Thursday, April 26, 2007

"Banzai Hard"

To combat the negativity of the last blog entry, here's two little pieces of awesome ness to brighten your day.

Firstly, allow me to introduce you to Puchi Bruce.

Anyone who knows me knows of my admiration of the work of Bruce Willis, the Die Hard film series -- even the third one which starts off great but goes as haywire as an old Batman TV rerun -- and for Japanese cinema, as well. Hell, I've even got both of Bruce's pop/blues albums (yep) and a T-shirt from his Boston show during his 2002 Tour with Ivan Neville (double-yep). But... there's a certain man somewhere in Japan who puts my fanboy-ness to shame. And I now have a new hero to add to the ranks. His name is Akihiro Suzuki, and he must be seen to be believed. reports that "This 47 year old actor from Yokohama was a former Japanese salaryman who dreamed of acting while working for the Supermarket chain Daiei. During this time he worked as a TV/movie extra and participated in Mono-mane (impersonator) programs for Japanese TV station TBS where he became “Puchibruce." His name derives from the French word ‘Petite Bruce’, meaning a mini-version of Bruce Willis due to his diminutive stature compared to the real Bruce. The Japanese word for Petite is pronounced ‘Puchi.'"

For me it all began with some youtube clips from Japanese game shows featuring Suzuki-san. Then a friend of mine showed me this fella's myspace page. And from there I found this site, which I've been watching over and over again for the last day or so. You've just gotta love this guy.

If anyone can help, I have a few questions. Just how big is this guy in Japan right now? Could Akihiro Suzuki be this year's "Star Wars Kid?" On that last site, there appears to be a date of 2007 -- I can't read Japanese but is this site advertising a movie or v-cinema offering to be released? Imagine him working with Takashi Miike, Sho Aikawa and Riki Takeuchi. Total bliss, right there. Enjoy some more Puchi Action...

A game show clip:
A myspace link:

On a non-related note, those of you in the New York area can currently see two of the best crime drama films to come out of Asia since the Infernal Affairs trilogy at the Film Forum in Manhattan -- Election and Election 2 (aka Triad Election).

Directed by master filmmaker Johnnie To, director of Running Out Of Time, The Mission, Throwdown and Exiled, the Election films are about the ever changing levels of power within the Chinese Mafia. In the films' large and powerful Triad (crime organization), the leader is elected by those who serve and operate within theTriad's structure. Election (Part One) is a detailed examination of the hunt for power between two opposing candidates -- a brash wildman (Tony Leung Ka Fai) and a more subdued man of the people (Simon Yam) -- and their various subordinates. Election 2/Triad Election deals with the desire to maintain one's power when a conflicted, young, new candidate from within the ranks pops up to challenge a Boss in the next leader election. If you enjoy Chinese cinema, mob politics and the occasional bit of ultraviolence, these are for you. Johnnie To's films don't typically get a lot of play in theaters around the USA (at least not yet) so take the time if you can. Very, very worth the trip.

Recent Theatrical Reviews:
Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film For Theaters ***

DVD/Home Video:
Spider-Man 2.1 (Extended Cut) ****
Miami Vice: Season One ***1/2
Masters Of Horror: Homecoming ***1/2
Payback: 1999 Theatrical Cut ***1/2
Payback (Straight Up) : 2007 Director's Cut ***1/2
Criterion Collection: Border Radio (1987) ***
Criterion Collection: Atomic Submarine (1959) **1/2
Masters Of Horror: Pick Me Up **
Hurricane Smith (1992) **