the movie to life.
  • Wedding Party – Delve into the rich Afghan culture with a fun featurette on the joyous wedding celebration from the film.
  • Laughing Matters – See how the characters relied on drinking, partying and other vices to cope with the constant threat of danger.
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Extended Scene
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