Sunday, May 10, 2009

Robo Rock (Taikan Suga, 2007)

Taikan Suga's Robo Rock (2007).

In a way, I think Robo Rock (2007) was just what I needed. I've been watching a lot of films lately, but I think being too focused on work has left me kind of numb to them and stopped me from really enjoying them. Watching Crazed Fruit (1956), directed by Ko Nakahira, just made me think that despite the film's history, it just wasn't very interesting to see a bunch of spoiled, disaffected brats try to deal with every day emotions. Mikio Naruse's When a Woman Ascends the Stairs (1960) left me as feeling as distant to the film as Hideko Takamine's character wanted to be to her clients, even though I did like the film. Seijun Suzuki's The Flowers and the Angry Waves (1964) almost bored me to death and it took me a whole lot of tries to get through it. I also watched a few pink films, Bitter Sweet (Mitsuru Meike, 2004), Empty Room (Toshiki Sato, 2001) and Tokyo X Erotica (Takahisa Zeze, 2001) and they all left me cold, wishing Artsmagic wouldn't have stopped releasing the films of Hisayasu Sato and Kazuhiro Sano a few years ago.

So this is when I popped Robo Rock in my player, a low-budget comedy about a loser named Masaru (Shun Shioya) who works as a handy-man, which means he's doing all kinds of odd jobs given to him by a mediator, in Masaru's case Ibume (Kenichi Endo). The jobs may include everything from stealing panties off of clotheslines to delivering drugs to South Americans. The latter is what gets Masaru into trouble. At the same time, a nerd named Nirasawa (Yuichiro Nakayama) who is obsessed with big machinery and robots in particular, is convinced that Masaru is the only one capable of commanding a giant robot named Land Zeppelin to protect the earth against an impending Saturnian invasion.

This all sounds stupid enough, so mentioning Masaru's girlfriend Kiriko (Minami) who's a tattoo artist with only one design and the horrible western actors playing drug dealers might not be neccessary, but inside all this stupidity is a very entertaining film. It doesn't matter that it seems to be stealing bits and pieces from other films to create a whole, that the acting isn't always top notch, or that they seem to have spent the entire budget on special effects in the last 10 minutes of the film, since the result is more than the sum of its components. Robo Rock is great fun and it has a giant transforming robot.