Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Movies; Miami Connection, Big Man Japan.

Miami Connection (1987)

Miami Connection is the result of several different movie plots thrown into a blender with about 200 mg of Tramadol. You only vaguely understand what's happening at any one moment, your mind can only concentrate on one detail at a time and you'll find yourself giggling madly when you probably shouldn't. There are two kinds of b-movie; those that keep you attentive and on your toes, and those that take you by the hand meaning to lead you somewhere, but they forget where're exactly it is they're going. Miami Connection is most definitely the latter. That doesn't make it a woeful film though, this is a great piece of b-movie action and like I've said a million times and to a million people; if you want Scorsese, go watch Scorsese. Don't buy a burrito and get disappointed when it doesn't taste like oyster. 

To go into the entire plot of this film would be to read a child's essay about what they did on their Summer holidays, so it's best to keep to the general outline. A popular pop rock band called Dragon Sound are making waves on the Miami club scene with their catchy tunes and on-stage Tae Kwon Do, but not everyone is so eager to join the party. A rival band want Dragon Sound gone so that they can reclaim their place as the house band for a popular Miami night club and  they employ the services of gangsters and a Miami ninja motorcycle gang to ensure that Dragon Sound never play in the town again. Unfortunately for the rival band, as one of them mentions about Dragon Sound; "They're all black belts in Tae Kwon Do and they're pretty BAD".


As far as stand out performances go; Y.K Kim (Mark) is the perfect lead man. He has little to no acting ability, is mostly stone-faced for the entire film and performs some of the best martial arts magic I've seen in a while. All of those qualities make him the perfect b-movie hero.

This film is essentially an emotionally charged Sega Megadrive's Streets of Rage and even though the plot seems to stumble, fall and vomit all over itself, the action is the perfect chaser. The original soundtrack is completed by fantastic, cheesy nu-wave songs about martial arts, friendship and tough guys, all performed by Angelo Janotti, Kathy Collier and the Lloyd-Richards Band. I'd highly recommend this film to any action fan or anyone who has a six pack of Tuborg and nothing to do for 83 minutes. 

Big Man Japan (2007)

Japanese movies, no matter what genre they adhere to, can always be quite hard to follow. There's a style of story telling there that confuses, bewilders and infatuates the Western audience. What's beautiful about the Japanese film is that there's very little, if any, Westernization in their stories and production. They celebrate and parody their own culture and though that approach can't possibly lead to a generalizable product, do they really need to try and sell themselves to the rest of us? Nope. The Japanese are not known for dispensing many fucks, never have been. That's why we love them.

Big Man Japan, even by Japanese standards, is bizarre beyond words. The story follows a middle-aged man known as "The King of Pain", as he defends Tokyo on live television against Dali-esc mutants by transforming himself into a 30-foot giant. A lot of the film details the man's downtime, his relationship with his daughter, his hobbies and the squalor in which he lives. We find out that, besides having the ability to completely obliterate everything in his path, The King is actually a very mild-mannered, shy and socially awkward man who still doesn't feel as though he has found his purpose in life. 

It is essentially a deadpan comedy, half mockumentary, half CGI madness. Like a lot of Japanese comedy, there are moments where you can't resist laughing at how formal the dialogue is and how meek the characters are, even if they're supercharged mutants stomping their way through Tokyo. As funny as the movie can be, there are also a lot of very surreal scenes that create an inexplicable discomfort. It's hard to tell whether or not the film wants to be a stone-faced comedy or an art house exploration of Japanese nationalism and commodification. As the Takashi Miike worshiping dungeon prick that I am, I wanted to try and understand this film, but I simply couldn't. All in all, I'd recommend this film to anyone patient with a high-tolerance for silliness.

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