Tokyo Drift, fast and roaring, Quick Five, Fast & Furious 6And F9 have one thing in common besides having Win Diesel in it (even if it’s for a cameo) — it’s all directed by Justin Lin. Lin’s leads the most Fast & Furious franchise films, followed only by Louis Leterrier, who will return for the untitled Fast X sequel. It’s safe to say Lin knows how to convey to an excited crowd. But you won’t find its best action sequences in any of those movies. Way back in the day when cult TV shows Public being in its first season, Lin directed three episodes, including the epic “Modern Warfare”.

Dan Harmons‘S Public ran into issues throughout its lifetime, with episodes pulled from scheduling, overall Chevy chase situation, and was canceled by NBC but later brought back by the defunct Yahoo! Screen streaming service. None of those setbacks have affected its quality (well, maybe a bit of Season 4) or its passionate following. The famous phrase ever uttered by Abed (DaniPudi), “six seasons and a movie” was turned into a fanbase’s cry for the final film—and now it’s a reality. Part of what makes it great are the jokes—the Halloween episode, the alternate timeline, and “Troy and Abed in the Morning,” among others. “Modern Warfare” begins very specifically Public tradition: paintball war episode.


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What Happens in “Modern Warfare”?

Community Cast in Episode 23 of 'Modern Warfare'
Image via NBC

After a cold opening, Lin’s signature direction begins as Jeff (Joel McHale) wakes up from a car nap, finds the campus looking abandoned post-apocalyptic. The brief attack lets him know that the school has been turned upside down due to a paintball war. Abed (Pudi) and Troy (Donald Glover) explain why this happened: the main prize is priority registration for the next semester.

Lin works within the confined space of the school’s classrooms, hallways and bathrooms with shots that convey anxiety and tension. After they got together with Pierce (Chase), Britta (Gillian Jacobs), Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown), and Ani (Alison Bri), they dare to open the land. A fight with the glee club leaves several victims (Troy, Pierce and Annie), making it clear that nowhere is safe.

When Shirley’s motivation for winning is revealed to be able to spend more time with her children, the remaining players Abed and Britta agree to give up the prize, only for Jeff refusing to do so. A short but effective fight ensues when the disco performers enter the cafeteria, the group’s sanctuary. Dynamic angles show how agile and ruthless people are on wheels. Abed and Shirley ended up being dramatically eliminated from the game.

How Did the Paintball Wars End?

Ken Jeong as Chang in Community
Image via NBC

During the episode’s cold open, everyone looks annoyed with Jeff and Britta for their constant flirtatious bickering, which they think they should get past, as they lack chemistry and it’s just not funny. Being the only survivors in the group, the pair end up in the library healing Jeff from his actual wounds. They finally perfected the sexual tension that had built up since the pilot episode. But before Britta could decide whether or not to betray Jeff, Chang (Ken Jung) enters the room as the Dean (Jim Rash) sent him to end the war.

Lin’s slow-motion shot depicts how Britta and Chang shoot each other down and how Chang’s defeat only makes him stronger by activating a suicide bomb that nearly hits Jeff. After escaping, Jeff angrily confronts the Dean, and shoots him to make it clear he won. Jeff emerges victorious from the war and the priority registration prize. He ends up giving Shirley the gift, and the last shot shows Abed confused because “something has changed” (Britta and Jeff’s relationship).

Joel McHale and Gillian Jacobs as Jeff and Britta in Community.
Image via NBC

Lin’s work on Community is a limited contribution of three episodes. In addition to “Modern Warfare”, she directed “Interpretive Dance”, in which Britta and Troy perform some very different dance moves and “Introduction to Statistics”, the first traditional Halloween episode of the series, in which Annie throws a Día De Los Muertos party for her Spanish class. .

It is “Modern Warfare” that stands out, thanks to its action sequences and homages to several action films. It’s mostly a Die Hard tribute, with Jeff in his white tank top fighting the bad guys. But other movies are also included and smoothed over in many scenes: Jeff wakes up in the middle of a zombie apocalypse like in 28 days laterAbed plays a Terminators/Riddick hybrid as he saves Jeff, Britta, and Chang going head-to-head à la Matrixand Shirley reading Bible verses to remind Save Private Ryanif only they shot people on roller skates too.

With “Modern Warfare,” Justin Lin directed one of them Publicbest episodes. In it, he combines the best of Public with his ability to compose action scenes. It’s a tapestry of homage to action classics, not only for the sake of the homage, but also to weave the storyline of the competition at Greendale Community College. Whatever your opinion on fast and roaring franchise, Lin’s talent is undeniable, and this episode of Community is a testament to what a director can do best.

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