Updated: Feb 9, 2020
M*F*K*Z or Mutafukaz is an inventive, transgressive story that mixes the unapologetic violence of New French Extremity cinema with the imaginative art of anime and hip-hop's gang culture.
Right off the bat, this is not for everyone. The story is about love, friendship, aliens, conspiracy, global warming and family. Critics have the same opinion on this movie: style over substance, wants to be deep without having much to say. To be honest, they're not wrong. But there's so much style in this movie, it's more than forgivable.
The voice acting in this movie is incredible with some of the most recognizable voices in any sort of media lending their voices to the world of Dark Meat City. The Los Angeles influences are heavy with Danny Trejo, Dino Andrade and Vince Staples. Aside from the aforementioned Andrade and Trejo, Giancarlo Esposito, Dascha Polanco and Jorge Gutierrez give the film a distinctively Latinx vibe. Veterans Michael Chiklis and Kenn Michael also appear, adding gravitas to the story.
The actor who really steals the show and is the perfect analogue for this movie is RZA. Sidebar, if anything has RZA in it, it'll be a unique gumbo of genres with nods to references you never think you'd see in the movie. The Man With The Iron Fists introduces a freed black slave navigating feudal China in what feels like a live look-in to Wu-Tang's brain. GI JOE: Retaliation has RZA as the master of Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow, a blind martial arts master obviously in a world not his own. Brick Mansions puts RZA in the shoes of a crime lord ruthless in his altruism and detailed in his cuisine. In M*F*K*Z, he's an obese gang leader who entirely speaks in Shakespearean literature.
This movie is crass, it's violent, it's stylish and it's flashy. This movie is exactly what RZA and his movie strive to be. Similar to Wu-Tang Clan's music, it's a love letter to what the artists love the most. Guillaume Renard and Shojiro Nishimi put a lot of care into this work, detailing their love for Pop-Up Video, They Live, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and pro wrestling. It is kind of a mess, but I think that's why I love this movie so much. They tried a lot of things that are very difficult: adapting an manga into an anime, making a violent cartoon, adding hip-hop with anime, mixing a inner city story with alien invasions. And sure, there's properties that do it better: One Punch Man, Afro Samurai, Samurai Champloo and Attack The Block, respectively. But this is such a heartfelt mix of topics and ideas, it's well worth your time.