Big Man Japan

Dir: Hitoshi Matsumoto

Rating: 1.0

Magnolia Pictures

113 Minutes

While watching Big Man Japan, a mockumentary about an ordinary Japanese citizen who grows big to fight over monsters, I began to wonder what kind of effect a bad movie has on the body. See, it takes a jolt of electricity to make Masaru Dai Saito (played by writer/director Hitoshi Matsumoto) turn into an animated giant. So what does a truly awful movie do the intrepid reviewer?

As the film begins, we meet the quiet, non-assuming Masaru as an off-screen interviewer films him a la The Office. I began to fidget a little as 15 dead-pan, slow minutes go by as the interviewer tries to get Masaru to be anything but monosyllabic. Then a brick comes through the window. Twice. See, even though Big Man Japan saves the country from monsters, just like Godzilla did back in the day, the Japanese citizens hate him. There is graffiti all over his house and not only do they think he’s pathetic, they also complain when the fight isn’t exciting.

It takes about 30 minutes for Matsumoto to change into the animated behemoth and I’m already thinking about other things. My body wants to get up and go, but I’m locked into the reviewer’s commitment to see things through. Then comes the first fight.

Here, as Big Man Japan battles creatures such as one that looks like a plucked chicken with a giant retractable eye or a half-woman half-octopus thing that stinks like a ton of feces, the film goes from cheap-o handheld photographer to what looks like watching a video game fight sequence. Maybe the creators are banking on a midnight film or high as hell audience, but Big Man Japan is the worst of all worlds, it alternates from boring to mind-numbingly awful.

Throw in an anti-capitalist subplot about promotions and a reality show with sagging ratings and Big Man Japan becomes even more of a royal mess. While trying to be the ultimate B movie is a feat, chucking in anti-imperialist and anti-corporate pap does nothing but confuse an audience. As his heartless agent looks for ways to get rich from Big Man’s, uh, largeness, we also learn of a sad family history that attempts to humanize the protagonist. By this point, Matsumoto has completely lost me and I’m trying hard to not to think about anything else. My muscles are twitching to escape.

The biggest offense is the film’s 113 minute run time. As the film coughs to its insane finale, I can’t help but wonder how many will have walked out by that time.

by David Harris

  • On the Rocks

    Thank god it’s not another May-December romance with Bill Murray. …
  • Kajillionaire

    Though Kajillionaire is well-made and definitely feels part of the artist’s body of work, …
  • Alone

    May not bring anything new to the table, but it is an effective entry into the canon of si…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Check Also

On the Rocks

Thank god it’s not another May-December romance with Bill Murray. …