The urban world of "Yup Yup Man" is a very dangerous place. Crazed robbers, carjackers and drug dealers almost always shoot their victims. Crime is more than rampant -- it's inescapable -- and rising to defend the innocent is a comic book-loving schizophrenic who recycles cans for a living.
A perplexingly shallow and therefore mildly inflammatory tract on the toll a violent world can have on a guy, "Yup Yup Man" premiered at the recent Dances With Films festival of underdog indies. In his feature debut, writer-director Glen Klinker is attuned only to the sensibilities of blinkered romantics.
Yup Yup Man (William Bumiller
) is named for his constant interior dialogue with voices. He twists, looks around, says "yup, yup" and generally doesn't pose a threat to anyone. Overflowing with opinions when he gets going, he has only two significant friends: Jack David
Bowe), a bartender, and Jillian (Jocelyn Seagrave
), a pretty lonelyheart who gets a charge out of Yup Yup's obvious devotion to her.
The lead is a fan of comic hero Dark Justice and longs to stop all those murderers and rapists he constantly hears about via TV news reports. In a strained series of scenes, Yup Yup and Jack create a costume that transforms the former into the "Caped Crusader". What happens next is that the film's disturbing moral cynicism, if not outright racist attitude, shows Yup Yup succeeding in stopping crime -- by killing the minority perpetrators on the spot.
He kills so many that the excited media and police believe there's a serial killer loose. Meanwhile, Yup Yup stops twitching and saying "yup, yup." He shaves, dresses better and starts seriously romancing Jillian. Instead of responsibly exploring the rather serious issues raised, however, the film's agenda turns into a fifth-rate crime thriller with the increased time spent on local thug Boxer (Matt Gallini
), a one-man platoon of death who shoots or ill uses everyone who crosses his path.
Klinker is an inept storyteller who assumes that cheap emotions will cover for the lack of logic, credibility and coherency. The connecting of Yup Yup with Boxer for the final rounds of bargain-basement mayhem is mighty strained. But it's the implied message that removing a few felons from the streets by any means necessary is an acceptable coming-of-age rite for schizophrenics, or anybody, that makes one leave the theater with a queasy feeling.
YUP YUP MAN
Screenwriter-director: Glen Klinker
Producers: Glen Klinker, Debi A. Monahan
Director of photography: Yoram Astrakhan
Production designers: Luke Freeborn
, Penny Barrett Carter
Editor: Eric Chase
Yup Yup Man: William Bumiller
Jack: David Bowe
Jillian: Jocelyn Seagrave
Boxer: Matt Gallini
Robert: Chase MacKenzie Bebak
Deb: Debi A. Monahan
Running time -- 89 minutes
No MPAA rating