Sunday, May 13, 2007

Unlucky Monkey (1998)

Why isn't director Sabu more well known? Every movie of his I've seen is "Top 10 favorite movies of all time" worthy for me. The most popular thing he's ever done was an acting part in "Ichi the Killer". That's a shame because "Unlucky Monkey" is a way better movie on so many levels! For those of you unfamiliar with him, Sabu's films mix dark humor, screwed-up drama, ironic situtations, philosophy, and some bloody action/violence. Also his stories are not linear, as in it doesn't follow the "plot A to plot B, the end" formula. Rather, the entire movie starts with a character who's one action triggers a continous unpredictable chain reaction that eventually snowballs into an over-the-top strange moment. In the case of "Unlucky Monkey", this chain reaction starts off with a bank robbery. Only 1 of the 3 robbers survives and gets away with the crime. This one survivor accidentally kills a woman though as he ran like hell with a knife in hand. He never got caught for the murder either but his guilt gets the best of him, giving him depressing psychological turmoil as he tries to rationalize the whole ordeal. Somehow his path crosses with some yakuzas that were in some pretty deep shit. You have to discover the ironic twists of fate and how these characters coincide with one another on your own because all the fun is in seeing the unpredictable mess of a life these guys have unfold and crash. Sure there is a decent amount of bleeding throughout the film thanks to gun violence, even a guy's crotch get shot, but don't expect a non-stop Jon Woo style gunfest. A large percentage of this movie's strength is from the philosophy explored in a very natural way that anyone alive can relate to, not just some pretentious scholars. If you haven't seen a Sabu film yet, this ones a good one to start off with.

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