Directed by Junya Sakino
Comedy / Drama, 83′
Directed by Junya Sakino, ‘Sake Bomb’ is a satirical comedy commenting on Asian stereotypes in western culture which ignites when Asian-American Sebastian (Eugene Kim) is sent on a road trip with his traditional Japanese cousin Naoto (Gaku Hamada) to help him find an ex-girlfriend.
Summarised, the storyline for ‘Sake Bomb’ is quite generic. This wouldn’t be the first film to feature a man searching for his long lost lover. However, what sets the film apart is its execution. The love story is shadowed by the real theme of the film, which is Asian stereotypes.
This story is told through the eyes of two Asians, one being very traditional and stereotypical, the other having little to distinguish him from typical westerners other than his ethnicity, as it tackles racism from police officers, cultural appropriation of Japanese cultures and the depersonalisation of Asians, showing how they are viewed as exotic or different. Personally, the film was very eye opening, and showed modern day prejudice that is often ignored.
In addition, ‘Sake Bomb’ spends some time focusing on gender issues and homosexuality. Though it is already dealing with quite heavy themes, it does manage to touch on these too; perhaps not in great detail or concluding on some deeper message, but it is worth mentioning, as these are rarely seen in any comedy.
When it comes to characters, Hamada is perfect for Naoto, who is the much more likeable out of the two lead roles. Though Sebastian (Kim) is entertaining, his character is extremely (purposefully) flawed, making him a difficult character to bond with.
Occasionally, Sebastian is the cause for the cruder humour in the movie that begins to cramp the film into a category filled with too many Hollywood comedies, but the true heart of ‘Sake Bomb’ steers it away from being played too cheap.
‘Sake Bomb’ is, without a doubt, entertaining. It’s not a perfect film, but covering a topic that deserves to be heard and having a genuine and believable friendship at its core, it definitely delivers.
‘Sake Bomb’ played at East Winds Film Festival 2013.
Review by Lottie Jane Moran
Buy ‘Sake Bomb’ on DVD