Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Big Man Japan|
Actor: Riki Takeuchi
Director: Hitoshi Matsumoto
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy
BIG MAN JAPAN is an outrageous portrayal of an original superhero. As Big Man Japan, Daisato inherited the role of defending Japan against a host of bizarre monsters. He receives high-voltage electroshocks which transform ... more »
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Burgess Smith | Chicago, IL | 06/27/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Saw this at Facets in Chicago last night, and it was amazing. It's one of those movies that I want to show to all my friends.
Fair warning, DON'T WATCH THE US TRAILER. They should fire whoever was responsible for that. This is a CGI action movie the same way "This is Spinal Tap" is a 90-minute live recorded performance by U2. That is to say, it's not. 90% of Big Man Japan is shot in a documentary style and it has a hilarious "slow burn" style of humor that is just not evident from the trailer. If you're expecting slapstick and big monster fights, you'll get some of that but it's not what the movie is all about. It's very Christopher-Guest-ish, so think "Waiting for Guffman" or "Best in Show" (or again, "This is Spinal Tap").
I probably laughed harder at the ending to this movie than I did at anything all year, and I feel sorry for the people who didn't "get" it. Do yourselves a favor and watch some old tokusatsu like Ultraman or Spectreman before you see this. That is the genre that this movie is spoofing, so you should at the very least have a LITTLE familiarity with it. Beyond that, you don't need to be a huge Japanophile to love this, as the humor is pretty universal. This movie definitely earned its spot in my top 25 favorite comedies."
Beware the Big Man Japan!
Zack Davisson | Seattle, WA, USA | 04/28/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"If you aren't fairly familiar with modern Japanese comedy then you are probably going to miss a lot of what "Big Man Japan" has to offer. For example, "Downtown" is not a name that is going to mean much to most Americans, but they are a phenomenal comedy-duo that are incredibly influential and whose style dominates much of modern Japanese comedy. Think Monty Python's Flying Circus, The Second City Theatre, or Saturday Night Live.
"Big Man Japan" (Japanese title "Dai-Nipponjin" or "Giant Japanese Person") is "Downtown" member Matsumoto Hitoshi's big screen debut as both a staring actor and a director. Much of the humor is in his trademark style, and he brought along plenty of famous friends for cameos, although noticeably missing is his "Downtown" partner Masatoshi Hamada.
The film is done in a mockumentary-style, following the life of slacker Daisatou Masaru who has inherited his power to grow to an enormous size from his father and his now-senile grandfather, both who previously served as "Big Man Japan." Masaru draws a government salary to protect Japan from the various Godzilla-like monsters that attack from time to time, but his heart isn't really in it. The public mocks him and complains about the property damage and environmental aspects of his battles. His manager sells advertising space on his giant body. Things just aren't going well.
Most of the first part of the film is just following Masaru around, looking in on his daily life, dingy apartment and how he looks after his senile grandfather. When duty calls, however, he swells up to battle the monster-of-the-week (many of whom are the aforementioned cameos of famous friends), sometimes managing to beat the monster away but sometimes getting it handed to him. The final sequence goes to even more left-field, as Big Man Japan gets to live his dream by joining the Ultraman squad, and all pretense of story goes out the window.
All of the monsters are CGI, and they are intentionally done in a cheesy manner. Like the bad special effects on shows like "Saturday Night Live," much of the humor comes from how terrible and unrealistic the special effects are, and from seeing famous comedians morphed into giant versions of themselves. Other than these big flashes, the humor is done in a deadpan-style, and it isn't a fast-paced movie until the final payoff in the end.
I really enjoyed "Big Man Japan," but I think this is because I lived over in Japan for several years and am a huge fan of "Downtown." Like the film Takeshis, which also was cameo-ridden, this just isn't something that was made for the overseas market, and I think if I was seeing it cold then I wouldn't have enjoyed it. Fans of pure absurdity will probably get a kick out of it, and people who enjoy a good man-in-suit giant monster movies like The Super Robot Red Baron and All Monsters Attack might find something good here too. Otherwise, it is probably going to be a snoozer for you.
I laughed a lot, and don't even know the references; worth s
K. Swanson | Austin, TX United States | 02/11/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"As other reviewers here have stated, this is largely a satire on certain genres of Japanese film, and it helps to know those references. But even as one who's seen a pretty small amount of Japanese film (except Kurosawa, a true genius), I still found it slyly funny during the many slow character-driven parts, and incredibly stupidly hilarious during the fight scenes.
Even if you get bored with the satire of the superhero's daily life (it is indeed very dry wit and meant for those with enough intellect to not demand a new fight every two minues), simply fast forward to the half dozen fight scenes, which are among the most insanely goofy visual weirdness I've ever seen, and I've seen plenty. They mock the monster genre while simultaneously glorying in the splendid silliness of the whole concept. Plus, the monsters are some of the weirdest creatures you will ever see. Just looking at them is funny, but watching them fight the bored superhero is a whole new type of laugh.
This comedy turns all sorts of ideas on their heads and exposes the idiocy of not only fanboys and cultists but also the selfishness of modern people, whatever culture they're from.
Highly recommended for those with imagination, and those who can laugh at their own preconceptions.
And remember, even if you get bored, make sure to ff to the fight scenes. They get better and better as they go, and the ending is a cracker."
More to it than meets the eye
Scott Banks | Atlanta, GA USA | 08/08/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I missed this movie when it played in Atlanta, but was glad to get it on DVD. The comments by several people who have lived in Japan are enlightening, and made the movie even funnier for me. But you don't have to know the inside jokes to enjoy it.
Now the part everyone talks about...the ending. It made the movie have so many more levels of meaning, politically, historically and even as a comment on Kaiju films in general. To some extent it is a parody of a "coming of age" film as well, but in a twisted way, because sometimes the things we aspire to look great from the outside, but once you attain them, they seem false and lose their luster.
Therefore, like an exclamation point used on an expletive in writing, it is completely necessary for it to make such a drastic twist at the end to avoid becoming just another japanese giant monster movie. Though it is extremely entertaining, this is film more as an art form than the typical Hollywood big-studio dribble currently spoon fed to audiences. Whether you like it or not, it will probably make you stop and think, "What the heck was that?" ("Think" being the important word in the last sentence.)
BTW, don't buy the idea they ran out of money at the end. Movies usually aren't made in a linear fashion. We just watch them that way.
Ah. I'm probably just reading too much into it. Great movie anyway."