Big Man Japan

Metascore
62

Generally favorable reviews - based on 13 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 13
  2. Negative: 1 out of 13

Where To Watch

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Critic Reviews

  1. 90
    Decidedly odd, even by Japanese standards, this mockumentary about an electrically charged, skyscraper-high superhero saddled with misfortune, bad press and even worse TV ratings is tears-down-the-face funny and a genuine, jaw-dropping oddity.
  2. 90
    I hurt myself laughing at this amazingly inventive mockumentary, and because it's so good, I refuse to give away much more than an insistent recommendation.
  3. 88
    Very funny in an insidious way.
  4. 80
    The most impressive special effect here is Mr. Matsumoto's hilariously restrained performance, a tour de force of comedic concision in a movie bloated by increasingly surreal developments.
  5. 80
    Hysterically funny CGI fight sequences, which pit the chubby superhero against a series of creatures so bizarre they'd keep Hieronymus Bosch awake at night.
  6. The film has slow sections that test the viewer's patience. But it also touches on themes of family, heroism and nationalism, and the finale, which has plenty of surprises and rewarding references for fans of the genre, is worth the wait.
  7. 70
    Awfully funny, with surprisingly potent social commentary just underneath the quirkiness.
  8. The effects are reasonably well-created, though hardly transparent. The last 15 minutes of the film spins out into unimaginable realms. Fans of this kind of stuff will leave smitten; those accompanying them to the theatre will have a pretty good time too.
  9. 50
    At nearly two hours, Big Man Japan is clever (in a sick sort of way) but overlong. It needs judicious editing -- more mockumentary, fewer superhero antics.
  10. 40
    Between such shots of inspiration, Matsumoto’s mock-doc framework seems a lazy stock device, interviews playing more dead than deadpan and failing to exceed an over-familiar comic-pathetic attitude toward the lives of functionaries.
  11. When a movie is this strange, it's gotta count for something.
  12. 40
    Matsumoto isn't the first Japanese director to go all meta on the superhero tradition (consider also Takashi Miike's 2004 "Zebraman"), but this work of improbable lunacy may well max out the genre.
  13. But the film written, directed and starring stand-up comic Hitoshi Matsumoto has, like most superheroes, a tragic flaw: It isn't funny.
User Score
5.7

Mixed or average reviews- based on 12 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 8
  2. Negative: 2 out of 8
  1. Jul 17, 2014
    4
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. Big Man Japan (Dai-Nipponjin): 4 out of 10: I had such high hopes for this one; really high hopes. I love monster movies and while the idea that a man turns into a giant to protect Tokyo from the various monsters that attack. This idea, which is kind of Jet Jaguar (Godzilla vs. Megalon) crossed with Apache Chief (Super Friends), seems like perfect Anime material.

    Big Man Japan is a live action mockumentary however. Yes feel free to groan now. Look I loved this is Spinal Tap as much as the next bloke, but the reason Spinal Tap worked was not because it was a fake documentary but because Stonehenge statue was 6 inches tall and in danger of being crushed by dancing dwarfs.

    If you fake a documentary and don't write jokes and funny bits it simply is a boring documentary that isn't true. This whole 'the character and situations provide an inside laugh' does not work. You got to write some bloody jokes.

    Eighty percent of Big Man Japan consists of our hero,who is a dead wringer for Neil (the hippie) from The Young Ones, sitting. Sometimes he sits and rambles on about how bad his life is and sometimes, as God as my witness, he just sits. In what possible universe is this entertainment? The monster stuff tries too hard as well. Okay that is not completely accurate, since the city design is so lacking in detail and believability one must assume it looks that fake on purpose. It is the monsters themselves however that seem to strain to get a laugh. (Ooh a giant hairy scrotum with an extended eyeball.) But at least the monster bits were trying to be funny and in their own way were well done, which is more than can be said for the rest of the film.
    Full Review »
  2. BillyJoeBob
    Sep 7, 2009
    10
    It really is that funny and sad and bizarre favorite of the year.
  3. jonC
    Sep 3, 2009
    10
    Very trippy indeed. watch it when you're high.