Reuniting stars Galabru, Bohringer, and Besson from their film Subway the year before turned out to be a real win, and while this film has never been officially released in the U.S. until now, it should be a fantastic discovery for most viewers.
A mentally ill genius creates a super weapon that he uses to kill newscasters on the air, and a detective is put on the case to do the seemingly impossible: to find him.
From one day to the next, middle-aged inventor Albert (Michel Galabru) is laid off from the company he’s worked at for over 20 years. Enraged, he goes home and sits in front of his TV set and begins watching daytime television for the first time in his life because he’s got nothing better to do. He despises it. It literally drives him out of his mind, and he comes up with a plan: He creates a complex weapon in his room and he figures out how to use it. He aims the ray gun (I don’t know what else to call it) at his TV set, using all of his gadgets and gizmos and radio waves, and he pulls the trigger while a boring, “ugly” newscaster on the news is droning on and on, and the newscaster is blown apart on live television! It’s a shocking act, and the whole world sees it, but there’s no explanation. There’s no projectile, there’s no weapon or clue to be found. A detective named Pascot (Richard Bohringer) is put on the perplexing case, and he can’t figure it out. When it happens again a few nights later, a task force is put in place, but then Albert – from the privacy of his own home – kills a third person on the air, causing panic in France. Pascot comes up with an emergency plan to unite the most brilliant minds – 50 of them – in France to see how the killer is executing people live on the air, and when they reveal a theory that proves that it’s possible to do what Albert is doing, they have to figure out how to trap him before he does it again, and then pinpoint his exact location so that they can catch him. Their plan is mostly a success, but Albert gets spooked by the reverse effect his gun has on him, and he murders his housemates in cold blood (one of whom is his niece), trying to make a dash to escape, but by then the intrepid detective is on to him … but is the detective savvy enough to catch him, or fall prey to his maniacal brilliance?
From producer Luc Besson and director Didier Grousset, Kamikaze is a fascinating and well directed thriller that borderlines on satire and grim character study in the vein of any number of lonely and mentally ill killer movies, but it has a highly unique sense of style and way of presenting itself. It doesn’t waste any time at all at a tight 90 minutes, and Eric Serra’s pulsing jazz / rock score really amps up the flavor of the film. Reuniting stars Galabru, Bohringer, and Besson from their film Subway the year before turned out to be a real win, and while this film has never been officially released in the U.S. until now, it should be a fantastic discovery for most viewers. I saw this film close to 15 years ago in a Japanese issued DVD, and I was instantly a fan, so it gives me great pleasure to review it here and share my enthusiasm for it.
Kudos to Kino Lorber for bringing Kamikaze to Blu-ray for the first time in a shining high definition transfer, and it comes with a new audio commentary by a film historian, plus interviews with the director, a documentary, and a bonus interview, and the trailer.