17:00 - 20th September 2014, by Calum Waddell

Sake Bomb

Set in California, Sake-Bomb is a vicious comedy that, ultimately, ends up straddling a fine line between effective and annoying. In the lead role of Sebastian, an angry young Japanese-American 20-something frustrated at the way Asian people are represented in popular culture, actor Eugene Kim is fantastic. However, his character – who is given a distant cousin (played by Gaku Hamada) to show around Los Angeles and San Francisco – wears out his welcome quite quickly. Indeed, director Junya Sakino, working from a script by Jeff Mizushima, tries to squeeze some amusing farce out of having his screen personalities discuss a number of ‘typical’ Oriental stereotypes. Unfortunately, few of these moments chalk-up any chuckles. For instance, do we really need to see Sebastian engage with a Taiwanese girl about her interracial relationship and sneering ‘gags’ about penis size? And does anyone – especially those watching this film – really care about the bedroom hang-ups and insecurities of a young man who manages to attract beautiful women anyway? There are certainly things to like here – an opening rant from Sebastian sets the movie’s manifesto quite clearly and with a curious sneering contempt – whilst San Francisco is shown in all of its glorious beauty – but Sake-Bomb is never quite the whole of its parts. There are definitely belly laughs to be had, but the overriding feeling at the end of the film’s slim 82 minute running time is that this buddy-movie-come-social-satire could have been far more endearing than it ultimately turns out to be.

There are things to like in Sake-Bomb but the comedy set pieces might prove a little too condescending for some viewers…
SCORE: 2.5/5
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