A unique movie to be sure, Hold Up Down uses a Pulp Fiction-esque formula in an attempt to create a wacky, all-over-the-place comedy. For the first and second act the movie is fairly successful, but for the ending, what some would call the most important part, is where it all goes wrong. Color me disappointed.
Brace yourselves folks, because Hold Up Down is almost as hard to explain as it was to watch. Meaning that a lot of stuff happens in the movie, but most of it for no seemingly good reason. Right off the bat we're following two of the many main characters, dressed up in Santa Claus outfits preparing to rob a bank. After the hold-up, the two bandits run off and into the subway station to stash the cash in a station locker. Unfortunatley they don't have the change to lock it up, so they bother homeless musician Koichi (Okada Junichi) for his spare change. The men threaten Koichi, resulting in another foot chase in which Koichi is hit by a speeding police car (with our two other main characters). Our main hobo ends up with the key to the bank heist money, but the two police officers think he's dead. Now we meet a young man who is questioning his faith after an unfortunate incident at his church. His path crosses with the homeless man Koichi, and due to Koichi's...rustic appearance, the young man believes Koichi to be Jesus. So now we have two cops and two robbers racing to get to the stolen money in the station locker, and a young man on a spiritual journey with whom he believes to be Jesus, but is really just a homeless musician. Everyone crosses paths at one point or another throughout the film, and they all eventually come together in the end. In this case however, that isn't a good thing.
Forgive the lack of name-dropping in my review, but the characters in this movie never use their names so it was close to impossible to find out who played who. Actors aside, the story of Hold Up Down is actually really fun, in a quirky, nonsensical kind of way. It's amusing to watch everything that happens to Koichi the hobo, and a lot of the action and comedy is incredibly over-the-top. Suspend disbelief for the first hour and a half of the movie and you'll have a great time with it, but it's in the final act that everything goes straight to hell. To say the final act came out of left field would be an understatement, and to be honest, it just seemed like a last minute attempt at getting all the characters together in one spot just for the heck of it. It really didn't serve any purpose and to be honest, it ruined the movie for me.
I really wanted to like Hold Up Down, and for most of the time I did. I don't need a movie to be perfect to find it worthy of a purchase, because let's be honest, a perfect movie is strictly based on personal opinion. However, when one part of the movie is just so bad and the complete opposite of the rest of the movie, you can't look past this "flaw" for the sake of adding it to your collection. Hold Up Down succeeds in getting your hopes up, only to bring them to a crashing halt. (Lee)
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