Directed by: Yuichi Fukuda
Written by: Yuichi Fukuda
Cast: Fuku Suzuki, Ryo Katsuji, Yo Marius, Miyu Honda, Kaichi Kaburagi, Keito Aoki, Rei Akimoto, Yuga Aizawa, Ryuto
I’ve learned a lot about a lot of things so far at Fantastic Fest. I’ve learned that replacing meals with cigarettes is a good way to save money. I’ve learned that filmmakers and actors are really nice as long as you aren’t weird about it. I’ve learned that beer and movies are an even better combination than I’d previously thought. I’ve also learned that Yuichi Fukuda is a master of the genre spoof. You’ve already heard me heap praise upon Hentai Kamen, but it turns out he has another film at the fest: Kids Police.
This one is crazy, but it can be summed up in one sentence. It’s about police that are also kids. They do not arrest other kids. They are full-fledged, special detectives. In the course of their running investigation of the evil organization Red Venus, the detectives are exposed to a gas that turns them into children. Like any police team-up movie, every character has a role. There’s the smart one (literally called Mr. Smart), the wild combat expert (Bull), the ladies man (Enamel), the fat one (Ido), the by the book cop (Nabe), the girl (Maiko, and it sucks that she’s just the token girl), the rookie (he’s the only one who isn’t a kid), and of course The Chief.
This movie is so much better than Spy Kids. Where that (insipid) movie revels in the idea of kids doing adult stuff, Fukuda’s film shows kids acting just like adults. It never hesitates to play up those grownup elements within the context of police drama. It works perfectly. I don’t think an American version of this movie could ever happen. No American child actor I’ve ever seen has the focus to pull of roles so absurd in a believable way. Even if there are a few, there’s no way they could find seven. It’s amazing. These kids must have been bit by a radioactive actor and gained his powers.
The dynamics of believability in this film are what make the outlandish moments work so well. The movie’s well written and well acted, but the premise is a hard one to stretch. LOL tiny police #amirite can only get you so far. As the movie goes on, the interactions between the characters do become less entertaining. We get the joke, but watching children beat the crap out of adults never gets old, and it’s a credit to Fukuda’s sense of craft that this feature becomes increasingly pertinent as the film goes on. Right after the narrative drag begins, the movie ups the combat by a factor of awesome.
Kids Police isn’t quite on the same level as Hentai Kamen. It’s world isn’t as well defined, and the premise doesn’t leave quite as much room for variation. Kids Police is a helluva good time though. I walked out of the theater with a big smile on my face, and then a man ran past me. He grabbed his friend by the shoulders and said, “they’re screening this again tomorrow. You have to see it! It’s about kids that are police!” There’s not much else you need to know.