Through a series of freak occurrences, a group of actors shooting a big-budget war movie are forced to become the soldiers they are portraying.
Action movie star Tugg Speedman is on the downslide of his professional career. He wants to be considered a serious actor, but his latest serious role as the title character in "Simple Jack" resulted in negative reviews and ridicule. Comedian Jeff Portnoy is best known for his leading roles in sophomoric comedies, and may be less well known for his rampant drug use. Five time Oscar winner Kirk Lazarus is a serious method actor, who immerses himself in whatever the role. On location in southeast Vietnam, they are the stars of "Tropic Thunder", based on Vietnam war veteran Four Leaf Taybacks memoirs of his rescue during the war, that rescue which was considered a near suicide mission for the assigned army force and resulted in him losing both hands. For his role, Caucasian Australian Lazarus even went through a controversial surgical skin dying procedure so that he could convincingly play a black man. Production is not going well since rookie director Damien Cockburn is unable to control the prima-donna attitude of his three stars. Cockburn and Tayback decide that the five primary actors - Speedman, Portnoy, Lazarus, rapper Alpa Chino, and newcomer Kevin Sandusky - need to work together as a unit as did their real life characters. The five are placed in the middle of the jungle, and with only a map and their prop machine guns in hand, are asked to work together to battle through the stunt pyrotechnics in their way. What none of the seven of them know is that they have been dropped into a real life drug war led by the Flaming Dragons. It isnt until Speedman is captured by the Flaming Dragons and tortured that they all realize that what they believed was make believe gunfire and land mines was actually real life. As the four actors try to figure out what to do concerning Speedmans situation, all five go through their own journey of self-discovery. Meanwhile, the movies megalomaniacal profanity spewing producer Les Grossman and Speedmans faithful agent Rick Peck argue about what to do about Speedmans situation. And Tayback inadvertently shows a little of his true self.
Sgt. Fourleaf Tayback is the author of the international best seller "Tropic Thunder" detailing his accounts of the Vietnam War. Now that book has been turned into a movie. Directed by first time director Damian Cockburn, the film stars veteran action hero Tug Speedman, multi - character comedy actor Jeff Portnoy, star of the "Fatties Fart II" (more famous for his off camera drug addiction arrests than his acting), and three time Oscar winner Kirk Lazarus (famous for his total immersion style of acting) - fresh off his most recent Cannes film festival smash. Rounding out the cast is character actor Kevin Sandusky and rapper Alpa Chino, who in his spare time, hawks an energy drink known as "Booty Sweat". When filming the movies climactic scene goes horribly awry with a pyromaniac blowing up the Vietnamese jungle side off camera, the films director, with convincing from executive producer Les Grossman, and Sgt. Tayback himself, decide to take the film in a much different direction. Now shooting the movie guerrilla style, the actors are taken deep in the jungle. There, Cockburn is killed by a landmine, and Speedman is kidnapped by ruthless drug lords who are enamored with his box office flop "Simple Jack". The rest of the crew then has to band together to save Speedman - who are convinced they are a real army. Can they overcome their differences to become a real military unit, save Speedman, and win best picture? Or will they face the wrath of their hot headed, foul mouthed, executive producer?