released 11 OctOber 15 | 93 minutes
Directors Guillaume renard, shojiro Nishimi
Cast Michael chiklis, Giancarlo esposito, Jorge Gutierrez, dascha Polanco
This is a fundamentally slight but enjoyable actionmovie comedy in animation, whose blood-splattered shoot-outs go hand in hand with a good sense of humour.
The film’s set in a scuzzy, graffiti-daubed city in an alternate America. Some characters look human, but the main duo – a pair of likeable youngsters – have heads that look respectively like a bowling ball and a Ghost Rider flaming skull. No one in the film really cares about their appearance, so presumably we’re not meant to care that much either.
The kid with the bowlingball bonce starts seeing people cast monstrous shadows. Soon, he’s being chased by Men in Black. The story has touches of John Carpenter’s They Live!, but the opportunities for class war satire are disappointingly passed up. The film’s only major female character resembles an anime schoolgirl; the biggest clue that this is a Japanese/ French co-production (from a French comic).
The same anime studio made another urban fantasy, Tekkonkinkeet. Both fling their flat-looking characters through three-dimensional streets and alleyways, though the chases and shoot-outs get monotonous. Still, MFKZ benefits from its sweetly unassuming leads, who you end up caring about far more than you do most action heroes. Andrew Osmond