I like strange things. I really can't stand the ordinary, so this will be a collection of all the weirdo stuff I'm into.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Pakistani Jihad Musicals Vol.1 : International Guerrillas

Pakistan is bizarre.

International guerrillas is an odd combination of the hilarious and the disturbing, and it gives a fascinating insight into modern Pakistan. Pakistan is a country the average American knows very little about. What better way to discover it than a three hour long action adventure musical?

Pakistan lies somewhere both physically and socially between Afghanistan and India. The structure of the film mirrors this. It's about a jihad against supervillian Salman Rushdie, but takes the form of a Bollywood musical. It's a bizarre combination of Muslim vengeance and midriff baring dance numbers. Clearly were not quite dealing with the Taliban here.

The film is extremely low budget, but not quite Turkish cinema low. They don't clip footage from other films like the Turks. The action is terrible, and they repeat shots frequently, but it's passable. You aren't slapping your forehead in disbelief as you might during a Cuneyt Arkin classic like Death Warriors.

The mood is established in the first few seconds of the film. The opening shot is of the Koran on a stone pillar with smoke billowing around it like it was the altar of Crom. This isn't your grandpa's Koran.

Then it abruptly switches to the glitzy palm tree covered coast of Karachi. Hey, who knew Pakistan had beaches?

All the biggest crooks of the world have gathered together to destroy Islam. All the small Islamic states could join together to form a superpower, and that might cut in on their action. The biggest faction is Alim-E-Islam in Pakistan (our boys!). The leader of the crooks looks remarkably like Borat, complete with red cowboy hat. A little theme is started here with crooks wearing cowboy hats. Come to think of it there's another theme being started here where everyone looks like Borat.

Cut to Pakistan. Some local thugs have gathered together in an ultra-modern disco for a little entertainment.

There's no burkas over here! Cue the first musical number.

The hottie dances and sings, distracting the crooks until our hero, quite literally, crashes through the ceiling.

Our hero is there to rob the robbers. In two seconds he empties the safe and joins in the dance number.

What better way to take out a criminal faction than with a musical number. Note : You can tell he's a crook by his cowboy hat.

He has toys that help him like a spraycan to gas everyone , and a stopwatch that makes people explode.

He also has some sweet moves like the rodeo.

There's only one problem. Only the thug leader knows the way out of the disco. I guess the audience just has to accept this as reasonable. Not to be outdone, our hero's brother crashes through the ceiling and lands on the shoulders of the thug leader. Naturally the song and dance continues. If they had more entrances to the disco people wouldn't have to crash through the ceiling all the time.

Finally something everyone can unite their hate against! Someone has challenged the honor of the prophet! Supervillian Salman Rushdies has called the Koran the Satanic Verses! Well, not really, but who needs to read more than the title to know all about it? It's jihad time!!!

The movie is nearly three hours long, and it tends to get bogged down in minutiae. So I'll summarize a few things. Turns out hottie is a cop, and so is our heroes' older brother. The people of Pakistan are so infuriated by The Satanic Verses that massive protests are expected. The corrupt deputy would rather open fire on the crowd than allow disorder (makes sense) and that bothers cop bro. Turns out our heroes aren't huge criminals. They are educated guys who were forced into a life of crime because of the corrupt system and rampant cronyism (perhaps we aren't so different after all!). They decide to give up hood life and go straight. Apparently "going straight" means changing from thief to assassin.

The protests do happen, and the authorities open fire on the crowd. A few relatives are gunned down, so hottie and cop bro throw away their badges and vow the demonstrations will continue until Rushdie's death. The protests ignite a patriotic fury. Instead baking apple pies and slapping jingoistic ribbons on their SUVs, normally secular Pakistani women start wrapping their heads in shrouds. Nothing inspires regression of social norms like unified hate. Everyone decides to ignore the guys that just mowed them down, and go after Salman Rushdie. In fact, one sister-in-law's final wish is for Rushdie's head. So clearly their priorities are in order.

Salman Rushdie isn't a mild mannered author, no sir. He's a criminal mastermind living on his own personal island fortress. Our first glimpse of him is decapitating "those who love Mohammed" so he'll become immortal with their blood. Way to make an entrance.

His top two henchmen are Chief Batu Batu and hottie #2.

At one point Batu Batu dons a Ringo Starr costume.

Hottie #2 gets the next song and dance number and Chief Batu Batu joins in. He does the strangest dance move of all time. He really gives Billy Squire a run for his money. He bends over and hops on one foot spinning around in a circle flapping his arms. In a three hour movie filled with incomprehensible dance moves, this one stands out above them all.

After this bizarre number, what the hell??? The opening credits don't come until 50 minutes into the movie???

In a three hour epic like this one you need a little filler. Filler like motorcycle chases. Our heroes get chased after stealing a truck with at least five antennas on the front of it.

It wouldn't be crappy action film without the staple of Turkish cinema, kicking guys off motorcycles.

Not even an evil genius like Salman Rushdie can survive without allies. Enter : the sheik (with the biggest cigar of all time).

International Guerrillas gives some interesting insight into how the average Muslim feels about the Saudi oil barons. In this film they are portrayed as gross caricatures with giant sunglasses. The Shiek's son's sunglasses even have windshield wipers on them.

At one point even Salman himself says of them, "These two are not Muslims, they are profiteers. Those who love Mohammed do not become the slaves of others for money."

Rushdie didn't get to be the number one criminal mastermind without being savvy. Just when you think you've finally stabbed him to death it turns out to be a body double.

The guerrillas track Salman down to a modern glitzy casino. And not just any casino. The "worlds largest casino cum disco." Huh???

When sneaking into the worlds largest casino cum disco, you want to be discrete. What's more discrete than wearing a Batman costume?

Salman, that sneaky guy, has cloned himself, allowing him to escape yet again. After all, it's only been two hours at this point.

Masters of disguise that they are, the international guerrillas dress up like a hippie street band, complete with keytar.

Their disguises are so good that their sister-in-law doesn't recognize them. She passes right by them, and manages to get herself kidnapped by Salman.

It's pretty interesting. A bunch of the family members in this film are in-laws. I like my in-laws and all, but if they get kidnapped by a supervillian they are on their own.

Salman decides to torture poor sis-in-law with the audiobook of The Satanic Verses.

Sis-in-law would rather be deaf or dead than suffer such a fate. I have to agree with her there.

Rather than let sis get executed, the international guerrillas give themselves up.

Just when we think all hope is lost, sis calls upon Mohammed to save them with what else? A song. They all join in the song, and soon lightning from the sky strikes down and releases them from their chains. There's a giant shootout and all the henchmen are slain.

Verses from the Koran appear in the sky and a booming voice from the heavens commands, "Believe in the Koran!"

In case that wasn't enough to convince him, the Koran itself appears.

It circles above Salman.

Shoots him with lasers.

Finally burning him to a crisp.

Chalk up one for the Koran. The End.


Blogger jadis said...

where'd you get the full version?

8:56 PM

Blogger --dogbowl-- said...

I got it from the late, great Shocking Videos. Unfortunately Shocking Videos closed up shop. It's available at 5 Minutes to Live.


5:17 PM

Blogger mrspank said...

Great review of a movie that sounds beyond campy. I must get my hands on a copy of this sometime... but where??

10:40 AM

Blogger --dogbowl-- said...

Shocking Videos is back from the dead! You can get it there.


2:02 PM

Anonymous knowcode said...

Absolutely hilarious review!

6:36 AM


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