a page of madness

film writing by nicholas vroman

Manzai Gang / 漫才ギャング

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Though Manzai Gang opens with a somewhat clever juxtaposition of the comic violence of manzai with gang violence, one knows it’s a downhill ride when hero/delinquent Kamiji (Yusuke Kamiji), fighting dozens of hoodlums not only misuses several Wachowski-style bullet time pans, but references Old Boy. And all of this is in the first few minutes of the film. The story follows Sato (Ryuta Sato), the hard working boke of a fading manzai duo. His partner quits and after a drunken binge Sato finds himself in the drunk tank with Kamiji, the street-smart tough with hair extension dreadlocks. Finding a natural comedic temperament in young Kamiji, Sato takes him on as a new partner. Their star rises, but the street and old gang stuff manages to bring Kamijii down. But don’t worry, there’s a happy ending for all and the gangsters get their comeuppance. The one bit of shining light in director Shinagawa Hiroshi’s clichéd parable is his love of manzai, as evidenced by the genuinely funny cutaways to the art in action on stage.

Originally published in EL Magazine, March 2011

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Written by Nicholas Vroman

February 13, 2011 at 7:37 am

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