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When two soldiers on the run are mistaken for war heroes and dragged into the corrupt politics of a small town, murder and mayhem follow not far behind them.

Medal of Victory is a clever farce billed as an action comedy that is far better than one has any right to expect. Written and directed by Joshua Moise the story begins by introducing us to a young Floyd McMasters who, as luck would have it, is playing in the front yard when landlord Harry Maddox (Jack O’Connell) comes sniffing around, demanding rent. The evil landlord, Harry nearly puts Floyd’s hand in a lawnmower before being chased off by a kindly neighbor. Thankfully little Floyd will never see him again. Or will he?

We then flash forward to grown up Floyd (Will Blomker) who has found work as a pencil pusher in a military shipping center. After he and his best buddy Stu (Mason Hill) accidentally ship nuclear missile parts to an enemy country instead of a kindly shipment of provisional peanut butter, they are sentenced in a military tribunal and prepare for jail time. The bumbling duo decides to escape, stealing the most ubiquitous of getaway cars, and attempt run from Uncle Sam. They make a pit stop to live it up at a local bar where they meet another soldier, Paul (Pablo Jesus Lira) who is home from the war after winning the Medal of Victory in battle. Despondent and shell shocked, the medal winner recounts his harrowing tail while throwing back beers and bonding with these pseudo servicemen.

With their consciences dinged and their judgment impaired even further, The AWOL soldiers witness their medal winning drinking buddy, Paul, get into a fatal accident by running his truck off the road. Paul’s dying gift to Floyd is his Medal of Victory and the two, again, run like hell from trouble.

Yes, this is a hell of a lot of exposition but it soon begins to pay off when Floyd and Stu find themselves back in their home town and in the midst of a bitter mayoral race, chased by a scorned lover and reporter (Anna Martemucci), mistaken identities, and backdoor briberies that keep the story moving at break-neck speed. Along for the ride too is hilarious character actor Richard Riehle as one of the towns two candidates and Audrey Francis as a cold as ice political insider who pulls guns on people like it’s a cordial greeting.

Director Moise attempts to raise the level of intellect by using nothing but classical pieces ala 2001 as the films score. Yes, it does what it needs to do and telegraphs to the audience that we are watching something sophisticated and witty, but it is sometimes used to excess. It’s not a spoiler to say that there is resolution as there is with any comedy of this type. But part of the fun is seeing who so many loose ends get pulled back into the fray then seamlessly laced back in. Medal of Victory doesn’t adhere to this level of fastidious storytelling and drops things once our hero is redeemed, when there’s something more hilarious happening or when it simply gets in the way.

Too, if you are not along for the ride once the story hits the sleepy, salacious town where all hell breaks loose, then you might never be. That is the danger in a storyline with as many concessions as this. It might not be everyone’s bottle of beer, but then again, it doesn’t have to be.

Will Floyd ever get away from the government that is chasing him? Will he ever find redemption from his past? Who will win the race for mayor? Medal of Victory attempts to be nothing more than a chaotic, comical romp. A goofy, broad faced farce that sports a Super Troopers vibe while being a lot sharper than many audiences might expect. The twists and turns packed into the script with a density that is almost exhausting but that is part of the fun.

Medal of Victory (2016) Directed by Joshua Moise Written Joshua Moise, Staring: Richard Riehle, Anna Martemucci, Jack O’Connell, Audrey Francis, Will Blomker, Mason Hill


Norm Gidney -

Norman Gidney was born in Fullerton California, just a few miles from Disneyland. Raised in Southern California, Norm began his love for the scare at the age of 5 by watching John Carpenter's Halloween. What followed was a lifelong fascination with the macabre, the suspenseful, and the wonderful world of Halloween. He set out on a quest to share his passion for all things spooky with the rest of the world by developing Gidney as January 2020 is a critic on Rotten Tomatoes.