Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

I am weak with sadness if only because I have not seen the movie that has preceded this movie, ‘The X From Outer Space’ and this is a crime of omission that is almost unforgivable for any fan of Kaiju monster movies. Kaiju Monster movies is redundant but whaddayagonnado? I’ve been searching for it, high and low, but alas outside of a sixty dollar VHS copy on Amazon it is not meant to be. Sorry Guilala, I can drop sixty on something largely considered the worst monster movie ever. Thus it is with this sadness that I soldier on and watch Minoru Kawasaki’s 40 year late sequel to that semi-classic ‘Monster X Strikes Back at the G-8 Summit’. Now from what I’m told ‘The X From Outer Space’ tried like hell to be a serious monster movie but ended up being a delightful mess. This version on the other hand tried like hell to be a delightful mess but instead ended being not so delightfully stupid.

More political satire than monster movie, our film begins at one of those G-8 summits where the heads of various nations sit around in nice surroundings and talk about stuff without ever accomplishing anything. Suddenly in the middle of some big Japanese city a meteor hits revealing the monster that will be named Guilala and Guilala will be straight wrecking stuff. Initially the plan was to ferry the G-8 leaders to safety but U.S. President Berger (Jon Heese) informs these clowns that These Colors Don’t Run as our leaders set about formulating a plan to end Guilala’s reign of terror.

Observing this nonsense is super cute crack tabloid reporter Sumire Sumidagawa (Natsuki Kato) who has managed to wander off and stumbles upon a dancing and singing group of cloistered villagers attempting to summon the god Take Majin, the only thing that can stop scourge of Guilala. The efforts of the G-8, ranging from radioactive injections to mind control, have proven ineffective and Take Majin doesn’t seem to be all that interested in saving us considering we’re deep into the process of destroying his beloved planet.

What Take Majin needs is for somebody to believe. Sumire the spunky reporter believes, considering she’s doing that idiotic Take Majin dance, and we really can’t have a Japanese monster movie without some good looking spunky Japanese chick somewhere in the cast. The little boy believes because you can’t have a Japanese monster movie without some little kid somewhere in the cast who has some kind of pagan monster belief system. Monster battling mayhem shall ensue.

I am completely down with the whole retro-modern thing going in movies right about know. What ‘Black Dynamite’ did for Blaxsploitation, what ‘Grindhouse’ tried to do with the grindhouse genre, what ‘Bitch Slap’ failed to do with the tough chick exploitation genre, in addition to many others. So I appreciate Kawasaki and his use of dudes in rubber suits and the generous use of destructible miniatures and buildings that seem to spontaneously combust when hit with a random fireball. And if you can find a goofier looking monster than Guilala, then we’d love to see that monster. We appreciate the spunky cutie pie and the precocious kid, not to mention the ridiculous lame pagan song and dance routine. If you’re going to make a movie like this then all of that stuff absolutely has to be in there and it is all delightfully cheesy.

Ah, but here is the rub. This isn’t really a send up of a monster movie. It is a political satire with monsters as the backdrop and as a political satire it is weak beyond all reasonable belief. For starters Kawasaki couldn’t have found worst non-Japanese actors to play his world leaders if he had tried, which for all I know this was the directors goal. Except for the guy pretending to be Putin, because he wasn’t so bad. Then there was the issue of his satire being so broadly drawn. The Italian leader talks about pizza, the United States leader is an incompetent blowhard, the French leader is brainless womanizer, the Canadian leader doesn’t really exist… maybe that little part was kind of clever… but the rest of it was so infantile and banal that after a while it became pain inducing. By the time Kim Jong-Il made a surprise appearance… well… I realize it’s a monster movie send up and all that this isn’t exactly The Iliad but if we’re going to make it a satire then perhaps a little subtlety is in order to make it a good satire.

What I’ve observed in these modern retro movies is if one sets out to make a stupid movie you will make a stupid movie. The best approach, ala ‘Black Dynamite’ as your baseline, is to make a legitimate retro movie and allow all of the humor to develop organically. Trust me, it will come. Dancing monsters and wise cracking Ultramen isn’t exactly organic. It’s just stupid.

The potential was there, Kawasaki clearly understands the genre he was dealing with, the Guilala monster was faithfully recreated in all of his ridiculous glory and there is no greater sight than watching a dude in rubber suit stomping on toy tanks. But a political satire? Seriously Minoru Kawasaki? Seriously? And can you forward me the phone number of that chick that played the interpreter? Can you hook me up? Ignoring the fact that I kind of dogged out your movie a little bit? That would be good looking out.

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