There are some films that simply defy description. There are some films so packed with extra-colorful weirdness that you could write 1,000 words and still not cover it all. And then there are films like Hitoshi Matsumoto's Dai Nipponjin (aka Big Man Japan) -- which is most assuredly a combination of those two descriptions. I could rattle off the film's catalog of lunacy (and I will) but it still wouldn't adequately explain how outlandishly, amusingly WEIRD the thing is. Definitely one of those "not far all tastes" imports, but if you're a fan of Japanese action flicks, monster movies and strangely amusing mockumentaries ... then this is one you're going to want to search for.
Here's the basic gist: Masaru Dai Saito is the host of a Japanese reality show in which he (literally) transforms into a giant club-wielding butt-kicker whenever his homeland is visited by another freaky monster. And this happens a lot. So much, apparently, that the chaos and destruction are old-hat by now -- and our poor hero has trouble bringing in any television ratings at all. (Not even the corporate logo tattoos plastered across his gargantuan belly seem to be helping much.) Earth-shattering battles with "Squeezing Baddie" and "Jumping Baddie" do little to impress the masses, but when a nasty new RED "baddie" appears on the scene, it looks like our sad-sack do-gooder is about to hit the big-time.
Presented in a humorously matter-of-fact fashion (as if mega-monster brawls are nothing new under the sun), the flick wrings a bunch of goofy laughs from its unapologetically outlandish premise. Plus the mockumentary approach adds an extra layer of goofiness to the proceedings: The creatures are wacky enough in their own right, but the idea that nobody even bothers to tune in for such apocalyptic mayhem is what keeps Dai Nipponjin afloat in between the arcane exercises in eye-candy. So while the movie does slow down just a bit here and there, once it gets rolling there's insanity to spare.
Unfortunately the experience kind of sags in the middle and loses a little steam the longer it goes on. Clocking in at an overlong 113 minutes, Dai Nipponjin is clever enough to save its craziest bits of lunacy for the big finale, but one can't help but think it'd be a lot more entertaining with about fifteen minutes trimmed off the frame. (Seriously, don't miss the last twelve minutes of grade-A absurdity.) But fans of the weird stuff probably won't mind; basically, this is a flick tailor-made for the midnight slate at your favorite film festival. Especially if it's a festival that allows you to drink beer during screenings.
(Update: Magnolia Pictures will distribute the film in North America. It will be one of the first flicks from their new Magnet division.)