Calamari Wrestler (2004)

7/10 - Not quite brilliant, but interesting enough to receive a recommendation
Reviewed by Simon on 2006-07-13

OK, make a list of all the things you've never seen a movie about.

Keep going...

Keep going...

ok, stop.

Now, that's quite an impressive list, but I bet you $5 it doesn't include "A Pro-wrestling Squid"! Right? 'cause if you haven't seen CALAMARI WRESTLER, there's no way you would ever conceive of CALAMARI WRESTLER... unless you're writer/director Kawasaki Minoru, apparently!

Taguchi finally achieves his dream when he knocks out his opponent to claim the Japan Pro Wrestling championship... but he barely has time to hold up the belt when it is grasped from his hands by... a giant squid. The squid then knocks him out cold and claims the championship for his own. Who is this wrestling squid? Where did he come from? Should giant squid be allowed to fight in the Japan Pro-Wrestling league? The leaders of the industry think no, but Taguchi feels he must have a real match with the squid or he'll never feel like a true champion, and the squid needs a proper match so that he can truly claim the championship himself. Will the public accept a cephalopod as a wrestler?

CALAMARI WRESTLER is basically a "boxing movie", and follows most of the conventions of the genre... with the exception of species. There's also a bit of a love triangle, and some social commentary on the state of Japan in the modern age. It's shot on video and features some of the worst acting ever commited to screen... but it's about a giant wrestling squid! And that's just cool :-) It's very very silly indeed, and really quite amusing - and even quite touching at times. The rubber suits for the squid and some other characters who enter the plot are pretty well done... though they never actually look like anything other than a man in a rubber suit, which is part of their charm.

Cheap and cheerful, and something that could only have emerged from Japan... not quite brilliant, but interesting enough to receive a recommendation... especially if you're feeling that your cinematic diet is starting to feel a bit bland :-)