Pinocchio 964, lobotomised cyborg sex slave, is thrown out onto the street by his owners because of his inability to maintain an erection. He is befriended by a criminally insane, ... See full summary »
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Pinocchio 964, lobotomised cyborg sex slave, is thrown out onto the street by his owners because of his inability to maintain an erection. He is befriended by a criminally insane, memory-wiped, homeless girl. Meanwhile, the corporate entity who manufactured and sold him plots to kill him because of his malfunction. Written by
Do Yourself A Favor Watch "Tetsuo" (1989) or "Rubber's Lover" (1996) Instead
Japanese cyberpunk horror is a hit-or-miss sub-genre. On the one hand we have highly entertaining movies like "Tetsuo: The Iron Man" (1989) and "Rubber's Lover" (1996), while on the other hand we have feats of mediocrity like "Hellevator" (2004) and "Meatball Machine" (2005) or poorly made crapfests like "Death Powder" (1986). Rest assured that "Pinocchio 964" safely rests within the category of "poorly made crapfest."
A woman meets a sex slave who is accidentally released into the outside world. The problem with this movie is quite simply this: there is too much time wasted on drawn-out, uninteresting, stupid, disgusting events. For example, the woman attempts to teach the slave how to speak by repeatedly saying "Pinocchio" dozens of times. She does this over and over and over again until the viewer is ready to shove a wooden nose through her forehead. In another scene, she walks around aimlessly while vomiting profusely. Nicely disgusting indeed, but did we really need to see her repeatedly throw up a dozen times? In yet another scene, good ole Pinocchio runs through the streets hysterically for an incredibly long period of time. Are you serious?
I understand and greatly appreciate the fact that Japanese cyberpunk throws away conventional, formulaic film-making standards and goes for a shot to the heart in terms of a no holds barred visual/audio assault on the senses. That's why I love "Tetsuo: The Iron Man" (directed by Shinya Tsukamoto) and "Rubber's Lover" (directed by Shozin Fukui, the same director of this film) they have boatloads of awesome, exceptionally cool visuals for the viewer to chew on. These aren't your typical "crazy" movies with characters acting stupid the entire time. On the contrary, you get wickedly stylish nightmare sequences that blend horrific technology with biological flesh; or Frankenstein-like awakening sequences with psychic antagonists fitted in black rubber suits. Every assault is handled with precision, lasting long enough to leave an impression without provoking irritation. These films are the very essence of successful experimental film-making. Breathtaking stuff!
Unfortunately, "Pinocchio 964" reminds us more of Tsai-ming Liang in its habit of shamelessly filming completely pointless, dull-as-dirt moments for incredibly long periods of time. The only difference is that where Tsai chooses to film a person peeing into a plastic bag for 5 minutes, Fukui chooses to film a woman vomiting profusely for 5 minutes. Both methods will incite record-setting levels of frustration and irritation on the part of the viewer. These types of films are not just poorly made by conventional standards, they're poorly made by ANY standard. Being weird (in and of itself) does not guarantee an entertaining film. "Pinocchio 964" serves to remind us of this.
I find it incredibly interesting how so many people fail to apply logical standards to films that fly outside conventional film-making techniques. It would seem that dramas and romances are the only genres of film where viewers go in with a defined set of standards (e.g., acting, story lines, etc.). Trot out a no-brain action movie, and everyone gets confused. Instead of everyone rating those films based on the quality of the action scenes (the only logical way to go), we get snobs trashing every no-brain action film in existence (regardless of how well the action is executed) while fans of the genre rate every movie highly (regardless of how badly the action is executed). In like manner, fans of Wuxia films will never admit that a Chinese swordplay movie made in the 1980s or early 1990s was poorly made, while fans of the Classics seem to think that every film made before 1970 is a "masterpiece." There is something seriously wrong with all of these people.
Am I the only living person on the planet who can be a fan of almost every genre of film while maintaining some semblance of quality control? It's really not that difficult to watch and love a Yasujiro Ozu film one night, only to then watch and love a Prachya Pinkaew movie the next night. Different standards apply, and while movie-watching is ultimately subjective, viewers would be wise to apply some semblance of standards in every genre. That way, we don't end up mixing garbage like "964 Pinocchio" or "Eraserhead" with truly scintillating fare like "Rubber's Lover" and "Tetsuo: The Iron Man."
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