Executive Koala (2005): Japan – Directed by Minoru Kawasaki
Not rated by the MPAA – contains a little bit of violence and a giant koala person
Remember Donnie Darko, where there is a giant bunny rabbit? Now imagine a man-sized koala, who is actually an executive at a Japanese pickle company. Now, his boss is a white bunny rabbit, also man-sized. But this koala is suspected of murdering his girlfriend. There, now you have Executive Koala.
Unfortunately, the movie is not as fun as its DVD cover art would suggest. Nor is it as fun as its title suggests, nor is it as fun as the plot outline suggests. Indeed, it has the right idea and mind set, but doesn’t push it as far as the idea might go.
The koala has a name, a position at the pickle factory, and is treated normally by almost everyone. A few people in the street stop and do a double-take, but most people just accept that he’s a koala living and working in Tokyo. I suppose this isn’t particularly odd, as there is also the aforementioned rabbit, as well as a frog who runs a general store.
After some mundane office scenes the rabbit is accused of murdering his girlfriend. The murder is seen as a flashback, but the only violence is blood being spattered on a background. Indeed, all the murders are shown this way, with someone sploshing paint on a sheet.
Anyway, it turns out that the koala may have some hidden secrets, and possibly an alter ego that is very angry and likes to chop up people. There is also a Korean company chairman who has a secret connection to the koala and knows a secret form of Korean martial arts which involves reanimation. Things progress and there are murders and stuff and then there’s a strange ending after some odd fight scenes. Oh, yeah, there’s some more violence in the way of body bags that are thrown around and go clump, except that they are obviously stuffed. This isn’t entirely bad, as it lends the movie a certain amount of cheesy fun.
However, it’s a bit hard to recommend the movie. If you want to be able to say you’ve seen a Japanese movie about a koala who lives and works and murders (or not?) in Tokyo, then watch it. It could have been so much more, though, with an amazing premise like it has. Maybe if Takeshi Miike had directed it…
It’s not a bad movie, it’s just low budget and doesn’t go as far as it ought to. The director also made The Calamari Wrestler, which I need to see soon, even though I suspect it involves a giant rubber squid. I will hopefully post more on that later.