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Quick thoughts on Wild Zero (1999) and Company Business (1990)

genre: comedy, horror, music

Only legendary Japanese garage rock band Guitar Wolf can stand between a race of aliens from destroying earth with an army of zombies.

This tag line had me triggered. Because to me this sounds awesome. I did wonder though I never heard about this film?

After having seen it I have a good idea why. It's boring. All the fun that was promised in the tag line and trailer simply didn't get displayed as I would have liked to. I was aware this was a low budget affair but often this forces filmmakers to be creative and can lead to real fun and brilliant results. Nothing about Wild Zero is brilliant or fun. I get that we are supposed to root for Guitar Wolf and I really wanted to. But first, all of the songs they played were awful. Didn't rock one bit. Second, most of the time they just pose in a cool way. You would think there would be a lot of zombie action going on. Instead the film focuses on characters who have very little to no depth to them. There is even one twist that nowadays would make a certain group very happy. In that regard the film is very progressive. It didn't do anything for me. 

I know I should often not take reviews on IMDB.com that seriously. But the majority of them gave this film a high score. I am trying real hard to figure out why that is. Because trust me when I say this that any high score for this film is not warranted. Then again these reviewers could be fans of Guitar Wolf and be blinded. They could be the type that love everything of their band even if it's real bad. Don't waste your time with this film!

genre: Espionage, comedy, crime

Company Business is one of those oddities where they try to combine espionage intrigue with comedy. And it sort of works. 

But that, in large part, can be contributed to Gene Hackman and Mikhail Baryshnikov. They have good chemistry and are the ones who make it worth your while. The plot itself is painfully average and predictable. Long before the end you will have a good idea how it plays out. There are no surprises to speak of. Not even in the finale. The film basically ends in a way without even showing you what the main characters are going to do next. Like they really couldn't be bothered because they were fed up and wanted to go home already.

I think they had a real goldmine on their hands with Gene and Mikhail as old spies. Both are expendable and relics of an era that doesn't exist anymore. In the opening scene you see Sam Boyd (Gene Hackman) breaking into a facility and causing all kinds of chaos and havoc. But he gets the job done. Only to realize a young kid accomplished the same thing from his computer at home. It's here where Sam realizes he is too old for this game. It would have been fun to have the film point out how they are a little outdated but still have some tricks up their sleeves. I mean it's obvious everyone involved were underestimating both Sam and Pyotr (Mickail) and therefore didn't count on them actually have their own ideas how to proceed with the mission they are tasked with. That way the comedic tone would have worked wonders. I myself would have preferred a more serious affair and more cat and mouse play between Gene and Mikhail and between the both of them and management. 

I thought the pacing of the film was quite good until the 50 minute mark. It slows down considerably and it's here where it becomes apparent there wasn't that much plot to work with. A little puzzling why they even made this film in the first place. 

So yes, I was able to get some entertainment from this film but I can understand that for most this will be a waste of time. 

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