Saturday, July 14, 2012

WTF Japan?!?: Nezulla- The Rat Monster

Are you ready...for a drama?  Today's film is Nezulla: The Rat Monster.  Just look at that title and try not to laugh.  Now realize this- the movie is serious.  Dead serious.  No, really.  Yes, this movie about a mutant rat monster in a lab is treated like some serious work and even includes a General Hospital-style sub-plot involving two doctors treating sick people.  You see, people are sick because a rat monster was created in a lab and...I guess it's airborne.  I immediately buy that and need no further explanation!  The film is super low-budget and kind of looks like a Japanese equivalent to a Troma film.  This one, as noted, takes things super-serious though and doesn't feature Charles Kauffman randomly.  That's one point for it at least.  I will also tease that the movie features some *dubious* Casting decisions, something you'll see in the next film as well. Great minds think (wrongly) alike!  To find out more about this odd mess of a film, read on...
People are sick in Tokyo...or, rather a place near Tokyo, since I guess they couldn't afford the permits.  Yo-Yo Girl Cop could, but not this one.
In the lab, a bunch of Army soldiers and a Scientist lady are sent in to destroy the Rat Monster & get a tissue sample to make a cure.  They have all sorts of samples lying around- you'd assume- but they need one from the un-killable beast, apparently.

Speaking of the Soldiers...
All but one of them are supposed to be American.  Of course, they are all played by Japanese actors.  Good.  Golly.  Miss.  Molly!
The titular Rat Monster does look decent, even though its suit design reminds me of the giant, killer squirrel from The Class of Nuke 'Em High films.

Of course, if you know me at all, I'm a bit biased because they use a practical effect and not CGI.  It's still not great though.
Did I mention how the mix of Japanese actors playing American, Japanese actors (actually, one) playing Japanese, English Subtitles and Japanese Subtitles is?  If not, it really, really is!
Oh yeah, the sub-plot of the movie involves the unrequited love between a Doctor and a Nurse, the latter of whom gets infected.  Yes, this melodrama totally fits in with this film about a giant, killer rat!
After an aside where our two remaining heroes talk about their loss- one of which took place during the 9/11 attacks- they face off for the final time with the rat monster.  Who will win?
Given this cheesy explosion that just took out Nezulla's head, I'd say that it was our heroes.  Just guessing though.
Despite this large- and silly-looking- explosion, our heroes make it out with three seconds to spare.  While one of them is missing an arm, everything else is well.  The End.
Would you guess how serious this movie was? Seriously, I was expecting something akin to Robo-Geisha and their ilk, even though this predates that cinematic movement in Japan. Given the low-budget nature of it, I was expecting this even more. Instead, this is a film about a giant, rat monster that has infected the nearby population with some vague illness & it's totally serious. Did the Writer and Director not talk to each other? I wish that I could explain this, but I can't. So, regardless of the surprising tone, how is the movie? Well, the pacing is odd. They introduce the monster very early and action ensues pretty quickly. In fact, the cast is whittled down to three people by the forty-minute mark. Not much left to do, the movie has the characters sit around and talk about their back-story. Don't worry- nobody is watching this or anything. The melodrama sub-plot helps fill out the run time....but I really don't care about it. In all honesty, there are far worse movies out there. This one is just odd, even for what I expected. Take us away, Racism?
Next up, a Japanese Ninja film that is not what it appears to be.  If you actually guess what it is, I'll feel sad for you.  Stay tuned...

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