SMUGGLER comes at a pretty challenging phase of any Midnight Madness slate – by the second last night, you’re completely exhausted, trying hard just to get through the next couple days of films with your sanity intact. It into the strange fugue state of mental and physical exhaustion that this crazy, almost madcap horror/comedy/adventure film was wrought upon us.
The film surrounds a unique kind of courier service, a group of men who are tasked with cleaning up after acts of brutal violence. Tasked with the removal of a gang boss, they find themselves under attack from the Yakuza, an assassin named Vertebrae, a psycho killer named Kawashima, and a host of other strange and wonderful characters.
The film has a gleeful charm, unapologetic in its silliness. It has the disposable quality of a comic book, but with a solid grounding that energizes the film. There’s moments when it devolves to WEEKEND AT BERNIE’S territory, but those scenes are quickly interrupted by buckets of blood, slow motion camera work, and bone crunching action.
SMUGGLER is very silly, very violent, knows what it wants to be and goes out and gets it done. It’s not entirely a success in a way that other films in this year’s slate is – there are more than a few scenes that dragged that tugged at my sleep deprived brain, but by the time the Nunchuks are whipped out, one simply has to give in to the films ecstatic nature.