One of the short films screening this week in Austin, Texas at SXSW is this Veterans for Peace UK film directed by James Price, and written by Darren Cullen, Action Man: Battlefield Casualties
As opposed to telling a singular, linear story, Battlefield Casualties gets its point across through a series of 80’s style GIJoe– esque commercials. The commercials feature a new line of action figures, the Action Man: Battlefield Casualties collection. In the collection are a PTSD man, a paralyzed Action Man (complete with wheelchair), and the Dead Action Man. They each come with some special accessories to ensure a complete and fun playtime experience.
The first half of the short appears comedic, the severity of the message becomes apparent quickly, right around the moment when PTSD figure hangs itself, showing the true affects of a post was life for so many wounded ex-soldiers. The paralyzed figure has his benefits taken away, forcing him to work at a minimum wage job to make ends meet, and the dead figure is, well, dead.
While these toys are not real, the message is clear as day. On the Battlefield Casualties website, they go into the facts about the Royal Army of the UK, stating that it is one of 19 countries (the only one in the EU) to allow soldiers into its army at the age of 16. That’s right, 16 years old and they are fighting in real and dangerous wars. The Ministry of Defense has actually stated that it’s goal is to “recruit people before they have made other lifestyle choices.”
In 2009, the MD in the UK released a line of hyper realistic toys called HM Armed Forces. Designed for children ages 4 to 9 years old, the idea is to implant these rolls at a young age with hopes to recruit more young soldiers.
For more information, or to watch Action Man: Battlefield Casualties, go to their website and find out how you can help.