That “Trigun’s” still a puzzler, though. Director Satoshi Nishimura based the film on a manga series of the same name, but what’s Trigun specifically? My guess would be that it’s the twin-sunned planet where the action takes place, but I couldn’t swear to it. Maybe it’s an actual gun. But it ultimately doesn’t matter, since Trigun: Badlands Rumble cranks out so many outlandish episodes and peculiar characterizations, a more conventional title would only bring the film down to Earth.
The hero, for instance, is a notorious outlaw known as “Vash the Stampede, the Humanoid Typhoon.” Vash’s skills as a gunslinger live up to his larger-than-life reputation, but in person, he turns out to be a goofball in an oversized red trenchcoat, round-rimmed glasses and spikey blonde hair. No ruthless desperado, Vash subscribes to a kind of kamikaze pacifism, and he comically interjects himself into violent confrontations to defuse high tensions and protect human life. Jackie Chan would flourish in a role with such quirky motivation.
The film opens with a massive, flamboyant bank robber named Gasback who monologues in mid-heist how he steals not just for monetary gain, but out of a sense of showmanship. Gasback’s flunkies turn on him, however, and the stick-up man survives only due to Vash’s timely but maddening intervention.
Bafflingly, Trigun then leaps forward 20 years (even though Vash doesn’t seem to age a day). Vash, Gasback and other characters converge on Macca City, a sprawling combination of Wild West outpost and steampunk metropolis, where Gasback’s treacherous colleague Cain Kepler runs a giant, light-bulb-shaped power plant and has raised a colossal statue in his own honor. Two squeaky-voiced female insurance agents want to protect the statue, Gasback seeks revenge on Cain and a gorgeous, taciturn redhead named Amelia tracks Gasback.
Like Rango this year, Trigun takes cowboy movie clichés and turns them upside down. Characters wear old-timey Western outfits, travel on a “sand steamer” into town and occasionally use reptilian beasts as steeds. Macca City’s seedy neighborhoods include surreal details like a robots that resemble trash receptacles with human legs and fishnet stockings. One religious-minded bodyguard carries a bullet-and-bomb launching weapon the size and shape of a crucifix.
Viewers with a grounding in the Trigun comic books may have the advantage at untangling the implications of the character twists. Newcomers should simply accept the loopy plotting as a given and wallow in the increasingly wild set pieces, which culminate with a spectacular robbery and a Road Warrior-style chase scene. Trigun flirts with incoherence, but goes all the way with animated spectacle.
Trigun: Badlands Rumble. 3 stars. Directed by Satoshi Nishimura. Opens Fri., July 8. At Plaza Theatre.
Deal will skate. You heard it here first.
On second thought, the only thing that keeps Atlanta from being perfect is that it's…
"Thank goodness the FDA is doing something about this problem!"
Cosign...ditto...hell yeah, etc.
"Also I just don't Obama being capable of going after Deal. He is simply too…
"the human centipede." I'm calling bullshit. You don't have to watch that thing. You just…
It's a real crisis because, you know, the sea level has NEVER become lower or…