Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Wicked City (1992) proves to be incredibly strange and oddly entertaining.

I really love the 1987 anime this is based on so I should rightfully hate this live-action version because it pretty much takes the great story of the original and repeatedly runs it over with a freight truck until only a gory mess remains then it sets that on fire until dancing on it with neon tentacles. Yeah, I think that's an accurate summary of how this treats the source material. But... this film is so crazy weird and kinda similar to the anime like a long lost mutated cousin that I rather enjoyed it. I had no idea what it was going to do next. The opening scene is pretty much straight out of the anime minus the nudity (come on guys) then it goes haywire with a demon drug, kung fu, wire fu, non-demon cops that still have powers, a psychic-projected plane (I think?), the aforementioned neon tentacles, etc. It's really all over the place and the English synopsis said something about "Rapters" but in the subtitled version I saw, they never mentioned "Rapters" once so I'm thinking someone took some liberties with the dubbing or someone got confused on the packaging. Confusing is a good word to describe this movie although you can pretty much follow it but why they threw all this extra stuff in a blender with the already-fantastic anime is a good question. Maybe the filmmakers were trying to put their own stamp on it and it is certainly unique so I guess they achieved that but it's very odd. I do like the inventive FX with some of the demons. Unfortunately, I wonder if any great live-action adaptation of an anime can really be done because they all seem to turn out inferior to the source. I did really enjoy Parasyte: Part 1 and Part 2. Those actually had pretty good CGI too, which surprised me even more but even with those, they're certainly not better than the anime. They're just a good adaptation, which is maybe all we can hope for. I guess the same argument can be made for books vs. films but sometimes, I think, films have surpassed the books. Or I have no clue what I'm talking about and there is some 5,000 lb levitating purple blowfish here with a bazooka and nunchucks forcing me to write this. It's definitely the latter, and that about sums up this movie.