Cyborg Invasion

June 14, 2007 • Film, Reviews

PARK Chan-wook, whose megaviolent revenge saga “Old boy” influenced the man who killed 32 people at Virginia Tech in April, has a new movie, but it is not likely to set off any latent loonie.

by V.A. Musetto

That’s because the South Korean film, “I’m a Cyborg, But That’s OK,” is a comedy. It will make its North American debut at the New York Asian Film Festival 2007, which opens Friday.

“It’s a straight-up romantic comedy that ends with the lovebirds trying to set off a nuclear bomb,” Grady Hendrix, the festival’s honcho, told me.

“Anybody coming expecting ‘Oldboy II’ will be disappointed.” “Cyborg” is among 29 films from China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Thailand and Pakistan that will be unreeling at the festival’s two sites, the downtown IFC Center (Friday-July 5) and the uptown Japan Society (July 5-8).

I asked Hendrix for a few recommendations. One was “Nightmare Detective” by cult Japanese auteur Shinya Tsukamoto.

“It’s a twisted horror film about a guy who can enter other people’s minds,” Hendrix reported. “It’s absolutely incredible. The director plays a psychic vampire.”

Tetsuya Nakashima’s “Memories of Matsuko” was another pick.

“It’s sort of like ‘Citizen Kane’ meets ‘Moulin Rouge,’ ” Hendrix, who writes film reviews for the New York Sun, gushed.

“A giant, glittering, beautiful musical about a dead bag lady. This is my favorite movie of last year, any country, hands down.”

Fans of Japanese screen god Takashi Miike will be happy to hear that two of their hero’s efforts are in the festival: “Big Bang Love, Juvenile A” and “Zebraman.”

Hong Kong action king Johnnie To is represented by “Exiled,” Japan’s popular Kiyoshi Kurosawa by “Retribution” and pre-Hollywood John Woo by “Hard-Boiled” (1992), which the fest calls “possibly the most influential action movie ever made.” What about that item from Pakistan, Omar Khan’s “Hell’s Ground”?

“That’s the first gore movie to ever come from there,” Hendrix enlightened us. “The director is coming over for that, and he’s bringing a 20-minute reel from his collection of Pakistani exploitation movies from the ’70s and ’80s.”

And Bollywood?

“We’re not touching it again after last year [when five were screened]. The movies were really good, but nobody came to see them.”

V.A. Musetto is film editor of The Post;


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