Stripes (1981)

There have been a handful of military comedies to grace the big screen over the years, and one of the most talked-about is Stripes.

Headlined by Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, John Candy, and Judge Reinhold, this comedy will show you everything wrong with the military and a thousand incidents that would never be possible.

The recruits would never be left unattended and forced to train themselves. Military police officers don’t hook up with cadets regularly, and the two worse soldiers would never be left in charge of the military’s newest toys. Oh yeah, these guys also wouldn’t invade Czechoslovakia by themselves.

I may sound awfully harsh in my assessment of the story, which is meant to be funny. I get that, but I wasn’t laughing. For me, the best part of the film was in the beginning when Murray’s character is driving a cab in New York, and Ramis’ character is teaching English to foreigners.

For me, things took a turn when they entered boot camp, and it was all downhill from there. I can respect people’s opinions about the movie. In 1981, this movie was laugh out loud hilarious. Upon a second viewing in 2020, I just didn’t feel the laughs were there. As I’ve shown in other reviews, I enjoy Murray’s comedy, only some of it is so hit and miss with me. Stripes was definitely a miss.

I’ve been spoiled with some of the greatest military/war movies in my lifetime. This particular film came out a year before I was born. Maybe that just means that studios learnt from some of these movies and came up with better ideas and stories for us to enjoy decades later.

Old-school comedy fans will enjoy this film while someone from my generation may not appreciate it as much. 2/10

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