Monday, October 23, 2006
EBOLA SYNDROME (1996) review
'A gangster Chick [Ed.-WTF is a 'gangster Chick'?!] smuggled into South Africa to avoid being caught. One day, he rapes and murders a black girl who is infected with a terrible Ebola virus. He has no idea that he becomes the carrier of the disease [Ed.-actually, he does). Later he kills his boss couple [?!] and minces their bodies into the hamburgers. To escape from arrest, he flies back to Hong Kong and continues to spread the Ebola virus.....'
--from the back-panel notes of the Ebola Syndrome DVD
Damn the People's Republic of China for annexing Hong Kong, because we will never see a film quite as insane, hilarious and absurd as Ebola Syndrome. I have to assume that these movies (and this one in-particular) were made for geeky Asian-guys, or maybe to entertain members of the Tongs. This is for guys, not women, and sure to be turned-off by wives and girlfriends across North America, if-not most of the civilized world. Naturally, this is what makes the film so good, heh-heh. So guys, pop-open a brewskie, kick-off your socks, and enjoy. Just be prepared for a hernia from laughing harder than you ever have in your entire life, this is the real-deal for you lovers of genre-movies. I am 100% certain that Quentin Tarantino has watched this and called it one of his many "all-time favorites", it is that good. It's very juvenile, stupid, absurd, idiotic, racist, sexist, homophobic, more xenophobic than the Japanese, and completely indefensible...but also a real laugh-riot because of this.
OK, so not much plot here, just lots of violence, hilarious-cussing and maybe some of the most-absurd moments in HK cinema. The only other movie that could be more ridiculous would be 'The Story of Ricky', which is a classic. Kai is a screw-up worker at a Tong-owned restaurant in HK, and the boss's squeeze has been forcing-sex on him (I know, what horrible-thing, but what do you do besides chew bubble-gum and kick-some-ass?). The Chinese mafia-boss discovers Kai and his woman bonking, and decides to castrate him. Unimaginably, things get worse. Kai offers to do-it-himself as a fake-out-ploy, and instead, murders everybody with a kitchen-utensil. Nice. He has to flee to somewhere-else, and hey, the title is Ebola Syndrome after-all. He goes to South Africa, since there are cities to shoot in, as well as the African plains and jungle (and cheap, South African extras).
Kai is there for 10-years, working-for the people who smuggled him there. The husband-and-wife restaurateurs make him do everything at this lousy-job, including chopping the meat for their 'frog-rice' specialty, which sounds profoundly-disgusting. You see a LOT of grue and gore in this film, and most of it is animals (vegetarian porn). Even a mouse is run-over by a car later in the film. Yeah, this is one the ASPCA probably have on their shit-list. Kai stumbles from one hilarious (and unsettling and violent) scenario to-another throughout the film, eventually returning to HK and spreading the virus everywhere he can. The rest is about the hilarious-scenery, the ride. It's possibly the funniest movie I own, and I'm not-kidding about this. You have to see this before you die, it's THAT funny, a (real) punk/existentialist spit-in-the-face of the world by the filmmakers, a hilarious protest against an absurd human-condition. It's deeply-misanthropic, which I can relate to. ;0) Yes ladies, horrible-things happen to women in this movie, but even-worse happens to the male-characters. If there is a line, the makers of Ebola cross-it, which is admirable.
If William S. Burroughs were alive today, he would likely say he wished he had written this--I wonder if he ever saw it? It's sure reminiscent of his routines, isn't it (think the most vile-parts of Naked Lunch)? I sure hope he saw it. Own it, watch it, cherish it. The DVD is superb-in-quality, and it's cheap. Films like Ebola Syndrome are why there are HK-fans, it's vile and bizarre but very entertaining stuff. You could NEVER do this in Hollywood, not even in most American indies. The taboo-breaking is too-much for our culture to withstand, which makes this a counterculture film to-be-sure. It even boasts a pretty good cinematography for such a cheap movie, and that's another thing to like about HK cinema, it has some great frame-composition and cinematography. Outside of a Miike's or Seijun Suzuki's, HK cinema just has the deepest-hues.