If Blade of the Immortal was a disciplined and supreme cinema entertainment, then Takashi Miike’s The Mole Song – Hong Kong Carpaccio is its out of control, freewheeling, wildly eccentric cousin. Frenetic, confusing, gleeful and entirely unrestrained, Miike’s sequel to The Mole Song – Undercover Agent Reiji has lost none of it’s rampaging energy thanks to a stellar (and frequently hilarious) turn from returning lead Toma Ikuta and a total bonkers story.
2013’s The Mole Song – Undercover Agent Reiji, yet another manga adaptation of Noboru Takahashi’s work, is one of those outrageously slapstick dumb cop in undercover land movies. Lifted by the audaciousness of Miike’s direction and the inspired casting of Toma Ikuta, the film works so well by the sheer physical punishment his character Reiji goes through and the comedic prowess of the actor. If you think of him kind of like a young Frank Drebin (Police Squad, The Naked Gun) Japanese style, you’d be on the right path. Outlandish is par for the course as the bumbling cop infiltrates the Yakuza.
With an opening scene that sets the tone of the whole movie – Reiji butt naked in a cage full of naked gangsters off the bottom of a helicopter headed to a ‘yakuza barbeque’. Where do you go from there? Well, anywhere! It’s the first of several set ups that require Reiji to escape from throughout the course of this 128 minute marvel. Each one pushing the envelope of both action and comedy to dizzying effect (the closing big brawl is something altogether fabulous). With his trusty team of police as back up, Reiji has to contend with the rise of Chinese rival gangs against the already established Yakuza.
The Mole Song – Hong Kong Carpaccio is ebullient in its total nonsense. Screen writer Kankuro Kudo keeps the action coming at a breakneck pace with logic and cohesion an option. In the hands of any other film maker, this would have the film fall apart, yet Miike manages to keep the dazzling free spirit of proceedings together even if it feels a little overlong.
The film just throws so much stuff at you, you either surrender to the madness from the get go or try and wade your way through the mire of illogical behaviour. That the film is so wild, harking back to the early years of a young Jackie Chan, is fits-of-laughter inducing stuff.
There’s a myriad of action scenes, ridiculous sight gags, dumb sex jokes and slapstick galore – none of which is mean spirited or shows an ounce of cynicism to the source material. The Mole Song – Hong Kong Carpaccio is completely incoherent, utterly preposterous, frequently laugh out loud funny and dizzingly energetic. You probably won’t know what you just watched but you’ll have one helluva time watching it!
THE MOLE SONG – HONG KONG CARPACCIO screens at the 2017 MELBOURNE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL