Synapse // 2006 // 79 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // October 31st, 2008
Beware...his projectile toupee.
Oh man, this was so very close to being the greatest movie ever made.
Detective Genda (Fuyuki Moto) is a seasoned police officer, newly transferred to an oddball precinct. Staffed by detectives Fatty (a fat guy who sweats all over people), Shorty (a diminutive weightlifter), Handsome (a good-looking guy who only interrogates women), Old Man (a crotchety codger who tells bad jokes) and Big Dick (uh, yeah). But Genda has his own quirk -- he has mastered the use of his toupee as a projectile weapon.
Just as he settles in, the precinct is dragged into a terrifying scenario: a group of extremists have hijacked a nuclear weapon and threaten to detonate it in the heart of Tokyo. So it's up to Rug Cop and band of wacko officers to pinpoint the identity of the terrorist ringleader -- and the truth will hit close to home.
Here's how Rug Cop opens: in the middle of a terrifying hostage situation at a bank, Detective Genda walks in to engage the attacker -- a rogue ventriloquist's dummy. Calmy, Genda places his gun down and attempts to interact with the hostage-taker, but the puppet is belligerent and gun-crazy. Suddenly, with one smooth motion, Genda removes his toupee and flings it at the dummy, decapitating it.
This beyond-awesome sequence leads into Genda's introduction to the police station and his encounter with his new partners and this too is gold. Once Detective Big Dick gets aroused when he sees tea spilled on the sectary's shirt and a lightsaber pops out of his pants (seriously) is when I knew I had gone through the looking-glass and might be watching the single greatest piece of film entertainment ever devised.
I was gut-laughing near constantly throughout the first 15 minutes of this thing and not laughing at it because of the insanity (though no doubt that did play a role). No, writer/director Minoru Kawasaki has a legitimately deft comedic touch -- bizarre and surreal, sure, but hilarious nonetheless.
Unfortunately, the thing just kind of runs out of steam after that, deviating from the lunacy that had been manifested in that inspired bank stand-off in the beginning and leaning more on straightforward plot development. After that first bit in the station where Genda meets his coworkers, I wasn't laughing nearly as much for a good chunk of runtime. At about the halfway mark, the comedy picks up with a deliriously weird musical number about the trial and tribulations of living life as a bald man. Then it drops off again for another stretch of relatively unfunny material (compared to the world-beating stuff that preceded it) until the big finale with the detectives versus the terrorists, which is, thankfully, a return to form.
So what is the final call on The Rug Cop? Still a chunk of awesome but uneven. Hilarious in the beginning, lagging for a while into the middle before a fantastic musical number about baldness kicks in, then another dry spell, and capped with a memorable end sequence that left me in a good mood. As up and down as it is, I still enjoyed higher quality laughs with it than any American comedy films of late. Recommended.
Synapse issues a solid DVD here, sporting a clean 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer and a 2.0 stereo track (Japanese with English subtitles), a making-of featurette, a press conference with the cast and director and cast introductions.
Crazy enough to melt your brain, and sporadically epic in its hilarity, Rug Cop, despite its unevenness, is definitely worth a peek.
Not Guilty. Insert bald joke here.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Japanese)
Running Time: 79 Minutes
Release Year: 2006
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Press Conference
* Cast Introductions