I got a message last night from a friend asking if I wanted to come over and watch a feature-length, stop-motion Vietnam war film called Viva the 'Nam made with GI Joe figures. I'll be honest, the idea of it gave me visions of a series of Robot Chicken skits strung together for roughly 80 or so minutes, and, well, that's a vision I have little interest in seeing. But then I read the message out loud and had a change of heart. A feature-length, stop-motion Vietnam war film called Viva the 'Nam ... with GI Joe figures? Of course I want to see that! Why wouldn't I want to see that? What I wasn't told, however, proved even better.
Viva the Nam has been a labor of love for over eight years (!), the current runtime clocks in at 107 minutes (!!), the 'GI Joes' used in the animation are actually celebrity action figures (!!!), and the whole thing was shot on 16mm (!!!!). Oh, and though the film is a spoof on a wide swath of Vietnam war movies, it's much more than just a few loosely assembled gags. It has a flawed but full narrative with intertwining storylines that goes beyond what you'd expect from a project of this nature.
Of course that's not to say that Viva the 'Nam is a serious movie. It was made with a serious face, sure, but this is a war/action spoof made with action-figures and as far as that genre niche goes, Viva the 'Nam is King. Granted, it doesn't really have any competition, but iffins it did, I wager it'd stick a plastic combat knife right through the plastic faces of anyone out for the newly-invented title.