Saturday, January 3, 2009

Fall Guy (1982; Kinji Fukasaku)

Ah, Kinji Fukasaku, the man that brought us the almost painfully mainstream success here in the US, Battle Royale. There is nothing wrong with being mainstream or being Battle Royale, it is just more of that Dark Knight syndrome following it around. I shall leave the rest of my comments for my Battle Royale I & II review sometime in the future...

First off I don't know much about the history of this film, so I have no idea if it really was shot in black and white the first time around, however, the R1 copy of the film is in color, so those of you who flip out about not having color can calm down.

My summary for this piece will be a little longer than normal as I feel to better understand this film, you need a fuller history to it. Our lead (Yasu or something like that) is a bit player, meaning he is just one of those faceless guys in the movies (mostly samurai movies in this case) who gets thrown around. In this case, he is being thrown around by his idol, Ginshiro or something (I am bad with names). Part of the culture during this generation was that lead actors were like super stars, and their fans would pretty much do anything for them. Well, Ginshiro is losing his fans to another, younger lead actor (name is unimportant and forgotten by me) and ontop of this, the record setting stunt shot he was supposed to shoot (flipping a man down a 30 foot tall staircase) had been cut because no bit player or stuntman was brave enough to take the fall.

Then more tradegy strikes Ginshiro when he finds out his girlfriend has gotten pregnant. I shouldn't have to tell you, but just incase, that was a big no-no in Japan (as well as the US if it counts for anything). To help save his crumbling face, he asks (forces) Yasu to pretend to be the father of the child and to marry the girl. Yasu's love for Ginshiro (and his secret love for Ginshiro's girlfriend) lead him to say yes, which in return leads to him taking more dangerous rolls in films to pay for the extra mouths.

I don't know about you, but I find the story behind this film to be quite genius. Yasu is an optimistically pathetic character who his pushed around due to his nice demeanor. Ginshiro is a once powerful man who is becoming pushier as his downfall approaches. Whats-her-face is a woman torn between the father of her child (whom she also loves) and the man who is obviously willing to do anything to make her happy. Once you add into the mix the fact that every single character in this film is delibrately overacted (to the point where most lines are actually being screamed and not spoken) to mirror how extreme (and ludicrous) their devotions are, it quickly becomes a recipe for success.

Now I will briefly cover my other usual sections. The music is very catchy, especially the main song that opens up the film, which is never a bad thing. The camera is actually the only thing that remains "normal" among the absurdity of the film, which brings a wonderful sense that we (the camera representing us) are not as crazy as what we are seeing. The only reason I am not handing this film a perfect score is because I have only seen it once, and I never hand out 10's after only one viewing. Whenever I watch this film again, I might come back and edit the score as I see fit, but for now...

Score: 4.5/5

Notes: Movie about a Movie about a Movie.

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