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A misfit high-school science teacher decides to build his own atomic bomb. He steals isotopes from a nuclear reactor and manages to create two warheads, but at the same time is present at a botched school-bus hijacking and is publicly coronated as a hero. Nevertheless, he uses the bombs to extort the police, first by demanding that baseball games be shown without commercial interruptions and then by having the Rolling Stones play in Japan despite their drug bust. Soon it's a race to see what wins first: the determined cop who's after him, the bomb he's carrying, or a burgeoning case of radiation poisoning... Written by
At one point when Kenji Sawada is fending off the nuclear plant workers, the sound effects are taken from the video game Supêsu Inbêdâ (1978) which was enjoying massive success in Japan at the time of the movie's release. The movie begins and ends with exactly the same sound: a ticking clock, and then an explosion. See more »
[Phoning in a bomb threat]
I'm going to return what I stole -- although I'm going to return in a slightly different form.
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A highschool science teacher decides to make an atomic bomb in his apartment. The opening half hour of this movie is erratic, making it difficult to predict where the story is going or what will ultimately happen. A nice blend of dark thrills and black humor is what makes this one special. It juxtaposes tonal shifts in convincing fashion. The protagonist is an unorthodox mad scientist who is very likable and charismatic. There are some very interesting sequences in this, like the lengthy plutonium experiments and bomb construction. Most of the film is realistic but even the more wildly, intentionally unrealistic moments are entertaining in their craziness. There are also some subtleties that one will miss if they are not paying close attention. Performances are great and the ending is ballsy.
Some of the criticisms that I've read for this film have annoyed me. It's like most of the negative reviews are coming from people who are demanding that every element of the film be easily categorized into tiny little boxes of familiarity and traditional filmmaking styles. Take the protagonist's philosophy as one example. We get a very good feel for his character throughout the film. He's an unhinged yet likable science teacher, but according to some critics he's apparently not "properly developed" because he doesn't come out and tell everyone exactly why he made the bomb. Well, why does he need a reason anyway? I thought one of the points of the film was that he didn't know what to do with the bomb after he made it. He even asks the radio DJ to poll her listeners so he can get some ideas! Come on, people. Did you really want him to make a long-winded nationalistic or philosophical speech at the end? I'm glad he didn't. In fact, I find it thought-provoking and refreshing that I have difficulty identifying exactly why he did it. And guess what? That was probably the WHOLE POINT OF THE MOVIE!
Another ridiculous criticism is one of those oft-parroted dumb ones that I'll never understand. Due to the black humor and unrealistic moments, there are tonal shifts throughout. Of course, viewers who need their movies carbon-copied in Hollywood fashion will have a problem with this because "the movie doesn't know what it wants to be." Yeesh! Okay, do you really want every movie to be easily categorized as a "comedy" or a "drama" or a "thriller"? Do you really want every movie to be easily categorized as "realistic" or "unrealistic"? Sure, let's just eliminate genre-benders all together and we'll be left with a bunch of boring, predictable films. But at least we can feel good about ourselves because then we can properly categorize them into tiny little boxes. Listen people, the tonal shifts are one reason this film is fun to watch. The same is true with the wild shifts between realism and unrealism. The final half-hour (that everyone complains about) gave me more surprises than the last three dozen "single genre" films I've seen recently.
This film refuses to limit itself, and that's why it's so entertaining and impressive.
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