Boogie (2009)
By: Stuart Giesel on May 26, 2012  | 
Icon (Australia) | Region B | 1.78:1, 1080p | English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 | 85 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Director: Gustavo Cova
Starring: Pablo Echarri, Nancy Dupláa, Nicolás Frías
Screenplay: Marcelo Paez-Cubells
Country: Argentina / Mexico
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Boogie tells the straightforward tale of a misogynistic, thuggish and absurdly violent bounty hunter/hit man named Boogie who becomes entangled in the plot of a witness who is soon to stand trial against dwarf-like criminal boss Sonny Calabria. Basically, Boogie is hired to locate the witness, a former girlfriend of the boss named Marcia, and dispose of her before she can stand trial. Instead, he turns the tables on Calabria, whilst being set upon by various goons as well as an athletic assassin known as Blackburn.

And, er, that's it. For much of the running time in this animated film when we're not subjected to Boogie's horrifyingly outdated opinions about women or his psychological abuse of Marcia, the screen is liberally splattered with all manner of comic violence. And it should work, but it doesn't really click. Boogie (or as he's known, Boogie "the oily") apparently appears in a series of comic strips in Argentina, and the character himself seems to be styled in the vein of Clint Eastwood - indeed, for its English dub, the voice supplied is a raspier version of Eastwood's Dirty Harry Callahan. I can't say whether Boogie the film is a faithful translation of the character from the printed page to the screen; if it is, then I can certainly see the appeal of the character as it might be in the comic strips, but used in a full-length feature film you see that there really isn't enough to the character to sustain it.I should have loved the character of Boogie. He uses violence to solve all his problems, from dealing with mafia thugs to a grouchy old man in a diner who refuses to pass the salt to a shrew of a woman who lectures him about the dangers of smoking. His overreaction to the most meaningless of situations is amusing. But beyond the gruff talk and his strong-arm tactics there's nothing else of note about the character. He's a piss-take of Dirty Harry and American action films in general, I get it. But so what? He's not endearing in the slightest, and about as appealing a central character as Family Matters' Steve Urkel. And when you base an entire film around someone like Boogie that's a bit of a problem. Perhaps fans of the comic strip will find more to appreciate.

Beyond the problems of the character, Boogie the film is decently made for a low budget animated film. Some of the animation veers dangerously close to Flash animation territory, but for the most part it's cleanly done (and especially shines on Blu-Ray) and the character design is quite nice. Bodies and faces are garishly and grotesquely out of proportion, lending a chucklesome vibe to the scenes of grisly carnage. And believe me, there's a lot of violence in Boogie. People aren't just shot in the chest and slump down bleeding to death; no, their heads are blown off, arms are chopped off, skulls smashed in - it's like an animated Paul Verhoeven film where he was given complete creative freedom to exorcise his demons in cartoon form. The final ten minutes or so are a cavalcade of gory bliss. But the gore isn't in the same league as something like Genocyber; because of the cartoonish character design the violence isn't as shocking as the filmmakers might have wanted it to be.

But that's it. There's nothing else in Boogie that really stands out. The plot is pretty thin, and although the references to films like Apocalypse Now, Dirty Harry, The Blues Brothers, The Good The Bad And The Ugly, Sin City and the like are welcome, you get the feeling that beyond the film being an indictment on American entertainment and its gung-ho culture, Boogie has nothing to say. It would have helped if, as a satire, Boogie was less overt about its influences and a bit smarter in how it ribbed on other action and crime films that are far, far better than Boogie could ever hope to be.

Still, for those who are in the mood for some mindless entertainment you could do worse than Boogie. The animation style is quite neat (though some scenes are quite sparse and some of the 3D car modelling is a bit ropey) and the English dubbing isn't as awful as these things tend to be. However the dialogue is pretty dire, though that might be due to the English translation and the fact that the dubbers have to match the dialogue with their characters' mouths - you want to kick Boogie in the face whenever he utters what I assume to be his Dirty Harry-style tagline "there are two ways of doing this, but the result will be the same". Blegh.

Ultimately for fans of the character you're probably aware of what you're getting with an animated movie of Boogie the oily, and you'll undoubtedly appreciate the character's sadistic approach to every facet of his life. He's unapologetically brutal, sexist and greedy, about as un-PC as you can get. Connoisseurs of animated films be warned, however - Boogie is pretty rough around the edges, and the plot, dialogue and characterisation is bare-bones only. It's entertaining up to a point, so your enjoyment will vary depending on your tolerance for cartoonish bloody violence. It's safe to say that the film would probably work better in its 3D incarnation.
Given its low-budget origins the film is quite striking from an aesthetic perspective, although the overuse of the sun flare filter is annoying. On Blu-Ray the picture is clean and attractive, though there is some slight anti-aliasing in a few scenes.

The local Boogie 3D release contains both the 2D and 3D versions of the film. I wasn't able to view the 3D version due to the fact I don't have the proper setup, but I would expect that the film's elements and cardboard cut-out visual style would lend itself nicely to a 3D presentation.
The audio is punchy, with meaty gun sounds and the accompanying sound effects suitably wet and grisly. Music is pretty unremarkable, but the overall mix is well done and the dialogue is nice and clear (though given the quality of some of the lines and the voices of the dubbers this isn't always a good thing). It would have been nice to view the film with its original Spanish audio track accompanied by English subtitles, but there's no option to do so.
Extra Features
The Blu-Ray gives an option for viewing Boogie in its 2D or 3D incarnations. Beyond that, the disc has no extra features other than some trailers at the start for The Tree of Life, Tucker and Dale vs Evil and several other films.
The Verdict
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
Boogie will undoubtedly be hailed by fans of the comic strip as a brilliant translation from page to screen; everyone else will probably wonder what the hell the fuss is about, as it is ultimately a straightforward tale of a sociopath cutting his way through hordes of criminals (and citizens) in as bloody a manner as possible. Like a cheap and fatty dessert, it's entertaining enough while it lasts, but you wind up regretting that it wasn't a more significant experience, and it's forgotten as soon as it's finished. Considering its low budget what's there on screen is quite impressive, but it's just a shame the creators didn't spend more of their money on a stronger screenplay.

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