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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Satire > Japan > Sports > Media > The Calamari Wrestler

The Calamari Wrestler


Picture:C+†††† Sound: C+†††† Extras: C+†††† Feature: B-



Part of the fun and joy of watching the Toho giant monster movies and all of its imitators and knockoffs is that there are guys obviously in phony suits doing all the fighting.Who needs digital visual effects when you can wear wacky outfits and destroy model cities?Many of those films were practically forerunners of current wrestling, even when it came to TV (Ultraman) and feature send-ups (Super Inframan, reviewed elsewhere on this site).Minoru Kawasakiís The Calamari Wrestler (2004) is a unique entry in this tradition.


The 86-minutes-long comedy feature begins with a simple wrestling match, emphasizing the skills each opponent needs to win.Within minutes, this is turned on its ear when a man-sized calamari enters the ring and fights the champ.At first, you think this will be exposed as a gag, but instead, the title character is treated as an irrefutable entity onto itself as if it naturally existed that way.It is not the only one.The rest of the madness leads to Calamari (for lack of a better name) becoming the new world champ as the Masakazu Migita script plays it straight the whole time.This goes all the way to how the media covers Calamariís international stardom.


This has an authentic sense of humor that is not forced and can be fun if the viewer plays along and can accept what they see.This is the kind of comedy we least see and genre fans will particularly appreciate how amusing this is.Though not for everyone, The Calamari Wrestler has more than a one-joke premise going for it and one only wishes it got even crazier.Those who think they might like it will not be disappointed.


The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image looks to have originated on video, though if there is film here, any PAL to NTSC conversions could give it a funny look here and there to suggest that.Either way, it looks just fine for the production it is, while the Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo has no palpable surrounds, but plays back just fine.Extras include a music video for the end theme, two trailers, two TV spots and a long making-of featurette that is amusing like the film itself.



-†† Nicholas Sheffo


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