Sometimes when people make the argument that man has no right to kill animals for food, they’ll ask the question: “what makes man better than a chicken? Chickens don’t start wars or hit each other in the head with frying pans or suppress each others rights”. Well, a couple of points in response to that:
1. Maybe some men are worse than chickens, but I for one have never started a war or suppressed someone’s rights, and I have no current intention to hit someone in the head with a frying pan (although I can’t guarantee my stance on that won’t change at some point should certain conditions be met). So, I’m not worse than a chicken, and I think that gives me a right to eat them. Also, chickens haven’t started any wars because they can’t. Have you ever pictured a chicken attempting to operate a tank? Laughable.
2. I’m guessing chickens are way tastier than humans. That’s a factor you know.
3. I heard chickens are assholes. I don’t know if it’s true, but that’s what I heard.
At the center of Tsui Hark's We're Going to Eat You is the military chief of an island. Being that he's the head honcho without any checks and balances, he's a total dick that not only presides over a small society of cannibals that have been reduced to treating fellow humans like meat, but actually hordes this human meat for himself. Somewhere in there is a social critique about dictatorships being dehumanizing and leading to huge disparities in wealth. If a society places no value on human life, why not stick a dude on a spit and roast him with a honey glaze? After all, chicken can get pretty boring pretty quick.
But I've gotten ahead of myself folks. You see, Agent 999 heads to the aforementioned island of cannibals to track down a thief named Rolex. Agent 999 is a pretty cool badass who knows kung fu and even rolls a cigarette on some dude's head during a fight just because. That's panache folks. However, he's pretty oblivious as far as secret agents go, being extremely slow to figure out that everyone in town is a cannibal. Yeah, some dudes in masks come after him with giant knives, but I guess he figures the village has a couple of bad apples. I dunno.
Rolex is also on the run from cannibals, and they also have to dodge a giant transvestite hooker. We're talking King Kong Bundy in drag folks. There is also some mistaken identity stuff and another thief character who escapes the clutches of the cannibals, but, basically, the plot is a clothesline for some wacky fights and a few slapstick sequences (particularly when the prostitute tries to corner Agent 999 or Rolex). The fights sort of remind me of early Jackie Chan when he would use props, but done with gore and butcher blades and creepy masks.
The effect is odd within the realm of the martial art movie; breathlessly silly yet nervewrackingly visceral. Especially inventive are the near misses of the butcher blades in combat; the horrific rush of a giant knife entering flesh, only to be explained away with a visual gag (like when Agent 999 thinks his hand has been cut off, but it was actually a severed hand already there, just hanging out). Of course, they don't always miss...
I guess We're Going to Eat You is a kung fu comedy at heart, but it utilizes a horror element in a different way than any other kung fu movie I've ever seen. Having said that, go ahead and tell these guys they are starring in a comedy. Just try it.
P.S. Review #5 out of eleven. Six more, and October will be complete.