Thursday, 29 October 2015

KungFu Cyborg (2009)

It seems this film is sometimes known as just plain KungFu Cyborg, sometimes as KungFu Cyborg: Metallic Attraction, and sometimes as Metallic Attraction: KungFu Cyborg.  All this title confusion proves a useful shorthand for the film's central flaw: it has a serious case of identity crisis.

When we first meet the effective protagonist of the film, he's presented as heroic badass chasing down an escaped felon despite a gaggle of corrupt cops in his way.  I say 'effective' because who exactly the protagonist is, is one of the areas where the film seems unsure what it wants.  Someone else spends much of the second act looking like the protagonist, for instance.  But this is the guy with the closest thing to a character arc, so I pick him.

Anyway, the whole thing turns out to be a test - though he didn't know that - and he's told he's been picked to help secretly integrate a robotic police officer into society.  His initial reaction is that this is some kind of weird prank, but it proves to be true.  Robots; nearly indestructible and capable of flight, but visually indistinguishable from humans; are already among us.

He's introduced to the robot - designated 'K1', and for record I suggest that if you ever want to secretly integrate a robot into society, you should give it a real name - and suddenly turns into a clownish, spiteful little jerk for the next forty minutes.  The reason for this spiteful jerkiness is that the robot has a handsome appearance, and the sole female officer in their precinct (who of course doesn't know K1 is not human) takes a shine to him.

The whole film shifts tone to go along with the shift in the protagonist's character.  It becomes mostly a very broad and very slapstick-oriented film, with "comedy" such as a computer virus infecting a Swiss cuckoo clock (yes, really) and a young woman being accidentally punched in the face a bunch of times (yes, really).

Then it becomes a completely over the top mecha battle film.  Then a sitcom again.  Then a completely over the top comedic battle between a giant robot and some gangsters (kind of).  Then a romantic tragedy.

Yeah, mood whiplash there.

Bits of this film are quite good fun, but it is all over the place thematically, and its idea of what's funny does not mesh well with mine.  Not one I would recommend.

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