If you're starting to get burnt out on Hollywood superhero movies, then take a chance and step into a theater showing "Big Man Japan". While the basic premise may remind you of last years Will Smith's down and out hero "Hancock", "Big Man Japan" moves far away from the Hollywood formula and delivers a sentimental superhero story smothered in strange.
Hitoshi Matsumoto is the co-writer, director and star of "Big Man Japan" and he shares his unique vision with a deadpan delivery that makes you laugh and yet ultimately feel sorry for Japan's current generation of hero. The movie is told from a low-budget handheld camera perspective, where a reality TV camera crew follows around "Big Man Japan" in his civilian identity during his off time.
The slow pacing is a bit erratic, and at first you may wonder just what the point of the movie is about, as we're exposed to the dull, monotonous and lonely life of this seemingly un-ambitious slacker type, who fills his day with hanging out in parks, eating Super Noodles, and tending to one of his many cats in his worn down apartment. And then our hero gets a call, and it's off to the action, as fast as his underpowered moped will take him.
In Big Man Japan's world, there's a never-ending stream of ridiculous monsters that come out of the woodwork to mess with the cities of Japan, and whereas in years before, defending the country gained the hero's grandfather fame, wealth and respect, the modern day hero receives taunts and disdain from the public, who can barely be bothered to tune into the late-night broadcasts that depict Big Man Japan's latest battles.
Once the action kicks in and we meet "Big Man Japan" in all his glory, the film throws at us a traditional "Godzilla" like fight scenes with computer generated menaces that are as funny as they are strange. For example there's the Strapping Monster, a bizarre monster that looks like a segmented worm with a man's face and a comb-over. And then the dreaded Stink Monster that "Big Man Japan" tries to stop from loitering in a downtown section, only to wrestle with the stink monsters over-excited mate.
If you need to satisfy your smug intellectual side, you can look at the cultural commentary interwoven into "Big Man Japan", and debate with your enlightened friends about the meaning of the Red faced devil that seems to wear down Japan's hero and argue that its supposed to represent Japan's own political rivals of China or North Korea, but then that would lead into further discussion about the role of the shiny red, white and blue descendants from the "Ultraman" family that step into the movie's closing scenes to save the day. Or you could just sit back and enjoy the lo-fi wrestlers in rubber suit antics that the movie de-evolves to; bringing you back to the days of the creature double features, where you can have a laugh at the imported insanity and enjoy the ride. In any case it's worth sticking around through the credits where our last glimpse of "Big Man Japan" is as the unfortunate guest caught in the middle of
the weirdest family dinner scene you'll see in a movie this year.
Glad that there's room for movies like "Big Man Japan" in our country for Movie Magazine, this is Purple.
© 2009 - Purple - Air Date: 5/27/09
Movie Magazine International
Movie Magazine International