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Kamikaze

Kamikaze (1986) Movie Poster
France  •    •  90m  •    •  Directed by: Didier Grousset.  •  Starring: Richard Bohringer, Michel Galabru, Dominique Lavanant, Romane Bohringer, Etienne Chicot, Harry Cleven, Riton Liebman, Kim Massee, Michael Goldman, Geoffrey Carey, Charles Gérard, Philippe Girard, Vincent Skimenti.  •  Music by: Eric Serra.
        A crazy old and bored scientist invents a system which allows him to reach through the airwaves and transform live TV cameras into weapons to kill whoever is being filmed.

Review:

Image from: Kamikaze (1986)
Image from: Kamikaze (1986)
Image from: Kamikaze (1986)
Image from: Kamikaze (1986)
Image from: Kamikaze (1986)
Image from: Kamikaze (1986)
Image from: Kamikaze (1986)
Image from: Kamikaze (1986)
I was quite surprised to see a Luc Besson production, in fact one of his better ones, uncommented upon in IMDb. KAMIKAZE is an insightful, darkly humorous black comedy that remains immensely entertaining 25 years later.

It's a true showcase for the oddball talents of Michel Galabru, that French character actor who has contributed to dozens of quality films (and hundreds of ephemeral ones) ranging from Costa-Gavras thrillers to LA CAGE AUX FOLLES and even Besson's SUBWAY. I can't recall ever seeing him in the lead role, but he takes it and runs with it in KAMIKAZE.

Galabru is a mad scientist, fired at the beginning of the movie while perfecting, on company time, his Rube Goldberg contraption for removing bottle caps. Now stuck at home, unemployed, with his young niece and her husband, he goes nuts and starts using his sci-fi technology to murder TV presenters -zapping them at their desks in the studio with a secret beam right through his home TV set.

My favorite film in this rarely-attempted genre is the classic CLOSED CIRCUIT by Giuliano Montaldo which I had the privilege of seeing on the big screen at the London Film Festival 32 years ago. Going further back, I once screened the poverty row MURDER BY TELEVISION at our fledgling CWRU Science Fiction Marathon in Cleveland back in the '70s, but KAMIKAZE is far more ingenious.

With blow-dry-coiffed, shiny-teethed TV hosts dropping like flies, Richard Bohringer is assigned the case, immediately coming up against tons of political infighting among his superiors including stern Dominique Lavanant, but steadfastly using his street smarts to track Galabru down. His daughter Romane is cast as his daughter, but for her fans (count me in) she hadn't developed her famous 44DD's yet at age 13 when this was shot. You have to suffer through Leo DiCaprio's histrionics in TOTAL ECLIPSE or that AIDS epic SAVAGE NIGHTS to experience Romane in all her adult glory.

The special effects are minor but well done, and the crazy premise is worked to a fare-thee-well, in developing both its comic and serious potential. A very cruel ending, worthy of Costa-Gavras, is a fitting climax. Galabru is really terrific and quite refreshingly unselfconscious (he doesn't care if the audience hates him) in a role one would have expected to go to a big star like Michel Serrault.

With so much crap being resuscitated (on purpose -the crummier the better seems to be the watchword of slumming video companies) I wish the Blue Undergrounds, Salvations, Mondo Macabros, Code Reds, No Shames and Cult Epicses would get a lapse of good taste and start reissuing excellent works like this one.


Review by lor_ from the Internet Movie Database.