Julien Neaves, Editor
When it comes to social satire sometimes you have to go to extremes to get your point across. And for Canux Pictures short N.U.N.S. with Nunchucks they went extreme camp and extremely weird.
The film, directed by Lorenzo Gutiérrez and based on a script he co-wrote with Vincenzo Nappi, is set in a distant future in the city of Los Mutantes and focuses on two spies from the National Union of National Spies (the titular N.U.N.S) who recruit a female wrestler to take down the radical right wing group the Catholic Association of Quebec (C.A.Q.) and it’s bigoted and oppressive leader Jeanne Versacon. The film had its premiere last month at the South Florida-based Flamingo Film Festival.
It’s difficult to know where to start because there is a lot going on here. And I mean A LOT. The look of the film has a grainy, grindhouse quality like something out of an old school exploitation film mixed with some 60s Batman nods and a 1980s sitcom freeze frame thrown in for good measure. The music is an odd blend of heavy rock, 60s-era psychedelic pop, and Middle Eastern influences. And the world of this film is downright bonkers. You have mutants, including one guy that looks a Mugato from Star Trek: The Original Series, a spymaster wearing a luchador mask, a female spy with mutant powers (I won’t spoil what they are), a henchman with a laser gun, and a character who may or may not be the literal Jesus. You will be saying “what the hell?” quite a bit while watching this one.
Patty Keach plays the loud, bigoted, eye-patch wearing leader of the C.A.Q. Jeanne Versacon and the actress fully commits to the full-tilt camp tone, gloriously leaving no scene unchewed. There is nothing subtle about this film and it wears its messaging on its sleeves. Versacon is a walking caricature of the far right, complaining that, “It’s tough time to be a white Catholic in Quebec” and demonising immigrants, the later activity sadly all too frequent in the real world. It is no coincidence that the N.U.N.S. leader and lead agent are both Spanish-speakers. The group has to convince the white Betty Powell why it is necessary to take down the C.A.Q., which may be a metaphor for non-immigrants not fully comprehending the plight of those affected by xenophobia.
I enjoyed Natasha Perry-Fagant as Betty Powell as she plays her with both hilarious incredulity and wonderfully over-the-top determination. The character is the most normal in this wacky world (which, mind you, is not saying much) and acts as something of a stand-in for the audience.
The film eventually delivers on its title with one absurd nun-on-thugs fight scene (Warrior Nun, eat your heart out) and ends with one totally insane twist. And really, I would have been disappointed if it didn’t. So yeah, N.U.N.S. with Nunchucks is a completely wacky film with a not-so-subtle message that succeeds at both entertaining and incisively lampooning.
Editor Jules’s Score: 7 out of 10
For my review of Fried Barry, another trippy film, you can click here. Or for more satire you can check out my review of Borat Subsequent Moviefilm by clicking here.
Julien “Editor Jules” Neaves is a TARDIS-flying, Force-using Trekkie whose bedroom stories were by Freddy Krueger, learned to be a superhero from Marvel, but dreams of being Batman. I love promoting Caribbean film (Cariwood), creating board games and I am an aspiring author. I say things like “12 flavours of awesome sauce”. I can also be found posting about TV and movie memes, news and trailers on Facebook at Movieville. And to stay on top of all Redmangoreviews articles you can like and follow us on Facebook here.