Saturday, July 18, 2015

Death Kappa (2010)

After getting some complaints about not covering enough Japanese giant monster films, I decided to give you all what you wanted. See? It's totally made in Japan. Still not happy because what you really wanted was for me to go do some more old ones? Well, tough, I'm doing this one and you'll just have to suck it up. So, Death Kappa.

There's a kappa in it. Also, death. No false advertising here.

If you don't know what kappa are, let me explain it a bit. Basically, these are creatures from Japanese folklore that resemble turtles that might've done the nasty with human at some point to bring these things into existence. The Ninja Turtles got mistaken for them in their third film. Essentially they existed as a sort of boogeyman story to keep kids from drowning while screwing around near water. Apparently they also were known to rape women.

Because dolphins really needed the competition.
Mostly they're known for being tricksters though, making them sort of like the Gremlins' much stranger cousins. Now, how does one take a trickster creature from Japanese folklore and turn it into a kaiju movie I won't soon be forgetting? Why, you give it to a guy who worked on some Gamera films and Ultraman, of course! But, enough build-up, let's get on with it before Terry Gilliam sics God on me.

"I've got my eye on you...and everyone else too. I'm omniscient. I see a lot of naked people."
The movie opens with a narrator speaking in Japanese. This is odd, as I am watching a dubbed copy and there are no subtitles. Yeah, I was a bit confused. Especially when they narrator ended up being a guy who is whiter than me who happens to speak perfect Japanese. Well, I think it's perfect, but what do I know? I don't speak Japanese. I barely speak English, for fuck's sake. The fact that I can wipe my own ass remains a miracle that not even Jesus could topple with his fancy parlor tricks. Anyway, after the narrator says some things I can't understand (because I keep forgetting to check if this even has subtitles), the credits roll and we see our main character, Kanako, a former Japanese idol who is on her way home.

Wait, there are Japanese people in this movie? What the hell?!
As she departs the bus and walks through her hometown we see her greeting locals who look strangely like yokai (essentially, Japanese mosnters that aren't of the giant variety). One guy literally has a tiny face on his face. I don't know about you, but I really want to visit this place. On her way to her grandmother's house we see flashes of some young drunk drivers partying in a fast car and...yep, we know where this is going. She sees her grandma, they both get really happy, then grandma gets hit by the Japanese versions of the bullies from The Toxic Avenger.

I'm just shocked her head wasn't replaced with a watermelon for the scene.
They end up driving off, figuring it'll all work itself out, and the grandma dies in her granddaughter's arms while asking her to protect the kappa. I can only assume she means the tiny shrine with a statue in it that the drunk assholes also run into, knocking it into the sea. Well, Kanako has already failed her grandmother and we're not even fifteen minutes in. That's pretty impressive. Of course, the statue in the shrine becomes a real kappa and now we've got ourselves a title monster. Kanako goes back to the house, changing into a shrine robe, vowing that she's super serious about honouring her grandma by fulfilling her last request.

You know, the one she failed already.
But, through sheer dumb luck (and plot convenience) the kappa ends up finding its way to her, where she and her goofy friend (and what I can only assume is his little brother) learn that it really likes her songs she recorded when she was an idol. Thus, they all befriend the kappa and there's a playful montage of them all having good times together. hey, what ever happened to those drunk assholes who killed her grandma? Well, they end up partying out in some remote area that looks straight out of a horror movie and, what do you know? A horror movie finds them! Yes, the boyfriends get pretty brutally murdered by some things we can't really clearly see while the girls end up getting tased by some mysterious men in black with shades.

Here come the Men in Black! Tasing all the drunk girls (oahhaooohh ohhhhh)! Something something words here!
I guess the kappa isn't the only one out to violate women in this feature. Actually, the kappa has seemed rather less rapey and more like Sigmund the Sea Monster. Sure, it's still ugly, but it's still just a big ol' sweetheart. And apparently the Men in Black here and the even more mysterious Woman in Trenchcoat really want to catch the kappa. Kanako manages to save her friend but ends up being captured herself where she learns the secret behind these sharply dressed people with tasers. They're actually people who've been experimenting with mummified kappa DNA to create creatures to do their bidding via remote control. Trenchcoat lady is the granddaughter of a scientist who started this up during WWII and her and her friends here have been keeping the crazy dream alive all these years.

Oh, and I think she's been fucking her dead grandpa too. There's that.
The girls they took earlier have been altered into fish women (which hasn't really resulted in anything more than causing them to just cry about it really hard) and it turns out they're planning to do the same thing to Kanako. Luckily for her the kappa ain't having any of that, as it shows and starts wrecking shit. But the other creatures prove too strong for him until Kanako gets loose and destroys the controller, causing the creatures to all seize and fall over. Crazy trenchcoat lay decides everyone sucks so the conveniently available atomic bomb they just so happen to have lying around is a better option. Thus, the island blows up and out of the water pops a giant monster...that isn't a kappa.

It looks like a Chinese parade dragon vomited all over Godzilla.
What follows is a lengthy sequence which is basically a long drawn-out send-up of kaiju films, complete with toy planes and tanks, fleeing people, dolls standing in for people, and...a strangely effeminate fighter pilot with eyeshadow and a scarf?

Say what you will about his flying, but at least he looks fabulous!
Finally, when it seems like all hope is lost, the kappa shows up to fuck up this monster's steez, as he's all atomic powered now. They battle and Death Kappa (no, really, they call him that) comes out victorious which makes everyone rather happy. That is, until Death Kappa then begins destroying everything much more thoroughly that the other monster, leaving everyone pretty well buggered. But wait, there on that building...is that...could it be...? Kanako is alive? How the ever-loving Jesus dildonic engineered Christ is she alive? The entire island blew up in an atomic explosion! But there she is, alive and well. She then sings to the Death kappa, calming it as it loses it's red eyes and reverts to its more derpy look. She waters his head plate and he heads out in to the ocean while everyone happily bids it farewell, stating they all learned a valuable lesson. What lesson was that? I have no idea. All that I learned is that apparently the narrator was hiding in the war room the entire time.

I love that they're as confused as I am about him being there.
This movie was incredibly confusing in parts and often felt like it wasn't quite sure what direction it wanted to go in. Sometimes it felt like a light-hearted children's film and other times it felt like a surreal Grindhouse flick about Japanese Nazis who want to take over America with mutant creature made from kappa DNA. When the kaiju part begins, it feels so out of nowhere that I honestly found myself shocked, as I had come to the conclusion beforehand that the movie was wrongly classified as a kaiju film. The kaiju sequence itself goes on far too long as well, which would be my major complaint. Why waste so much time featuring a monster that we don't really care about? We want the Death Kappa, dammit! But when we get the giant kappa, it's fun seeing the two fight and I loved the irony of the heroic monster turning out to be far more destructive.

I like to imagine he's just showing his love in a very painful way.
While I had heard some people say this movie was bad, honestly I couldn't bring myself to hate it. Yes, it's confusing and weird and cheesy and I really loved every bit. Well, maybe no the entire sequence with the other monster. Where did that other monster come from anyway? Was it supposed to be one of the other creatures who was mutated into a Godzilla-like monster? Eh, who cares? This movie is ridiculous and over the top, which makes it right up my alley. You might not love it, but I can promise that if you give this a go then you most definitely will not walk away saying that it bored you. Boring isn't in this film's vocabulary. So, until Danny Devito gets an atomic bomb dropped on him and Charlie Day has to pilot a Jaeger to go stop Danzilla from destroying everything, I'll be here trying to get the feeling back in my ass. Later days, bleeders.

And remember, pretty ladies dig monsters more than dickheads, so don't be a douche.

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