Morons with Guns is a 2009 El Kadsreian satirical black comedy film. It satirises the 2003 maritime standoffs between El Kadsre and Mexico. The film won the CAEK Award for Best Original Screenplay and was nominated for Best Picture and Best Director.
It was directed by Oliver Watkins and co-written by Watkins, Markus Bohn and stand-up comedian Akat Wifabaag, and starred Delbert Haight, Dwayne Deadman and Barry Rick. The movie was filmed mostly at Storming Bricks Studios in Caleum, El Kadsre.
The film centers around three "Plainstainers" who are accidentally sent to Mexico as part of a deranged plot to assassinate Emperor Akiyasu and prevent a war from breaking out between the El Kadsreian Federation and the Empire of Mexico.
The film was condemned by the governments of both El Kadsre and Mexico, the latter banning the film altogether, however it was lauded by critics and audiences alike, often receiving 5-star reviews.
A reviewer for the El Kadsreian Chronicle said of the movie "I have never seen such a serious and important topic presented in such a silly and irreverent way. This is satire of the highest form."
The film centres around the main protagonists, Jim-Bob Geefersen (Delbert Haight), Joe Canton (Dwayne Deadman) and Fred "Wrecker" Rekavich (Barry Rick) - three Plainstainers from the fictional town of Iceburg, El Santios who receive a letter from the Federal Ministry of Defence summoning them to Mexico, as a result of a mix-up that saw them sent letters meant for three EKSEF troopers with whom they shared names.
In Vicnora, they talk to the deranged President, "Verro Dahnsehn" (a parody of then-President Derro Vahnsehn) who informs them that they will be sent on a secret mission to Mexico where they are to assassinate Emperor Akiyasu. The President is portrayed as paranoid and delusional, believing that Akiyasu has infiltrated his mind and that houseflies are actually miniature spy-drones sent by the Mexican government and that because he found a fly in his bathroom, it must mean that the Mexicans plan war.
The three are then given guns, despite not knowing how to operate them, and are sent to the Tuganadna-Mexican border. Moments after leaving President Dahnsehn's office do the three EKSEF troops who were originally meant to be sent to do the mission walk in claiming they had received their letters late.
Initially they don't know how to cross the border, and are simply told to follow "Plan E". Joe Canton, the only one of the three who knows how to read, realises that "Plan E" spells "Plane" and eventually they hatch a plot to board a plane from Vicnora to Mexico dressed as women. The guns are smuggled in while Jim-bob distracts the airport security guards pretending that someone had stolen "her" purse. The plot is successful and they arrive in San Deigo. On the flight, Joe (pretending to be "Jospehine") has a man trying to make a move on her, and the man later begins following the three who are still dressed as women.
Meanwhile back at Vicnora, the President discovers that he sent the wrong people to do the mission. He is warned that it could result in nuclear war if it goes wrong and is urged to inform the Mexican ambassador of the plot. The President refuses, and instead locks himself in a room claiming that he has a meeting scheduled with "a magic box of cereal".
Meanwhile, the man following them finally reaches them when Joe reveals he is a man. The man attempts to hit Joe, but Fred ends up punching him in the face. The man crawls away swearing revenge.
Not long afterward they are apprehended by Mexican soldiers, and a gun battle ensues, with the morons victorious. They steal the uniforms and the guns and proceed to infiltrate the living quarters of Emperor Akiyasu. However, their unit's commander turns out to be the man who had been hitting on Joe. The man recognizes them, which causes the three to run and hide "in that big fancy building over there", which turns out to be the Emperor's living quarters.
The Morons, in the Emperor's living quarters, decide to explore the building, and soon walk in on Akiyasu himself, who is in the bath and, upon jumping from the sight of the Morons, reveals that the Emperor is female. Jim-bob tells the Emperor that "she seems familiar" and continues walking along, while Fred remarks that "this is the first time I've seen a naked lady in a long time".
Shortly afterward they are apprehended by guards who drag them to kneel at Akiyasu's mercy. The soldier from before is present and tells them that he wants "a night with Josephine" or else it's death. The three reluctantly agree, while Fred attempts to "chat up" the Emperor, who is eventually seduced by his "country charm".
While distracted, Jim-bob is able to reach for a gun and shoot Akiyasu, before they rescue Joe from the soldier and escape the country.
They finally return to their hometown of Iceburg, El Santios only to find that the three EKSEF soldiers who were meant have been sent to do the mission are now living their lives in Iceburg.
The film concludes with the El Kadsreian President in the bathroom, while a housefly flies in. A close-up of the housefly reveals that it is actually a miniature spy-drone watching and recording what he is doing.
The movie was originally the idea of producer Brock Kerwar who wanted to make a thriller loosely based off the maritime standoffs between El Kadsre and Mexico in 2003. Several scripts around the idea were submitted, but Kerwar best liked the idea of Oliver Watkins who had suggested that it be made not as a thriller, but as a comedy.
Watkins was also given the role of director and called on the services of stand-up comedian and satirist Akat Wifabaag and his longtime writing partner Markus Bohn to write a "better, funnier" script.
The production team called on well-known comedy actors Delbert Haight, Dwayne Deadman and Barry Rick to play the starring roles. Rick also added a number of lines by improvising - for example, his character at the end was never meant to seduce Lydii Tarchonthii, which took the plot of the film in a different direction.
Sets and Filming
The movie was filmed entirely at Storming Bricks in Caleum, El Kadsre. The set had a number of sound stages, and back projection was often used to give the movie a deliberate, low-budget surreal "feel".
Likewise, bright contrasting colours were used throughout the film, which was, according to Watkins, "Partially to give the movie a cartoony feel, and partially to remind audiences that this was not a serious film."
The film also deliberately kept special effects as low-budget as possible, to "add to the comedy, and add to the unreality of the movie".
The film was made with a budget of $18 million, a fairly low budget compared to other movies made that year. Filming began in late 2008 and was completed in early 2009.
The film was lauded by critics and audiences alike, becoming the highest grossing comedy film in El Kadsreian history. The Vicnoran Today called it a "Masterclass of satire and surrealism. It is art as much as it is comedy."
Akat Wifabaag later mocked the review in his stand-up, drawing attention to the reviewer's distinction between "art" and "comedy".
Internationally it received positive reviews, with one review claiming "El Kadsre is a surreal country at the best of times, and this movie perfectly captures that surrealism, while making some very important points on the state of the world in between the laughter."
Outside of El Kadsre, the only other place where it got critical acclaim was Randomia, where the film eventually grew a cult following.
The film was nominated for four El Kadsriean Academy Awards, of which it won one.
- Best Picture
- Best Director: Oliver Watkins
- Best Actor in a Leading Role: Dwayne Deadman
- Best Original Screenplay
The film was banned in Tugaganda, Vicnora for undisclosed reasons, although it is widely believed that the main reason for the ban is due to the portrayal of the Emperor incumbent as female, being charmed by a foreigner, or being killed on-screen.
Likewise,the film was criticised by members of the El Kadsreian government, for its portrayal of Derro Vahnsehn (renamed "Verro Dahnsehn" in the film) as a paranoid schizophrenic.
Although Vahnsehn himself claimed to have enjoyed the film, joking that he felt "The portrayal is only half true!", many of Vahnsehn's supporters felt that the film "Made a disrespectful mockery of the office of the President of the El Kadsreian."