Film Review: Mutafukaz @ London Film Festival 2017
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Based on a popular French comic of the same name, Mutafukaz is a violent, off-kilter, undeniably stylish animated movie held back by some noticeable storytelling flaws. The movie takes place in the fictional Dark Meat City, or DMC, a dirty, sun-baked, crime-riddled s--thole. Protagonist Angelino can't hold a steady job and shares a crappy apartment with his friend Vinz, a skeleton whose skull is on fire. Angelino himself is small, lanky, onyx-colored and has a spherical head - he also likes to keep cockroaches as pets. Oh, and did I mention this movie also has superpowered Mexican luchadores and an oversized gangster that only speaks in Shakespeare quotes? Mutafukaz is very weird and the bizarre concepts work really well with the energetic, highly stylized animation style. This is particularly true in the awesome action scenes - the ice cream truck chase is all kinds of cool, jumping from up close and personal crazy to a Pacman-style grid view of the city. Angelino, Vinz and their other friend, the insufferable Willy, look nothing like the majority of the human characters in this movie, which seem to come straight out of an anime. While Angelino's distinct appearance is actually a plot point, why Vinz is a literal skeleton with a flaming skull is never even given lip service. It's the kind of movie where you're just expected to go along with weird stuff like that. If the title didn't give it away, Mutfukaz is not a kid's movie. It's pretty dark and violent even before the body horror twist of the second half kicks in. Speaking of which, Mutafukaz' biggest problems by far have to do with its pacing and storytelling. The plot keeps you in the dark for much of the first half - you know that some very bad people are after Angelino and that there's something about him that makes him unique, but details are scarce.
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