By the final shot, which assumes the viewpoint of a decapitated head, its appalled comedy has swelled, beyond outrage, to a pitch of punch-drunk hysteria.
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Has all the classic faults of a picture not only directed by an actor but by an actor who is his own producer.
Jiang's razor-sharp conclusions are less about the Japanese army or the Chinese government than about simple human nature.
Jiang draws a great deal of humor from the situation, but the film inevitably explodes in terrible violence.
Though shorn of 20 minutes for its U.S. debut, the film's wry comic portrait of the Japanese Occupation during WWII hasn't lost any of its incendiary brilliance, both as a political provocation and as a brusquely humane take on the horrors and absurdity of war.
In its dry and forceful way, it delivers the same message as Jiri Menzel's "Closely Watched Trains" and Danis Tanovic's "No Man's Land." While acknowledging that war is hell, it goes further to suggest it is ludicrous.
A wild ride that effortlessly combines devilish dark humor, slapstick comedy, extreme violence and bitter satire.