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The Calamari Wrestler (2004)

Ika resuraa (original title)
A championship wrestling match pits Koji Taguchi against Crush Volcano, the latter no match to Koji's signature move, the Torture Ring Strangler. Koji beams as he clutches the champion belt... See full summary »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Kana Ishida
Nobuo Kameko
Osamu Nishimura ...
The Calamari Wrestler
Akira Nogami ...
The Octopus Wrestler
...
Sister
Yoshihiro Takayama ...
Himself
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Storyline

A championship wrestling match pits Koji Taguchi against Crush Volcano, the latter no match to Koji's signature move, the Torture Ring Strangler. Koji beams as he clutches the champion belt, only to have it snatched away by a mysterious new challenger in the ring - a giant squid, in fact, who not only evades Koji's key attack, but destroys him with a Northern Light Suplex! Koji's fiancÃf©e Niako watches tearfully, though there's something about this calamari wrestler that seems familiar... The Tentacle Tackler is the hottest story in the Japanese sports news, the President ofthe Cho-Nippon wrestling team proposes a fixed match as a publicity stunt, but the honourable Calamari Wrestler will hear nothing of it. Wrongfully banned from the sport, he retreats to the Monhonji Temple to train and meditate, where a young reporter tracks him down and begins to unravel his enigma. But the Squid's problems are just beginning - treacherous businessmen, unrequited love, and the wrestling ring ... Written by the_real_sara_marshall

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Comedy

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13 May 2005 (USA)  »

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The Calamari Wrestler  »

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Did You Know?

Quotes

Ring Announcer: Ladies and gentleman, we are not underwater! This is really happening!
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Connections

Spoofs Karate Bullfighter (1977) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Calamari Wrestler is Ridiculous Fun
6 December 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Ridiculous; that's the only way to describe this movie. The costumes, the fights, the whole premise- utterly ridiculous. And that's exactly what the filmmakers intended. If the name alone didn't tell you that something is up, then you probably don't speak English. Not that any of the people here does either, because The Calamari Wrestler is from, where else, Japan.

This is the kind of production that only the Japanese could make. The storyline is actually quite familiar. Mysterious outsider with skills like no-one has seen before enters the ring, set on winning the championship and the girl of his dreams. Pretty standard- except that the wrestler is a giant squid! Yes, in the pre-title scene, following the championship bout of Japan's premier wrestling league, a giant squid appears from nowhere and defeats the new champion.

But this isn't just any old piece of Calamari; this is Kan-ichi Iwata, former champion who was forced to retire with a terminal illness. Now he's returned to claim his title. He also hopes to reconnect with his former girlfriend Miako, who's now dating his rival Koji Taguchi. I don't think I need to tell you how this boy-girl-squid love triangle turns out.

For the first half of the film, everything builds up towards the big rematch to determine who will hold the title belt. The match, when it comes, features a hilarious twist, and it's not over yet. Iwata's spot at the top is now threatened by an even more formidable opponent; the utterly merciless Squilla Boxer. Can the Calamari wrestler keep his title with the help of a former foe? And what's up with his promoter? These and many other questions which you may not have will be answered in the riotously funny ending, which I admit I had not completely anticipated.

Now this may sound like the kind of schlock fest where the writers count on the characters to get laughs because of what they are, rather than what they do. You know, the kind of thing that seems like a high school play, where you'd enjoy it more if you were close friends with the actors. But that's not how this turned out at all. Out of all the approaches the filmmakers could have taken to the humor, they chose to do it completely deadpan. Every scene is played entirely strait, and I can't imagine how the actors kept from cracking up.

Another thing that the filmmakers have done an outstanding job of is parodying the 'sport' of pro wrestling. Every aspect is lampooned here, from the outsize egos of the wrestlers, to the execs' obsession with ratings and merchandising revenue, to the wacky, scripted story lines. Considering some of the matches that the WWE has set up in the past few years, maybe guys fighting each other while dressed as marine life is the next big thing.

The fans don't escape the treatment either. In numerous interviews they come off as hopelessly devoted to their idols in the ring. Especially hilarious is the newscast from the market Iwata frequents, in which the shop owners do everything they can to cash in on the buzz surrounding him. At the same time, the movie's surprisingly honest about the blood lust that drives many fans. Comparisons with This is Spinal Tap may not be far-fetched. The Calamari Wrestler certainly isn't at the same level as that classic mockumentary, but it's a highly entertaining comedy in its own right.


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