FanTasia Festival (Day Six) -Korean Piracy

Here’s the latest from the FanTasia Festival in Montreal: There’s nothing worse than a movie that is a total rip-off of another. I mean didn’t it piss you off when you saw Feardotcom and realized it was a rip-off of Ringu? Well last night our reporter and horror script writer Dominic F. Marceau ran into a Korean movie that totally ripped off Blade Runner– I guess what people don’t know can’t hurt em’- so that’s why we’re telling you! Read on for the exclusive scoop, which includes the story of Dom’s Birthday bash with Udo Kier…

DAY SIX – July 13th, 2004
By: Dominic F. Marceau
Continuing coverage here

Todays episode: Blade Runner 2: Adventures in Korea

In the immortal words of Keanu Reeves: “Whoa!” Today (yesterday by now) was quite an eventful day. It all started at noon with my interview with Udo Kier, which you will be able to read in the next few days. Udo is great guy, funny as hell, I had an absolute blast. Hope you will too.

Cut to evening.
The sun was starting to come down, which spelled relief for all of us. Today was a hot mother. It seems that they can’t let up these days. A funny thing about Canadians, especially those of us from the Province of Quebec: We have 90-degree weather, with 75% humidity in the summer, and sub-zero weather, plus wind-chill in the winter. They say it builds character. Yeah, character. You know what else it does? It makes men out of boys, Goddammit! That’s why you can count on your favorite action reporter to report to you daily from the trenches of this assault on the senses that is the FanTasia Film Festival.

The line up was the longest I’ve seen this year. Many people were waiting patiently, roasting in the sun, while construction crews finished the street next to them. The make up of out fine city usually isn’t as smudged, but there’s been some construction work around the University that’s defaced its otherwise beautiful surroundings. The film all these people were so anxious to see was Natural City: the most expensive film ever to come out of Korea. A little about the film: in a not so distant future, wars have ravaged the Earth, and cities are rare. Natural City is one of the last outposts of humanity. Humans and cyborgs, who have a three-year life span, live together in harmony. Whenever a cyborg malfunctions, or poses a threat to his human counterpart, an elite squad, armed to the teeth, is sent in to dispose of them by shooting them in the head, destroying their A.I. chip. One of these elite soldiers is a man called R. He is an exemplary soldier but has committed one fatal flaw: he fell in love with a female cyborg that has three days left before expiration. R decides that his situation is more important than his duty as a soldier. For love or country? He chose love. He helps a black market bio-engineer who is on the brink of finding a way to inject R’s cyborg companion’s A.I. chip into the brain of a human female. At the same time, a hacker is threatening to wipe Natural city off the map by injecting his consciousness into the A.I. chips of thousands upon thousands of attack cyborgs. Are you following me so far? Doesn’t matter…

This film has been compared to “Blade Runner”. Uh, hello? Compared? More like photocopied! This film is an absolutely blatant rip off of Ridley Scott’s noirish sci-fi masterpiece. Yeah, its set design, effects, miniatures, fight sequences, and cinematography are second to none, but what happens when you don’t have an original story to back all that artifice? It’s exactly like a video game. You know that most video games nowadays are impressive as hell. Well, this film was indeed impressive. But like a video game, its plot is contrived and derivative. And enough slow motion shots of sparks and glass breaking, already! The end drags and drags and drags…and drags. It was an overall great thrill for the eyes, but my brain was collecting dust.

It was time to shake all that dust off with one hell of a cinematic puzzle entitled One point O.

Directors Jeff Renfoe and Marteinn Thorsson introduced the film, along with an Udo Kier that was his usual insanely funny self. He did a brief imitation of our own Mitch Davis that had the entire crowd in stitches. It was great, as this film which was about to start, isn’t very funny at all. Simon J (An impressive Jeremy Sisto) is working on a computer code for an unnamed big corporation. He keeps receiving empty packages. He asks other tenants of his gloomy apartment building if they are the ones who left these packages inside his apartment. They all deny anything to do with it. Simon becomes more and more suspicious and paranoid. On top of that, he is visibly getting sick. And he keeps drinking copious amounts of milk for some reason. Is he losing his mind? Are they all losing their minds? Or is there a bigger Evil that’s responsible?

Ok. This film was interesting. It was extremely well shot and very well played. But, do you want to know what bugged me about it? It’s as if the filmmakers took some of my favorite films, took out all the cool stuff about them, and made their own film. “p” (“Pi”), “Eraserhead”, “The Trial”, “Barton Fink”, “The Tenant”, “Videodrome” and a little bit of “Brazil” are all well represented in this film. It doesn’t make it a bad film, just infuriating, for this reporter at least. “One Point O” is a well-executed film, but like Donato Toraro writes in the FanTasia official program, it’s “far from original, recalling at least a dozen similarly themed films in characterization, visual style, or plot”. I couldn’t agree more. I still think they did a great job at making us scratch our heads, though.

After the film, its directors came out to answer some of our questions, and there were many. They told us that the film was shot in Romania, in 30 days, and that a chance encounter with Lance Henricksen in the hotel lounge is the only reason he appears in the film. Udo Kier then came out to entertain us in his own unique way, goofing around and making us all have a good laugh.

As I walked out of the University, he came up to me and told me and a friend of mine to kidnap him. He wanted to go out for a drink. This was his last night in Montreal and he wanted to paint the town red. Blood red. So, I celebrated my 31st birthday by partying the night away with the great Udo Kier. His presence at this year’s festival was a treat for all of us and we hope he will remember us. I asked him if he did this in every town he goes to. He told me he didn’t and that Montreal was special. It sure is, Dr. Frankenstein, it sure is.

Today, I have a hangover. I’ve been deprived of well-needed sleep for days now, so I’m going to take a breather for a couple of days. But fear not, dear bloody-disgusting reader, as I have two very important films lined up on Friday: Bilal’s Immortel, which looks absolutely stunning, and The man who saved the world A.K.A. “Turkish Star Wars”. I’ve been dying to see this piece of cinematic garbage for years now. I can’t wait to laugh my well-rested ass off!

Well, I’m getting off of the information superhighway.
Next exit, Slumberland.

Cut to credits.

Source: Dominic F. Marceau- Click here for more coverage!