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West Side Story meets Rumble in the Bronx meets A Clockwork Orange. Bizarre tale of London, a lonely teen yearning for affection and a leather jacket who lives in a dysfunctional family home where the mother keeps popping and sexually playing with her other child, X-Ray, a member of a gang of Mods who are constantly at war with a gang of Asian Bikers. Amidst this turmoil, London and her soul mate M16 search for meaning in a phantasmagoria without it. Written by
Michael Dumanis <email@example.com>
Not Moritsugu's best film, but it's one of my favorites of his.
It's difficult to write a review for a Jon Moritsugu film. Mod F-ck Explosion is an easy film to examine though. One thing I have always appreciated about Jon Moritsugu's work is that, even at his most grotesque, he still manages to craft a pretty radical world. Take Mod F-ck Explosion, for example. This film has no plot to speak of, but has slight hints of thematically inclined references to West Side Story. The film takes place in a futuristic punk surface coated landscape. Most of the characters appear to be Asian and most of the characters are in gangs. We have a drifter, London, whose family life is disturbingly dysfunctional and perverted. She yearns for a leather jacket, though our purposefully badly comically dubbed biker gang will be more than happy to comply if she cooperates with them first. The film's climax is inevitable, yet it somehow comes out of nowhere at the same time. The dark tone that the film adopts can only lend itself to tragedy, and the tragic parts are where the picture comes off the strongest. This avant-garde experimental science fiction picture comes off like a combination of an early Gregg Araki picture and Liquid Sky, although the early films of Gregg Araki were inspired by Jon Moritsugu, so I guess this balances that out, although I'd say Gregg Araki went a little too over the edge in his inspiration by including footage from Moritsugu's own film Hippy Porn (1991) into his gay teenage angst satire Totally F***ed Up (1993). Regardless, if you are a newcomer to the films of Jon Moritsugu, Mod F-ck Explosion is probably not a good starting point. To be perfectly honest, I don't really know which film of his they could start with since they are all so bizarre, but Mod F-ck Explosion is definitely not the one.
One of the things that I found interesting while watching this film was the overall hilarity in the misery of everyone. Every character in this film is stoned out of their minds, but there's something genuinely hilarious about it in this film. The actors don't strain for laughs, but the director does. What is interesting is that in a way you can see the battle between choice over direction between the actors and the naturalness of the plot. This could have only been intentional, obviously, but it's one of the funnier things I've seen from a film of this type. What's more, the introductory scenes of these characters is just simply amazing, even the more insignificant characters. I think what makes it so enjoyable is that these characters hardly even change their behavior. They stay the same, and so you know that the film won't head toward any sort of ultimate betrayal mixed with soap opera trickery to pull off it's story. The film just ditches that and instead floods the screen with dingy, dark, grimy, and colorful imagery that is both ugly and over-the-top. It's satisfying to see a film like this that goes in this direction and opts for satisfying details like this rather than ditching all charismatic charm. The characters suck, and yet I love them for this reason.
Perhaps the strangest thing about this film though, at least for me, is that I found the personal plight of the London character to be strangely easy to relate to and it's for this reason that this film deserves more credit. Perhaps this says more about me personally than it does for the film, but any film that can touch me like this film does is gold in my mind. Make no mistake, not many people are going to get much out of this. The over-the-top comedy and disturbing gruesome violence are not going to be too involving for anyone expecting a serious film, but this film transcends artistic storytelling and goes far into total detached derangement that is as goofy and shocking as ever, but also is not without honesty. The film is full of life and of urban decay, and it celebrates trash film-making as what artistic freedom can sometimes represent. Obviously the film is full of itself, but how can it not be when it completely defines what ugly film-making and rebellious angst can amount to? There's just too much of the same out there for me to not love this film. I think it's probably the worst film that Moritsugu has ever done, it's also his most rebellious and his least personal. And yes there is a dream sequence set in a meat garden constructed of eight hundred pounds of rotting flesh, just like the DVD cover promises.
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