Sunday 7 February 2016

IMDb Bottom 100 Review - Number 38 Yusei Oji aka Prince of Space

Space. The final frontier. And also the setting of a lot of really crappy movies, several of which have been on this list. It’s a Korean Japanese entry on the Bottom100 list, which I think is a first. The movie was dubbed though, so I didn’t miss a second of rich and absorbing dialogue nor did I pass a single vital plot point. This movie was boring and stupid, so you might as well join me at the launchpad as I look at...

I used my mad photoshop skills, and made this for you. Because I love you. And I was bored.

We’re back in the 50s again for this one. The second ‘59 entry on the list that already features another foreign film - the aptly titled Santa Claus. I say foreign, when all but one of these so far have been foreign to me. But for all intents and purposes, let’s assume I’m American and only a few, such as Santa Claus and tonight’s feauture, are foreign. That’s two foreign films in the last 4. Our jobs and our women aren’t enough anymore? Now they have to take our movie industry too? I kid I kid. I don’t actually care. Because if foreigners hadn’t been able to make movies, we would’ve missed out on the true classic that Prince of Space could have been. Just let the title simmer in your brainpan for a moment. Prince. Of Space. Why not king? I’m sorry to say, you won’t find answers to that question in this review. You will only find despair and sadness. Hooray!

Prince of Space in his Prince of Spacecraft. See what I did there? I'll be here all week.

As with some of these flicks, writing a plot outline proves kind of difficult, because there basically isn’t any plot to speak of. Prince of Space does have something resembling a plot, but again, it could be adequately described in one sentence and so the rest of the two paragraphs I usually dedicate to plot has to be fledged out with obscure explanations as to why writing a plot outline is hard. Kind of like the last four lines you’ve read. Look, we’re almost through the first paragraph. This wasn’t so hard anyway. The sentence that would cover PoS in its entirety is ‘Alien overlord travels to Earth to steal potent fuel and possibly conquer the planet, but is stopped by Prince of Space.’ How does that grab you? Not enough? Alright, fine. I’ll spoonfeed you a second paragraph just below the jump.

His laugh... Sometimes I want to add soundbits to this blog, just so you could hear how fucking stupid it sounds. Like he was reading from a teleprompter.

The evil overlord dude from the planet Krankor has somehow heard of a new rocket fuel developed by a scientist on Earth. I’m not sure how. But there we are. He wants to steal this fuel, and kidnaps people left and right to make that happen. Prince of Space, who is really a shoeshinesman by trade, dons his superhero outfit, and fights the aliens off. There are attempts at subplots, like his foster kids being abducted and the son of one of the scientists working out why the aliens are on Earth but being dismissed. But they are both so watered down and ham fisted, I didn’t even realize they weren’t brought to conclusion or even mattered one iota in the movie until just now. How’s that for solid screenwriting?

"Help us, Prince of Space Kenobi. You're our only hope!"

There are many issues with this film, some of which are immediately apparent, and some of which kind of linger in your mind with a series of questions you can’t bring yourself to properly form. Like why the fuck would the alien dudes, who clearly have achieved interstellar space travel, want to steal a recipe for rocket fuel? This point is even raised in the actual movie, in a rare moment of clarity, but dismissed by a scientist with some explanation I had suspended my disbelief too much to retain. Also the evil overlord takes over EVERY TV channel in the world to announce that he will arrive on Earth at 8pm the following day to take over. What evil force announces time of impending death? When they actually do arrive, they are met by a few military forces, and two kids looking on. Right as they are about to kill everybody Prince of Space shows up and handles shit. And still, later on when the kids talk to a Commissioner of the police, he dismisses them as just kids with a good imagination. Like they had imagined that fucker taking over every TV station? I don’t even get why this element is in the movie. I mean I get the kids seeing weird shit at the start of a movie, get dismissed and then things turn out to be real. But after everybody already knows the thing they mention is real, why is this happening?

This fucking thing. I literally couldn't even when he popped up on screen.

Then there is the whole Prince of Space being a normal everyman from the streets of Seoul or where ever this is supposed to take place. Not only does he don the stupidest fucking outfit, but it’s also the most oblivious superhero outfit change since Clark Kent removed his glasses and nobody knew who the fuck he was. At one point PoS leaves a not in the children’s bird cage saying “Go play with your friend” only to get them out of the house so he can change. When they question the note’s validity, he is stern. “You don’t want to disappoint the note!” And of course they don’t. Prince of Space can’t be harmed by the weapons of the evil invaders. This is something he announces right off the bat and several times after. No explanation for why this is the case. Yet he is continuously shot at throughout the movie. At one point he repeats, that their weapons do him no harm, and the evil overlord’s line immediately following that is ‘shoot him!’ It seems pretty stupid, but I guess I shouldn’t expect it not to be.

"My career... WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS?"

When Prince of Space flies to the planet Krankor to retrieve kidnapped scientists, he battles some huge and insanely stupid looking monster created by the evil overlord as protection I guess. Then he invades the base, and since he can’t be harmed, it’s really kind of a doozy. I don’t know if this was some kind of Superman emulation or whatever the fuck went wrong, but as a plot device it’s really too convenient. What was also convenient was the dubbing to very clear and surprisingly crisp generic American accents. It obviously reminded me of the sweet Ninja/Kung Fu movie dubbing of the 70s that had me giggling inanely as a kid. But as much as I enjoy foreign films with subtitles, I just couldn’t face watching a movie in Korean Japanese. I don’t really know, if effects in this movie were up to snuff for 1959. I feel as if they were kind of on the crappy side, even for that era, but it’s hard to say if that’s personal bias or not.

"Obey the note, kiddo. Or else..."

As for it being Korean Japanese, I suppose we all had to start somewhere. Korean Japanese movies have really come into their own in the past 20 years or so, with a few instant classics like Oldboy (the original), J.S.A. or the movie The Departed was build on, Infernal Affairs. They have some genuinely absorbing crime movies that makes watching movies a thrill. Prince of Space had kind of the opposite effect. I watched it while doing other stuff, and it meant lots of the dialogue passed relatively inhindered through my head, which is good because I don’t want it to clog up things in there. I wouldn’t want to recommend this movie to anybody ever, but as far as B100 movies go, it was far from the worst. Dull, uncompromisingly stupid and without many redeeming features, it still scored miles above some of the shittier flicks I’ve had the misfortune of reviewing. I don’t think I have to mention any names. The diligent reader will instinctively know. If not, it’s time to read back. God speed, my friend.


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