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Toilet humor smells like roses

2003/12/03 | 425 views | Permalink | Source

Not enough facial gyrations and farting noises in your life? Now, thanks to the magic of cinema, you can just sit back and be transported to a wondrous land brimming with facial gyrations, farting noises and romance.
You didn't expect much from director Yun Je-gyun, who unloaded one of the worst films of last year "Sex Is Zero", which went on to become a huge box office hit to the dismay of critics.

Once again, with his mind in the gutter and his middle finger firmly raised at critics, Yun dives headfirst into toilet humor and comes up, shockingly, smelling like roses. The result is the new film "Crazy Assassins" (Korean title: "Nangman Jagaek"), opening this Friday with an offbeat brilliance that renders criticism unfashionable.

"Crazy Assassins" (2003)

The film takes place in the declining years of the Joseon Dynasty when Gojong was king but puerility ruled. To the extent that the film has a plot, it involves a group of "crazy assassins", who have been instigated by a harem of vengeful ghosts to kill the resident Chinese commander.

The only trouble is that the hapless swordsmen's secret technique is to make wild pelvic thrusts and slap their pasty white buttocks to disorient the enemy. Yerang (Choi Seong-guk) and Yoi (Kim Min-jong) pilot the madcap antics highlighted by a visit to a Joseon Dynasty nightclub throbbing with hoodlums and gisaeng.

Make no mistake: The film is a mindless stretch of nonsense from start to finish. Nevertheless, it's a riot as gleefully crude as it is absurdly imaginative. It even throws in a few delightfully irreverent satires of more serious films like "Chihwaseon".

Following the lead of another recent so-called "fusion" historical comedy "Hwangsanbeol", in which the Chinese emperor labels Goguryeo and Baekje to be part of an "axis of evil", "Crazy Assassins" also holds the past as a mirror to the present.

Yoi's little sister is accidentally shot to death by a Chinese warrior on a hunting expedition. The court rules that he was performing "official duty" and acquits him in a reference to the incident last year in which two schoolgirls were accidentally crushed to death by a U.S. armored vehicle.

The film holds together what is potentially an awkward juxtaposition of a serious matter and inane humor with impressive self-deprecation. The enraged swordsmen storm the Chinese compound and come face to face with the resident commander, who immediately flaunts his military might.

The intimidated warriors respond by squeezing their own nipples to confuse the enemy. The film seems to be lampooning the incompetence of Korean adults, who can't protect their own children from injustice. It's a bizarre way to go about it, but it's fresh and interesting.

Yun goes farther in "Crazy Assassins" than he did in "Sex Is Zero" and may have lost some viewers in the process. Some will be turned off by the tasteless humor, and others will just see childish horseplay.

But if you appreciate low comedy, the film reaches new highs in both funny and nasty yucks that will leave you in stitches. It's a rare piece of work that can make you cry then laugh. And you know what Koreans say happens to people who cry then laugh: It's fitting punishment for those who enjoyed the film a little too much despite themselves.

By Kim Jin

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