Director Minoru Kawasaki is no stranger to the absurd. His earlier comedies, Calamari Wrestler and Executive Koala, both featured giant anthropomorphic creatures injected into straight-faced, real-world situations with a knowing wink to the audience. Tackling fresh territory, the Japanese director's latest oddball effort, The Rug Cop (Japanese title: Zura Deka), features a crack police detective who has harnessed the crime-fighting power of his ill-fitting toupee by using it as a projectile weapon.
In the film, chrome-domed officer Genda (Fuyuki Moto) transfers to a new precinct just as a group of radical terrorists hijack a shipment of uranium. When a DVD arrives at the station demanding five billion yen in exchange for the lives of the entire population of Tokyo, his only choice is to solve the case by working closely with the talents of his bizarre police colleagues -- Tonko, the best tea server in Japan, champion eater Fatty, speedy weightlifter Shorty, ladies' man Gigolo, joke-cracking Gagster, and Big Willie, who lives up to his name when sexually aroused, brandishing a light saber-like phallus that comes in handy during many dicey situations. When the idiosyncratic police task force finally tracks down the bumbling criminals and their makeshift bomb, however, Genda is shocked to discover that the criminal conspiracy is tied to someone from his past.
An energetic, spot-on parody of 1970s cop thrillers and male pattern baldness, The Rug Cop is consistently entertaining, thanks to Fuyuki Moto's flawlessly deadpan performance as Genda. From the opening scene, where he uses his boomerang-like hairpiece to thwart the plans of an insane, bank-robbing puppet, to a later flashback in which he discovers his wig's true significance after being dumped by his longtime girlfriend, Moto plays the beleaguered detective with a tangible pathos. Genda would almost be a tragic figure, if scenes of him wandering the streets, carefully adjusting his slightly askew hairpiece, weren't so amusing. More than a series of visual gags and outlandish leaps of logic, though, the film is also a wry commentary on those who prefer to hide behind deception rather than stay true to who they really are, as underscored by a song about the inherent sadness of hairpieces that serves as the wildly offbeat and undeniably hilarious film's side-splitting centerpiece. The Rug Cop is further proof that Kawasaki is one of the brightest comic filmmaking talents in Japanese cinema today.
Director: Minoru Kawasaki
Screenplay: Minoru Kawasaki, Takao Nakano
Cast: Fuyuki Moto
Producers: Minoru Kawasaki, Masanobu Suzuki
Distributor: The Klockworx Co., Ltd.