The thing about the 2017 adult animated movie MFKZ, also known as Mutafukaz (yes, like that curse word) is that I can see exactly why people enjoy this film: a fairly interesting premise, great animation, a banging soundtrack, top-notch voice acting… But, for the life of me, I just didn’t find the film particularly engaging.
I kept pausing the movie because I was getting frustrated and was having trouble following the action. A lot of the plot doesn’t really connect together cohesively, and the main protagonists are honestly kind of dull when you get down to it.
There is nothing that really makes them unique apart from their designs and the fact that the main character Angelino has a swarm of pet cockroaches under his command.
There was also an unnecessary love interest who didn’t do anything, villains who weren’t all that interesting and a subplot about global warming that could have been interesting if it were introduced earlier and actually played a larger role in the plot.
The plot itself is an absolutely convoluted clusterfuck
The movie follows Angelino, a 20-something year-old who looks more like a child and
lives in the crime-ridden Dark Meat City with his roommate Vinz- who happens to be a skeleton with a flaming skull.
After a scooter accident, Angelino begins to notice some residents have odd, squiggly shadows and people are beginning to follow him. He and Vinz then find themselves attacked by a group of strange armed men.
And that leads the two on a race against time to stop a race of aliens called the Macho from completely over taking the Earth.
There’s also 1) a group of immortal luchadors tasked with protecting the Earth. 2) Gang wars 3) Aliens who have overtaken the world’s governments so that they can launch a proper invasion. 4) A group literally called MIB and 5) lots of fourth wall breaks, some of which do not work.
I won’t go into too much more detail, but basically the movie gets so over-the-top and ridiculous at times that it’s hard to take the stakes seriously. Even the guns, despite the characters being afraid of them, are so prevalent that they feel like they have no impact.
The movie doesn’t know how to use fourth wall breaks.
The fourth-wall breaks in this movie are really weird. And kind of unnecessary. It’s as though the film thinks that because the plot is so crazy and the animation so distinctive that it needs a fourth wall break.
But it doesn’t do them properly. Because it’s really just a bunch of title cards, with questions people might be wondering about the characters: like why Angelino looks like a child… But the film doesn’t actually answer this or address it. And also asks how Vinz is alive despite having a flaming skull for a head.
If the title cards hadn’t been there, I would be willing to suspend my disbelief. It’s a movie set in a place called “Dark Meat City,” pointing out the weirdness only makes it weirder. If you just tell me “Hey. Here’s a guy with a flaming skull for a head that nobody comments on,” I’m just going to assume it’s a thing.
Willy, a furry creature who is apparently a bat – completes the trio. But he’s so annoying. I don’t feel as though he added a whole lot to the plot.
But pretty much all the other characters, particularly the antagonists. I couldn’t keep track of who was who, or what exactly their allegiances were, and why they needed so many of them. Sometimes, less is more!
Give me two distinct interesting villains and not a mess of faceless or uninteresting but powerful goons.
I also don’t really get why the immortal luchadores were there? It just didn’t seem necessary and another thing just added on to this already, very busy and overpacked film.
And don’t get me started on Luna. She’s the ‘love interest’ who gets maybe five minutes of screentime and causes the whole mess because Angelino gets into an accident after being distracted by her beauty.
I can’t tell you anything about her personality. If she had been made a major character that could have been interesting. Or just have her be a random girl… It would add to Angelino’s already lacking personality.
You could eliminate her from the movie and it would still be the same.
I don’t get what makes Angelino so special. There are others like him, it seems. And I don’t get why being half-human and half-macho is a good thing. He’s slightly less vulnerable to the extreme cold and when he “hulks out,” he is powerful but still…
It’s not like Kipo being half-Mute where there’s a distinct advantage, especially considering the series’ setting. And that show even adds in the disadvantages like how she can “smell everything.”
I don’t exactly get why his powers needed to be triggered. Why weren’t they working before? And why did these people wait to attack him?
I mean…really, it’s a city full of crime, guns and poverty. Are you telling me you couldn’t snatch up one baby that literally nobody would miss? I assume this is something that is answered in the movie’s source material, but still, it would provide a little more context to everything.
I’m not sure if this is racism, but I do feel uncomfortable.
This is probably a criticism that isn’t needed, but I’m curious as to what others think. Angelino has black skin. Not brown, but almost night-sky colored skin. And he is heavily coded as an African-American: his voice, his clothes, the place where he lives all set him up as the underdog person of color from the inner city.
But the issue is…neither of his parents are Black. In the flash-back, his mother appears to be Caucasian and his father is a Macho, so, we don’t know what his human form looks like, but he is the same color as Angelino.
I guess this bothers me because it seems like the movie really wanted to have an African-American protagonist, but the character isn’t really black… And because the main trio are all non-humans, no people of color really have a main role.
A lot of the background characters are people of color, but they’re drawn really stereotypically and are mostly gangsters. They’re not really given deep personalities or any other traits that might suggest that they’re something more.
And while this isn’t strictly necessary, I feel like the film could have benefited from characterizing more of these guys, rather than just one huge dude who quotes appropriate Shakespeare lines before killing people.
I don’t care what happens to these characters. I just don’t. I’m never given a real reason to connect with these characters or their plight beyond, “Hey, doesn’t this world suck?”
There’s probably something to be said about the global warming subplot and how the one percent isn’t really human, but there’s not a lot of oomph factor there.
I wasn’t invested in seeing the characters succeed, because simply I didn’t really care about them. And I sure as hell didn’t care about their world.
The cherry on top
All of this isn’t to say there is NOTHING to like about Mutafukaz. As I mentioned earlier, the animation is awesome. And it does go through a few art changes at times, which is one of my favorite things.
The fight scenes and car chases are very fluid and well animated. And the background designs are really interesting. Like if you’re interested in animation for how it can tell stories and want to study more of the technical side of things, then yeah, this absolutely worth watching. And I can see how that would be enough for some people.
The soundtrack is also really awesome. And having a good soundtrack is really important. These factors did help give the film a higher score than I would have.
I always try to find the good in stuff and I can absolutely see that there is stuff people would find enjoyable about this film. I can see this becoming a sort of cult classic. Just not my kind of cult classic,.
And that’s the scoop!
Year of release: 2017
Length: 93 minutes
Producer: Anthony Roux
Directors: Shōjirō Nishimi, Guillaume “Run” Renard
Screenplay by: Guillaume “Run” Renard
Based On: Mutafukaz by Guillaume “Run” Renard
Voice Actors: (English Dub)Kenn Michael, Vince Staples. Dino Andrade, Michael Chiklis, Giancarlo Esposito Jorge Gutierrez, Dascha Polanco, RZA, Danny Trejo
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