Saturday, April 28, 2012

Chaw(z), the Korean Pig

NetFlix 3/5
IMDB 5.9/10
My Rating: 6.5/10

A gigantic killer pig begins eating residents and tourists in a small Korean village, but the mayor won't close the beaches because...  Look, it's Jaws with a monster pig, OK?

This one was recommended to me personally by Netflix, "based on my viewing preferences".  This is why we should all be terrified of internet privacy issues, folks, because one of these days you're going to be walking through the mall and advertising placards will be shouting, "Hey you!  You should buy this stuffed toy, based on your interest in Furry porn!"

So, Netflix thinks I will like this, a black comedy/horror from South Korea about a killer pig. The giant hog movie is already a crowded genre, what with Razorback (1984) and Pig Hunt (2008), but as it happens, I DO like this savory bacon morsel.  It doesn't take the killer pig crown from Razorback, but it's a close second, and if it only had a little more originality it could have tipped the difference (It's hard to compete with Razorback's early 80's post-apocalypse Mad Max wasteland vibe, and it had practical FX that were more convincing than the often Syfy-esque CGI on display here).

And when I said Jaws above, I wasn't kidding.  I'm not going to worry so much about spoilers in this review as usual, because seriously, if you've seen Jaws, you've seen this...  Well, OK, if you've seen Jaws while tripping slightly on psychedelic mushrooms and listening to Hawkwind on your headphones, you've seen this.  Locals begin getting gobbled up by a giant boar but the village mayor refuses to close the farms because it will scare away the tourists, and before you know it, a plucky police officer has to team up with a young science type and a grizzled pig hunter to chase the thing down.

I'll try to keep the Jaws references to a minimum, but...Oh, hell, screw it.

Young person gets half eaten at night. 
Hero cop assigned to case. 
"This was no boating accident. In the mountains." 
Hero cop warns mayor to close the beaches, err, farms. 
"Are you crazy? This is tourist season! The local merchants will collapse without city tourists vacationing here to eat organic foods!" 
Giant pig attacks. 
Hero cop - "We must close the beaches! Err, farms." 
Mayor - "LOLZ. We'll hire someone." 
Army of yahoos shows up and begins dynamiting harbor, err, forests. Giant pig killed. Mayor happy, stages press event to announce death of killer pig. 
Expert young guy shows up. "The bite radius of this pig does not match" 
Mayor - "LOLZ" 
Expert - "Pigs digest slowly. Let's cut it open to see what it's recently eaten." 
Mayor - "I am not going to let you spill that little Kitner boy all over the dock for some half-assed post mortem on a fish! Err, pig." 
Heroes sneak in later, cut open pig, find Florida license plate inside pig. (OK, I made up that last line, but that's all) "This is not the pig we're looking for." 
Heroes (Cop and young smartypants) and retired master pig hunter Quint gear up and head into the mountains set on makin' bacon.

In my opinion, the movie's only real failing is missing a golden opportunity to have the Quint character give a speech about how his WW2 shipmates were all devoured by killer pigs.  They do manage to blame the whole mess on the Japanese, however, which I understand is something of a hobby in South Korea.  More vexing is their bizarre confusion of Finland and Ted Nugentland.  When the mayor puts out his call for expert pig hunters, the initial crew that turns up consists of giant burly Americans speaking Southern and driving giant American pickup trucks, yet the subtitles AND the in-movie characters all refer to these people as being from "Finland".  Ping the WTF Meter on this one... I have no idea if I'm missing a cultural in-joke or what, but in the world of Chawz, Finland is the home to all  Nashville Network hunting and fishing show hosts.

Moving on... I learned these things from this movie:

  • When Koreans need a giant human-eating pig killed, their first thought is to outsource the job to Finnish bear hunters.
  • Korea, like Japan, is at least 25% populated by sunken eyed Ringu-looking women.
  • Korean hoodie yoof rap bands are an unspeakable sign of the apocalypse and should be burned before they spread.
  • Korean pigs are bulletproof, seriously. Bullets bounce off, flattened.
  • I never want to go to Korea because ALL of the food shown is absolutely terrifying.
There are aspects that set Chawz apart from the big fish movie, however.  Chief among them is a weird sort of slapstick humor sprinkled throughout, as if the Three Stooges were consulted on all of the action scenes.  Also, there's the surreal factor...  First represented by a strange witch-like lady in the forest and later appearing in the form of talking dog ghosts.  The Ringu woman is an odd diversion that sneaks into a really hilarious ending and helps tie the whole package up into a hoot of an experience.

I recommend this, definitely.  It's completely insane, and South Koreans should know that everything I now believe about their country is drawn from Chawz and The Host.  See it.  Get your hog on.

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