MUTAFUKAZ [London Film Festival]

PrintE-mail Written by Peter Turner

The gangster lifestyle so brilliantly captured in Grand Theft Auto San Andreas comes to vivid animated life in the confrontationally titled Mutafukaz, as loser kids get caught between gang bangers and mysterious men in black in a down and dirty city full of bums and corpses in the streets. Throw in a subversive alien invasion and you might be close to comprehending the wacky vibe that Mutafukaz has to offer.

While staring at a pretty girl who sprouts angel wings as she walks by, wide-eyed pizza boy Angelino gets hit by a car and a resulting bump on his little round head. This initiates Angelino having nightmarish visions of tentacled-creatures emerging from seemingly ordinary humans. Shady suited men are suddenly hot on his tail as he goes on the run around the sleazy streets of Dark Meat City with his flaming skull-headed buddy Vinz. But Angelino has a secret of his own and he may be the key to fighting off the impending alien invasion. 

Mutafukaz is even more bonkers than it sounds, pulsating with a dubstep and hip-hop infused score and bursting at the seams with visual invention. If you're left with questions as bullets fly, cockroaches swarm and corpses pile up, the filmmakers have got your back, occasionally flashing up their own questions on screen to ensure you realise that you’re not the only one wondering what the hell you’re watching. 

It's an anarchic ride, probably dreamed up while bingeing on GTA while particularly bloodshot-eyed. Like the game, it's violent, cares very little for its fantasy female characters, and seems to come straight from the mind of a hyperactive teenage boy. The animation is kinetic, especially in foot chases, car chases and ballistic fight scenes, and the blending of an ice cream truck's jingle (what better transport to escape the men in black?) with the bass line of the score is electric and inventive.

Wildly original, but also stuffed with nods to its influences, San Andreas players will recognise a lot of the locations and characters. The hood of Palm Hill features purple clad gangsters fighting on the streets with green clad gangsters and even though everyone speaks French, this is a recognisably dystopian California. While the characters name check GTA, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and more, their televisions reference real world politics and couldn't be any more relevant when it is revealed what the aliens are trying to do to Earth in order for their species to survive and thrive.

It occasionally goes a little too wayward, particularly when introducing mystical warrior wrestlers, but for every silly or sexist misstep, there's always a Shakespeare-quoting gangster round the next corner to slap a grin right back on your face. Mutafukaz is bound to be the coolest animation you'll see this year. 

MUTAFUKAZ / CERT: TBC / DIRECTORS: SHOUJIROU NISHIMI, GUILLAUME RENARD / SCREENPLAY: GUILLAUME REBNARD / STARRING: ORELSAN, GRINGE, REDOUANNE HARJANE / RELEASE DATE: UK RELEASE TBA 



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