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Kamikaze 1989

Kamikaze 1989 (1982) Movie Poster
West Germany  •    •  106m  •    •  Directed by: Wolf Gremm.  •  Starring: Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Günther Kaufmann, Boy Gobert, Arnold Marquis, Richy Müller, Nicole Heesters, Brigitte Mira, Jörg Holm, Hans Wyprächtiger, Petra Jokisch, Andreas Mannkopff, Ute Koska, Frank Ripploh.  •  Music by: Edgar Froese.
       In the near future where "the combine" controls television and news, a bomb threat brings super cop Jansen to the combine's headquarters. Nothing happens, but his boss gives him four days to solve the hoax. Odd things occur: on day one there's a murder at the combine; vague references to the combine's enemy, Krysmopompas, appear; the nephew of the combine's boss confesses to the bomb threat, although he didn't do it. Jansen stays focused, interviewing employees who received special awards (printed on the paper used for the bomb threat). Is he onto something big or was the bomb threat just a prank? And what is this 31st floor rumored hidden in the 30-story combine headquarters?

Trailers:

   Length:  Languages:  Subtitles:
 1:32
 
 

Review:

Image from: Kamikaze 1989 (1982)
Image from: Kamikaze 1989 (1982)
Image from: Kamikaze 1989 (1982)
Image from: Kamikaze 1989 (1982)
Image from: Kamikaze 1989 (1982)
Image from: Kamikaze 1989 (1982)
Image from: Kamikaze 1989 (1982)
Image from: Kamikaze 1989 (1982)
Image from: Kamikaze 1989 (1982)
Image from: Kamikaze 1989 (1982)
Image from: Kamikaze 1989 (1982)
Image from: Kamikaze 1989 (1982)
This film comes across as a very ambitious project. It features Rainer Werner Fassbinder (only acting, he has no creative role in the project beyond that as far as I can tell) in the lead. It has appearances by Franco Nero and Brigitte Mira. Co starring is early Fassbinder regular Gunther Kaufman. The point is, the cast is pretty damn good.

The soundtrack is entirely original and is penned by Edgar Froese of Tangerine Dream. I am assuming that was not cheap for the producers to arrange.

With a good cast, good soundtrack, you have what appears to be a good futuristic sci fi script. An antihero cop and his partner are called in to organize an evacuation of the building for the most important corporation in the country (or world, was a little fuzzy of how far it reached). The bomb threat turns out to be a hoax, then things get twisted and confusing. I'd describe the story has having half devils battling half angels except you can't tell if they are fighting themselves or there really is a certain opposition. The film ends with major events not appearing on film. In fact, the film feels like it's missing most of the third act before coming to an abrupt conclusion. You sort of have closure during the very end but the exposition is coming from a news broadcast. It could have been thrown on in post production just to save the project and get it rushed to release in time to still cash in on the international success of Blade runner (both are futuristic sci fi stories but Blade Runner debuted a month before this), or perhaps to capitalize on the untimely death of Fassbinder who died unexpectedly 6 weeks before this film was released.

Regardless of the reasons, you get what might have been a complex story, well acted and brought to life via an interesting plot and without the need for cheap special effects. Alas, you get the pretense of a good story and are stuck trying to piece together the events in the second and third acts. It's a chore.

I've watched this several times. I, like most I imagine, was drawn to this movie if only to see the type of film project Fassbinder would simply act in without much more creative input. The film looked like it was trying to follow the same approach of Fassbinder sci fi experiments like World on a Wire. Maybe if Kamikaze '89 were almost three and a half hours long to explain what the heck is happening like World On A Wire is then perhaps things would be different. Instead, good luck with the 106 minutes you get.


Review by Michael J Salmestrelli from the Internet Movie Database.