It's a question how much of an impression that Monty Python made in Japan overall but it certainly seems to be an influence on Kitano's latest work. Certainly Terry Gilliam's signature title graphics for Life of Brian and Meaning of Life are alluded to in this film.
The film starts as the narrator gives an account on how Kitano's newest film is coming along. Since Kitano is uncomfortable with the genres of Romance and family drama, these films are abandoned and he is given some action fare to work with. The results are less than satisfactory so it's decided to have Kitano direct an asteroid on collision with earth film. This takes us about 45 minutes into the real film and at this point things get very strange. A mother and daughter (the mother has a giraffe doll on her back and the daughter has a goose puppet on one arm) decide to not pay for a bowl of noodles by dropping a cockroach (that they carry around for just an occasion) into the food and complaining to the chef. But before they can complain, a bunch of professional wrestlers at another table complain about roaches in their food. The two chefs come out and beat up the wrestlers. Kitano plays an assistant to a weird chairman of a society that's devoted to performing odd acts of charity. The chairman's son looks a lot like the Mr. Gumby character from Monty Python.
Kitano speaks very little in this film. Mostly he is silent and immobile much like the metal doll that stands in for him during the fight sequences. Once we get into the second half, he loosens up especially during his pantomime comedy bits. The film seems like it's a statement about being an aging film maker in the Japanese entertainment world. Unfortunately, for me the pacing was very slow at times and could have had a good 10 minutes cut out without losing any content. I laughed at some of the film but by the end I was wondering if the film was just Kitano screwing around with ideas.
I enjoyed watching this film but I have a had time recommending it to anyone but Kitano fans.
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