This summer was supposed to be the return of the old school action hero. The A-Team, The Losers, The Expendables, Predators...so you can see how MacGruber may have seemed like a well-timed movie. It has to be seen as a generic action movie parody to play to younger audiences, because most people born in the last 20 years will only be familiar with McGyver as "that thing Patty and Selma watched" or something they stumbled across while searching for Jack Bauer
MacGruber is a simple revenge movie plot-wise, an action comedy that follows in the footsteps of Hot Fuzz, Pineapple Express and Tropic Thunder tonally. The action is real and violent. Insanely violent. Tearing upwards of three people's throats out violent. It starts out with MacGruber having fallen off the grid. He's way out in the middle of nowhere living a life of peace, vowing never to return to his actioner ways again. Until it turns out his mortal enemy, Cunth (Val Kilmer) is in position of a nuclear warhead, and MacGruber is reborn in an over the top sequence punctuated by a primal scream last brought to you by Mickey Rourke in Iron Man 2. When MacGruber is a bunch of over the top clichés it works. To start off with it's scene after scene of quality pastiche, the contrived friction between MacGruber and Ryan Phillipe's by-the-book army guy is, well, really
purposefully contrived and even the score incorporates sincere emotionally-goading 80s guitars. But some of the jokes fall flat and most of the ones that do get revisited a couple of times, which only reminds you how bad they were the first time around.
Ultimately, you'd probably laugh more watching Top Gun.
Maybe the Jack Bauer parody will be better...