R100 (2013) The title means “Restricted for everyone under 100 years of age.” But that’s meant tongue-in- cheekly. Trust me, this is a J-film that doesn’t compromise yet still won’t gross out more mild viewers.
It’s no secret that the Japanese churn out some of the most watchably weird movies in the entire world. Trouble is it’s often hard to get a lot of cinephiles to share these little gems with you because some people can’t stomach movies featuring grotesque bodily modifications, tentacled creatures committing rape or people eating aborted fetuses like dumplings.
Even those people will be able to sit all the way through R100. This little honey is largely a conceptual assault instead of a parade of gore, and is actually milder than most R-rated horror films these days.
In fact the movie has more in common with horror than erotica despite its joyously off-kilter premise. That premise: a middle-aged Japanese salesman named Katayama signs a contract with a worldwide S&M business. That contract permits them to have their black-clad, whip-wielding beauties turn up at any time they please to smack around, kick and humiliate the protagonist.
There’s nothing in this film regarding fetishes that involve kissing or licking any body parts and certainly no sex of any kind. The Japanese salesman who signed on for abuse is into pain, pure and simple. A long line of sexy dominant women show up to harass and torment the man at all hours, slapping him, kicking him and beating him with various implements. As I said, it’s more like a horror film in its approach and structure.
Our hero Katayama plays every scene with a stone face that not even Buster Keaton could have maintained, which adds to the weirdness and the fun. He wears the same facial expression when he’s conversing with his son and father-in- law that he wears when he’s getting kneed in the groin over and over again by a gorgeous young woman.
When one of the unexpected assaults from the sexy sadists accidentally damages merchandise intended for Katayama’s son he feels uncomfortable and tries to back out of the contract. As you can expect, that is absolutely NOT permitted and again the film goes on to play more like a horror movie than any sort of kinky erotica.
When the ladies even start showing up in his place of employment to abuse him, Katayama turns to the police, who prove incapable of helping. Eventually a man claiming to represent a secret government agency begins covertly contacting our main character, trying to convince him that he can help.
Things eventually come to all-out war between Katayama and the S&M business as punitive measures are taken against his family members. Events become increasingly chaotic as the film hurls toward its hilariously demented ending, involving outrageous violence but no bloodshed.
There are plenty of nice touches scattered throughout R100. For one thing the movie presents a nice, original way of depicting an erotic buzz; not an orgasm, mind you, just an erotic buzz.
Another of my favorite bits was a recurring meta joke about a group of Japanese film executives who are screening R100 and who take frequent smoke breaks to discuss the weirdness unfolding onscreen. The Japanese do meta even better than they do weird, it seems. And I don’t think I’ll ever again listen to Beethoven’s Ode to Joy without thinking of R100.
Obviously I loved this movie and I will mention once again that, despite all the deranged CONCEPTS explored in the film, what goes on in the action is mild enough for even the most squeamish horror fan to handle.
And stick around for an enjoyable post-credits scene.
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