Fantasia 2012: ‘Sushi Girl’ – delirious, demented, raw and bloody
I saw Sushi Girl under almost perfect conditions: at the Fantasia Film Festival surrounded by more than 700 enthusiastic grindhouse film fans in the presence of the producer, director, writer and virtually the entire cast including Andy MacKenzie (Shoot ‘Em Up), James Duval (Donnie Darko), Noah Hathaway (Atreyu from The NeverEnding Story!), Michael Biehn (!!), Tony Todd (!!!), and Mark Hamill (Not! Enough! Exclamation! Marks! In! The! World!).
How crowded was the theatre? Former Fangoria editor (and longtime friend of Fantasia) Tony Timpone was asking people in the theatre to put their hands up if the seat next to them was vacant, so we could squeeze more people in.
What we saw was a film that is completely unapologetic about its influences and its existence as a artifact of almost pure fan service beginning with its insane cast. In addition to those who were there to present the film, the cast ALSO includes Jeff Fahey, Sonny Chiba and Danny Trejo – whose machete becomes a key point plot.
The set-up of the film is that more than six years after a botched jewel heist, Fish (Noah Hathaway) is being released for good behaviour despite never snitching on his accomplices. Duke (Tony Todd) “invites” the surviving members of his gang, Crow (Mark Hamill), Max (Andy MacKenzie) and Francis (James Duval) to a party in an abandoned restaurant to welcome Fish home and discuss what happened to the jewels.
In plot structure, it is almost exactly the same as Reservoir Dogs only with the violence amped to 11. This is very deliberate and smart, any stylish crime thriller will invariably be compared to Quentin Tarantino, so why not own the comparison and use it for your own purposes? (In any case Reservoir Dogs was inspired by Ringo Lam’s City on Fire, which was in turn inspired by John Boorman’s Point Blank, an adaptation of Richard Stark’s first Parker novel The Hunter.)