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"Return Of The Taliban" Panned By Film Critics

Third installment in al Qaeda trilogy, Return of the Taliban, panned by film critics

Lack of originality, sound cited as major flaws in new release by Al Jazeera Picture Studios.
Satire From:

CAPTION: The new bin Laden film has been criticized for its slow pace and obvious reuse of old audio clips...also the part about killing western infidels was kind of a buzz killer.

Pakistan/Afghanistan?--The much anticipated third video in the popular terrorism series starring Islamic fundamentalist icon and cold-blooded murderer Osama bin Laden has met with jeers from critics even while enjoying broad appeal in target markets.

Fans in Sudan, Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia camped out for days in front of video stores selling the new box set al Qaeda: Jihad Warriors trilogy, which includes the newest and final installment, The Return of the Taliban.

Despite the apparent devotion of bin Laden's followers--some have been known to strap bombs to their bodies and blow themselves up in an effort to get the attention of the reclusive terrorist--film critics have been bashing the video relentlessly since its debut.

"Well, bin Laden certainly didn't break any new ground in this film," Chicago Sun-Times movie critic Roger Ebert said. "The whole 'Death to the infidels, America is the great satan,' formula has been pretty well played out. I doubt American movie audiences will respond to that message at all."

The critic pointed out some technical problems with the video as well.

"For starters, it didn't have any sound," he said. "I don't know if it was a bone headed marketing move or just gross ineptitude on the director's part but you had to play an audiotape along with the video to hear the dialogue. My time is just too valuable for me to deal with that."

CAPTION: The latest bin Laden vehicle lacks the high-powered action sequences that made the first two movies in the trilogy so successful. Instead of the terrorist leader firing his AK-47, his new role has him taking long, quiet hikes with his russian made automatic weapon.

Ebert complained that even when the audio was working the lead character spent most of his time on camera silently walking up and down the side of a mountain, every once and awhile pausing to sit on an outcropping of rocks.

"It's like the whole film was a big self-serving photo op of him saying, 'Look at me. I'm still alive,'" he said. "It seemed like he was trying to make a statement with this movie rather than a work of art."

Many reviewers noted that the movie's co-star, Ayman al-Zawahiri, carries the film by giving powerful performances in several chilling scenes such as when he urges supporters to "bury Americans in the graveyard of Iraq."

"I had goose bumps during that part," one young al Qaeda terrorist said. "Allah akbar."

The release of the 105 minute feature came after a year-and-a-half hiatus for the alleged Sept. 11 mastermind leading some to speculate that the Yemen born terrorist leader might be dead.

If so, it would explain the movie's use of old audio clips.

One disappointed fan said he recognized several of bin Laden's lines in the video from his collection of early bootlegged recordings of the al Qaeda leader.

"The voice of bin Laden that we hear in the background, thanking the World Trade Center plane hijackers, is exactly the same message that was broadcast in a video cassette by al-Jazeera on Dec. 26, 2001," he said. "What a total jip."

CAPTION: Media and advertising executives couldn't wait to profit from the celebrity status of the al Qaeda leader. Nike and Coca Cola officials hoped the campaign would help them crack the elusive suicide bomber demographic.

This is not the first time that an Al Jazeera production has been trashed by critics after being digitally altered.

The second video in the series was criticized when TV and home video industry executives agreed to "voluntarily" edit the film at the urging of National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice.

The reasons given by Rice for the edits included possible hidden messages in the video directing future attacks, the reluctance to give Osama bin Laden a bully pulpit to rally terrorist cells, and a desire to perpetuate the ludicrous notion that "they hate us for our freedoms."

Despite the implications of the blatant censorship to America's free press, media and ad executives were suprisingly enthusiastic about the prospect of editing Osama's second video message.

"We digitally inserted the cast of the hit television sitcom, 'Friends,' into the second video and had them interact with the eccentric and murderous bin Laden as part of a sweeps week promo." NBC President and CEO Robert Wright explained. "It was a laugh riot."

However, Disney executives took the lead by producing an entire animated sequence in which Jiminy Cricket played bin Laden's conscience, trying but seldom succeeding in preventing him from committing evil acts. The sequence ended with bin Laden becoming a real person able to peacefully co-exist with western infidels.

Even though Ebert's thumbs down rating for this latest third episode in the trilogy was both expected and deserved, bin Laden took the criticism like a typical Muslim extremist.

"I send one thousand curses to you and your progeny," he responded. "That is... Allah willing."


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