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Aachi & Ssipak - Rounding up the Usual Suspects
Steve's Livejournal
Aachi & Ssipak
Aachi and Ssipak are street hoodlums in a future era when all energy sources are depleted, with the exception of human excrement. To reward production, people are awarded Juicybars, addictive blue popsicle-like treats; everyone's anus is implanted with a circular device that measures productivity, and also serves as an identity device. Aachi and Ssipak struggle to make a living by trading in Juicybars, which have considerable black market value to addicts.

Aachi and Ssipak know a wannabe porn director named Jimmy the Freak, who hopes to feature wannabe actress Beautiful in one of his movies. For some reason (which would be a spoiler to describe), when Beautiful defecates, she's rewarded by exceptional quantities of Juicybars. Jimmy the Freak doesn't know about her special talent, but Aachi and Ssipak discover it.

However, others know about Beautiful too, most notably the Diaper King, leader of hordes of diminutive blue mutants known as the Diaper Gang. Before long, the police notice that someone is collecting exceptional Juicybar awards, and send officers to investigate. But only the cyborg police officer Geko is a match for the Diaper Gang, who are so numerous that they overwhelm any normal police officer team. Other street hoodlums also covet the Juicybar wealth that Beautiful can produce.

On top of all that trouble on the streets, there is discord within the police department itself. The senior management of the department all chafe under the rule of the despotic Chief, but although she looks like a girl half their height she has what it takes to intimidate all of them – control of Geko, perhaps.

Can Aachi and Ssipak protect themselves and Beautiful from the many factions trying to seize her?

Note: "Ssipak" is pronounced like the English words "she pock" mashed together. "Aachi" rhymes "botchy", if "botchy" is a real word.

I tend to dislike lowbrow humor, more often than not. That's not because of an automatic dislike of it, but because so much lowbrow humor tries to get its laughs solely on the basis of the idea that being tacky is inherently funny. But this film is a winner, because its lowbrow humor is clever, not just low. It's not just poo humor, it's clever poo humor.

Besides the excrement theme, the film includes a lot of pop-culture references. The most obvious are the fake advertisements (laxatives, for example) and public service announcements (about improving productivity) that occasionally turn up on outdoor television panels; they're hilarious in the way they parody real advertising in the context of the film's premise. "Jimmy the Freak" is probably a reference to a gambling pundit known as Jimmy the Greek. There are all sorts of movie references. I'm almost certain that I missed more than I caught, either because the language was obscured by the translation to Korean then back to English subtitles or because they're specific to South Korea.

One flaw is that the violence gets a bit repetitive at times. To an extent, that's probably a parody of violent excess in some movies, particularly US action movies. And some of the violence is more creative than repetitive. But not all of it.

Aside from the humor, admirable aspects of the film are the really high-quality animation and the music. I enjoyed the latter even though almost all the lyrics are in Korean, which makes them incomprehensible to me. Based on the sound, I'd guess that it's something similar to punk rock played by musicians who can play their instruments well. 8 Very Good

Based on the fact that I thought the movie was really funny (and heard lots of laughter in the theater), the high-quality animation, the good music, and the uncommonly creative premise, I rate the film very good overall.

Trivia: Looking for other information about the film in other reviews, I discovered that MTV has supposedly licensed the film, so that it can produce its own animated series based on the same characters and premise.

Language: Korean, with English subtitles, and just a few words of English (or English borrow-words) scattered around. Curiously, the ampersand("&") in the title is pronounced "and" in the theme song (which plays at the beginning of the credits); I can't imagine that the Korean word for "and" sounds the same as the English word.

Lame boasting: I wrote the initial version of the Wikipedia page about the movie, combining material from the SIFF page and the IMDB with my own observations from watching it today. The official site also looks like it has a lot of information about the film, but because it's almost entirely in Korean I couldn't use any of it.

Rating: As far as I'm aware, this film has no US rating. It would probably draw an "R" rating, on the basis of pervasive violence, some strong foul language, and general bad taste.

Screening: 2 pm, Seattle Center (JBL Theater at EMP).
Audience: About 80 people, 195 seats. It was a press screening, also open to SIFF pass-holders.

Goodies: An early lasagna dinner in downtown Seattle after the movie.

Ads: None at all, just an in-person announcement by a SIFF volunteer.

SIFF statistics: 8 press screening films seen. (My wife was out of town and missed two of them.)

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1 comment or Leave a comment
From: megameow Date: May 21st, 2007 09:40 am (UTC) (Link)


Poo Poo!
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