Tuesday Terribles is one of our Periodicals, created because of our love for Asian cinema.
What we do with Tuesday Terribles will be similar to what other websites do with film reviews, except we won’t give a grade or score. Actually, we won’t even do serious reviews with Tuesday Terribles, because as the name suggests, these are films that we regard as just terrible. So, we want you to laugh with us at how terrible these films are.
We plan on talking about films from all across Asia (including Japan, Korea, China, Thailand, The Philippines, etc), both old and new. We basically want to you to laugh with us at the bad films that Asia can produce.
One last note: We probably will spoil the films for you, though we’ll try hard not to. But sometimes plot twists can be so bad that it deserves pointing out and laughing at.
That being said, let’s get the show on the road!
This week’s Tuesday Terrible: Devilman
- Based off the 1970′s manga of the same name by Nagai Go
- If you think you’re seeing double, it’s because you are; the main protagonist and antagonist are played by identical twins./li>
- The Izaki twins were members of a boy band called Flame, which seemingly had musical talent equivalent to their acting ability.
- This was the Izaki twins first major big screen debut, if you couldn’t tell by watching them.
- Bob Sapp has a role in this film as a very awkward TV news reporter. Around the time Devilman was released, Bob Sapp was one of the most famous foreigners working in the Japanese media, known for making funny faces and his ability to sound like a gorilla.
It seemed so interesting at first…
Akira is a shy and weak high school student who is constantly the target of bullying. He lives with Miki and her family, who have decided to take Akira in after his parents died in an accident. His best friend since childhood is Ryo, who is a bit of a weirdo in the eyes of their peers; he never smiles and would always attack Akira’s assailants, even going as far as cutting off someone’s fingers with scissors.
One day, the pair is shocked to hear the news of Ryo’s father’s death in an accident at his lab. Upon seeing a video message recorded by Ryo’s father about the lab being overrun by demons, the two decide to go and check out the scene. Once arrived, the two discover Ryo’s father, barely clinging on to life. However, he is no longer is human; he has been transformed into a demon.
Ryo reveals that he, too, has been possessed and turned into a demon and pleads with Akira to kill him, taking a knife and placing it into his best friend’s hands. The pure hearted Ryo refuses and tosses away the knife. It’s at this moment that a demon spirit finds its way to Akira and enters his body, transforming him into Devilman.
Because of Akira’s kind heart, the demon doesn’t fully take control of his body, allowing to retain his humanity. As the strong and mighty Devilman, Akira will fight off many demons that invade the Earth, defending the people he loves. However, as the presence of the demons starts to pose a threat to the humans, a witch hunt starts and anyone suspected of being a demon is massacred. Will Devilman be able to continue defending the humans, especially when the danger approaches Miki and her family?
…but alas, we have the truth!
The film starts off with Ryo and Akira depicted as children of about seven years old. Unfortunately, the acting level of the actors isn’t much improved from that of the children’s. When watching the film, don’t be surprised if you start to think that you mysteriously happened upon a children’s play at the local elementary school.
Akira and Ryo (played by the Izaki twins, Hisato and Yusuke, respectively) are very much alike in more ways than their faces. For instance, both are great actors…
…wait what do you mean they aren’t seven years old?
Ooooh! That would explain the hold-on-while-I-remember-my-line pauses and the oh-it’s-my-turn-to-talk-next breaths that each take before saying any dialogue. On top of everything, the rhythm of which they talk is so unnatural, it feels like they just read the lines for the first time five minutes prior. All the while, the Izaki twins make it difficult for the viewer to distinguish if the emotions they are trying to convey are angry, cold-hearted, sad, or stoned. The same face is even used when their characters cry. The only reason one can even tell that they’re crying is because of the visible shimmer from the tears running down their cheeks.
What’s also laughable are the ill-timed reactions and “yawns of terror” that follow (the word “yawns” must be used as that is a more fitting name than “screams”). Akira and Ryo open a door in the lab to find a bloody mess that is Ryo’s father. Akira looks at the then-father-now-demon, pauses for a few seconds, then “yawns” without backing away to show any signs of shock or fear. The same “yawn” can be heard after Akira’s first transformation into Devilman.
“(Yawn) I’m a…demon!”
Admittedly, it felt like the famous “woah” that was made popular by Keanu Reeves.
The film is filled with confusing choices made by the characters (and the writer and director). Going back to the scene in which Ryo and Akira investigate the lab, Ryo takes a knife and places it in Akira’s hands, begging his friend to kill him. However, rather than waiting for Akira to comply with the request, Ryo tries to move Akira’s hand and force the confused boy to stab him. Ryo’s request would be so much easier to fulfill if he took out the middle man and just stabbed himself. There’s no reason why you should beg your friend to stab you if you’re just going to control his hand to do so. Thankfully, Akira had strength to Falcon Punch Ryo away to the other side of the room!
The reason Ryo requested Akira to kill him is because he, like his father, has turned into a demon.
…Wait a minute, let’s take a step back. Ryo convinces Akira to come with him to his father’s lab to investigate what happened, only to reveal that he’s also become a demon. That alludes to the possibility that Ryo had been to the lab before, meaning he went to get Akira knowing what was there. In essence, Ryo screwed his best friend by knowing full well that he would also turn into a demon. What a great friend!
Next, imagine a professional wrestler headbutting his opponent. Now you have the perfect image of every kissing scene in the film. The actor’s stoner faces and their emotionless lines provide for no romantic buildup, making every kiss scene awkward and forced.
“Hey, I like you.”
“Hey, I like you more.”
Watching the romance development between Akira and Miki is like watching a little girl play with her Barbie dolls and force Barbie and Ken to kiss: it just kind of happens. Even the moments that are meant to affirm Miki’s unconditional love for Akira comes off as confusing.
*Both are riding a motorcycle and pull into the school parking lot. Miki says to Akira as she’s getting off…*
“Alright, I’ll see you later.”
“Hey Miki…what would you do if I wasn’t human?…”
“Never mind, I’ll see you later!”
*Miki pays no mind and runs off to class*
This is equivalent to a kid running out the door for school and screaming to his parents: “By the way, I broke the $1000 vase. See you later!”
It’s very tough to rip into this film without, well, talking about every scene in it. So, before we let you get bored with all more rambling, let’s leave off with one more thing.
Underneath this mess is a film that wants to be a superhero movie when it grows up.
Watch this film if…
…you like seeing poop squeezed on top of classic manga and anime you enjoyed back in the day.