Movie of the Day – Karaoke Terror

This is nothing like your drunk nights out at the dive bar, belting out the greatest hit of Journey’s life and waiting for the applause of the regulars.  Sure, we have all done it and it is rewarding in some ways to just do what you normally do in the car on your way home from work in front of a crowd of like minded people, but sometimes if you steal the show, be prepared to be vilified by those who make it their life’s mission to sing Boston better than anyone else.  Now I am not saying that singing the same song as another person in a more, showy fashion warrants a stab in heart, but you got to admit that you are at war when you pick up that mic.  I guess leave it to Japanese cinema to take a seemingly fun time and throw in some guns, grenades, roving gangs of middle aged housewife karaoke singers and explosions.  Actually, where the hell is that karaoke bar at?

The story centers around two groups of karaoke singers, the young 20 somethings that inhabit the karaoke bar and bonded together in song.  Then there are the heroes/villains of the movie, the dreaded divorcee’s the Midori’s.  The film chronicles the bond that each group has with one another until one day a Midori is killed by the young group, all because he was turned down for sex by one of the divorcee women.  Well all hell breaks loose and it is a battle royale to the bloody end, with a bit of ballad belting adding in for some kicks.

The film isn’t just about two rivals gangs, reminiscent of the Jets verse the Sharks, that are trying to reign supreme in the karaoke world.  The film is a social commentary on the widening age gap that Japan is dealing with.  Sure it might be absurd to think that the disparity between the two groups could lead to such a escalation in violence, but misunderstandings and lack of communication between the elders and the youths is something that they are all too familiar with as a culture.  A New York Times article displays the challenges that the youth culture in Japan faces with a culture that is aging and a culture that holds the older population to a higher standard than the youth.

So the miscommunication between one of the younger gangs being rejected by the older Midori of the group for a nice after karaoke romp is the epicenter of the battle between the two groups.  A young generating feeling rejection after rejection can only be held in for so long before lashing out.  Sure, it is a heavy handed metaphor, but it leads us into the cartoonish violence that stamps the movie with its seal of approval.  If you refer back to Kung Fu Hustle and their Looney Tune like violence and action, Karaoke Terror skews more toward the realistic side of violence, but the means they use to exact the violence is just ridiculous.  Bazookas, knives, stabs, vehicular attacks and a microphone stabbing is just the tip of the iceberg for the wanton violence on screen.  It’s visually rough to watch with arterial sprays a plenty, but the over the top violence kind of frames this dynamic power struggle between the two gangs very well.  Also remember that you are watching a movie in which the central focus is two rival gangs of a karaoke fans.  It’s silly in nature and don’t try to take too much away from it, other than the metaphor of the increasing battle between the young and old of Japan.

This movie has all the trapping of being a schlocky B-movie, but I like the way it handles the story and violence, which just feeds into this one up style of showmanship.  Karaoke Terror reminds me a lot of the frenetic movie Party 7, with the visuals and frantic pace just create this chaotic nature within the film.  Both movies kind of push this boundary in the absurd category and both are destined to become cult hits.  If you can, check out Karaoke Terror if you are either a karaoke fan, like heavy metaphor movies, or just enjoy cartoonish violence.

About Nick
I am just another blogger putting his thoughts into a website. My love is movies so most of my musings will be movie related. I work as an online marketer for an advertising company and when I am not earning a paycheck, I moonlight as a vigilante film blogger.

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