Moon Child (2003)

(Release Date: April 19 2003 in Japan)
(Release Date: May 15 2003 [Cannes Film Festival])
(Release Date: April 12, 2004 [Philadelphia International Film Festival])

Androgynous Japanese Vampire Mobsters in Futuristic China shoot guns and Brood!

J.C. Mašek III
The World's Greatest Critic!
It must have sounded kick-ass on paper when Japanese Pop Star Gackt "GACKT" Camui presented his quasi-sci-fi-crime-horror story to the executives that must have been so enamored by his girlish good looks that they didn't read deeply enough! While there's a lot of good to be enjoyed in Moon Child, on the whole you end up with an overly ambitious and overly long film that tries too hard to be too many things to too many people.

In the not-too-distant future, next Sunday A.D. Kei (fellow sexually ambiguous Japanese pop star Hideto "Hyde" Takarai) is a modern day Vampire down on his luck. When he befriends the Gender Indistinct Sho a whole lot of nothing transpires.

What follows is only the second of about sixty-seven temporal Flash Forwards which push the plot along every time the film starts feeling padded. Sho has grown up to be a Matrix-esque Gunslinging Martial-Artist in the culturally jig-sawed location of Mallepa. Kei plays Yoda to his transvestite Luke as he cuts a swath through the Chinese Underworld, making friends and enemies alike.

One of those vengeful little buddies, Lee-Hom Wang's character of Son, introduces our undead model and our live model to his sister, Lovely Zeny Kwok's Yi-Che, whom both fall in love with before another temporal flash forward. And why not? Yi-Che's even prettier than they are! But we get lost in that time slip again!

From here we see more vigilante Action worthy of Slo-Mo, followed by Love Story Elements, followed by an American Grafitti-like "Ain't it Great to be Young" moments, coupled with Kei's hating to be a Vampire,



and the film never really stops adding sub-plots until it's far too top-heavy for its own good! And by that respect, Moon Child might have worked a lot better as a season of a good TV Series than a feature film. It's unpredictable and even the loosest of ends are tied up, but so many cuts in time and elements added in because the writers said so don't really make for a cohesive whole.

It is cool, though, and former porno-flick director Takahisa Zeze never lets you forget that you're supposed to think his movie is Cool. Cool is the rule in his script, co-written by Isuchi Kisyu and Gackt himself. And they do succeed at that. While futuristic Mallepa sure looks a lot like present day Hong Kong, it never stops looking like a Live-Action version of Final Fantasy right down to Kei's Tidus-like hair and face! But "Cool" doesn't fill in the story gaps that you could drive a rocket ship through, and while the ending of the film (featuring a cameo by Anne Suzuki) is strangely quite satisfying it can't make up for some stupefying jump cuts and silly little moments of over-explanation!

Moon Child... not bad... not great! Three Stars out of Five! When style triumphs over substance and still feels lackluster and rusty, you've got a problem there, but almost in spite of the flaws, the film manages to be interesting (if occasionally obtuse). So until Hana to Alice wins for 2004 Best Foreign Language Film... I'll see you in the next reel...

Or I'll jump forward 14 years...

or, wait, maybe I'll jump forward to the next reel which is "a few months later"!

No, not done... now it's 25 years later, and I've jumped into a NEW reel! I can't stop going forward in time... I... I... I'm tired of typing now!

We're Being Mooned!!!
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Moon Child reviewed by J.C. Mašek III who alone is responsible for his views and for the St. Francis Dam Disaster, man!
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