Warsaw 2013 Review: AKP: JOB 27 Is A Forgettable Yakuza Mess
There are those films that we love to re-watch over and over again because since the first time we saw them we knew that they're special in some way. Then there are those movies that we won't necessarily try to see once more even though they might've astonished us with their beauty and complexity. Unfortunately, AKP: Job 27 is in neither of these categories. The film was openly advertised as a sleek, action-packed, independent film that blends romance with a poignant story about a doomed yakuza (played by Tyce Philip Phangsoa) on a mission that might prove to be his last. Though the fact that it has no dialogues whatsoever sounded really odd at first, the overall concept seemed too good to let for such a risky move to ruin its impressive core. Kim Ki-duk tried it several times and that worked perfectly for him so why wouldn't it work for Michael L. Suan?
Well, gradually as the storyline progresses it's not hard to realize that the whole film looks as though it's a low-budget, amateur project directed by a film school student who still isn't sure what he wants to do with the script and tries to improvise a little too much. Keeping in mind the fact that the director previously worked only with short films it's easy to observe how too long of a script makes him unable to keep track of what's happening on screen, and in the two hours running time plenty of longueurs make it impossible to focus on the story which, by the way, has a huge potential. Though it might seem cliched, it's a perfect story for a fast-paced drama, yet maybe one that lasts for 30 and not almost 120 minutes. A yakuza travels from Japan to Canada in order to fulfill his destiny as a loyal mafia member and meets the love of his life there, a visualization of his deepest dreams in the shape of a beautiful and very fragile prostitute. That's a story that many people would love to see on screen provided that there is a different approach to the way it's prepared.
Lack of any dialogue wouldn't probably be a problem if all the other parts of the film would work in perfect harmony. However, that's not the case. While the atmosphere of AKP: Job 27 is somehow pleasurable and nori-ish for its own good, majority of the jump cuts are too ostentatious, shaky camera becomes too irritating after some time, the soundtrack combines lots of different genres without any reasonable coherence, characters are out of place and there's no bond between them and the audience, which makes them look a bit too one-dimensional.
Along with the third act and the final shootout one might wonder if the movie is a conscious self-parody and whether all that's been going wrong with it was actually just the author's vision and all he wanted to do is to play with the audience's patience. If that's the case, then the film might have a chance of becoming a minor success. Yet as of now, AKP: Job 27 is simply a bleak, underdeveloped drama that doesn't make a lasting impression until the very end.
Warsaw Film Festival takes place from October 11 to October 20.
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