Blerd Film Club: Major Payne

I've mentioned it before, but in an attempt to remain honest I'll say it again. Along with A Low Down Dirty Shame, I used to watch Major Payne with my dad all the time as a kid, and I love the movie. There's absolutely nothing wrong with it. I'm sorry if you were expecting a review. This is simply a praise report. I have nothing but praise for this film.

Major Payne is a stone cold, tough as nails, hard as they come marine. After returning from a drug raid in South America he learns that he's been passed over for promotion to Lieutenant. He's granted an honorable discharge. He's told that wars can't be won on the battlefield anymore. There's no room left for him and he's no longer needed. He attempts to get a job as a police officer, because in 1995 the police have been militarized to the point where it is the same. Unfortunately, he's too hard even for the police force. Still, he gets a job as at Madison Preparatory School where he is supposed to lead the JROTC. A job he considers a living Hell.

When he meets the students, he is disgusted. Short, overweight, deaf, cross-eyed it doesn't matter. He's got words for everyone. This is where we first meet Tiger, a six year old orphan and the smallest out of the group. Pain trains the boys hard, and hates the job. He meets Emily Walburn, the school counselor who hates him and believes he's too hard on the children. He also believes that she's too soft. He gives the boys a chance to get rid of him, promising to quite if they bring him the Military Games Trophy. The older cadets sneak out to steal the trophy from a rival school. They leave Tiger behind because he's too small.

Luckily Payne had begun to bond with Tiger. He tellsTiger a bedtime story, not realizing Emily had been watching. It doesn't go great, but he still bonds with Emily who sees that there's a good man in there somewhere. Payne then calls the rival school to warn them. The boys are beaten and return to the campus. They work together to train in hopes of winning the trophy legitimately.

Before the games come around Major Payne is offered is a mission in Bosnia, because someone needs killing after all. He plans to skip the military games but at the train station he sees a family. In them he imagines a happy life where he is married to Emily and they adopt Tiger. He forces himself to return to the military games realizing he's in love with Emily and he's built a father son relationship with Tiger.

The team holds their own but get into a dispute that costs them points when another team cheats and injures one of the squad members. Major Payne returns and apologizes. He then tells Tiger to lead the drill routine. They win because of their originality. We fast forward a year, and Major Payne has married Emily and they have adopted Tiger. He still trains the JROTC but has become softer and now introduces himself as their Commander and friend. Unless they're disrespectful.

I think this is a great movie, and because of sentimental value it'll always be one of my favorites. Still, there's lessons involved. The biggest obviously being that you don't have to be a parent to step up and be a role model. Payne and Emily step up and become parental figures to Tiger independently, and that brings them together. Payne also becomes a father figure to some of the other boys, like Alex. Alex's father is out of his life and he has an abusive alcoholic step-father who shows up and tries to beat Alex. Major Payne doesn't allow this. From that point on, if only one person on the squad respects him, it's Alex and Payne doesn't ask for a thing in return, but gives him time to process. There's also the idea that everyone doesn't show emotions the same way. Payne was without a doubt tougher on those boys than anyone else, still he was the only one who encouraged them to keep going and reach their potential.

Damon Wayans is a funny guy, but he's also known for the satire in his writing, even if some people overlook it. Throughout the film he makes it a mission to not only satirize military films, the military and even police. We see him apply to be a police officer, because it's the same thing. Why would anyone think otherwise when police have tanks now? The entire opening battle scene was a joke base on military action films. One man, destroys an entire army with no regard for the lives of his comrades or civilians, says some cheesy one liner and then everything is solved. I remember speaking with a man who had recently come home from Iraq and had no idea what to do with his life. He stated the military teaches you all these skills; then you come home, but they're useless and don't really transfer. We see Payne go through this himself, unaware of how to adjust to civilian life. He just ends up in jail. Which happens to a lot of veterans along with PTSD, drugs, suicide and so on. But nobody from the military ever comes to check on them.

Even if you ignore everything I wrote about the satire and messages, the film is still great. I love it, and there's so many funny scenes and touching scenes I didn't even start to touch on. It's a good film to watch alone but it's great when you can watch it with family. Again, I'm bias. However, that doesn't matter because Major Payne is still a classic film.

You can check out some of my fiction at 12 AM Fiction or follow my web serial Exsanguinate and of course hear me on the Powerbomb Jutsu podcast.
Blerd Film Club: Major Payne Blerd Film Club: Major Payne Reviewed by Darrell S. on Thursday, February 27, 2020 Rating: 5

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