Things get pretty shitty in Jo Beom-jin’s directorial debut.
“When we became addicted to the Juicybars, we changed into freaks! We were flushed out. Abandoned. And now we can’t even defecate. But now we are free. Free from a system that gives us shit for taking our crap! Their number two makes us number one!”
That’s the sort of dialogue you apparently should expect in a shit-reliant dystopia. It seems that, according to animated sci-fi Aachi & Ssipak In the future, the world will be completely depleted on fuel sources, but scientists will have managed to find a method to get energy from human excrement. As you do. This movie centres around the two titular protagonists, who deal in black market Juicybars – highly addictive popsicles rewarded to citizens for their fuel production. After a series of events involving porn producer Jimmy, the duo meet Beautiful, a porn star whose shit is apparently top-tier, and have to fight off the Diaper Gang, led by the Diaper King, a group of blue mutants who are addicted to Juicybars and … oh god, I can’t keep going with this synopsis.
The biggest selling point for Aachi & Ssipak is probably its premise, which promises to be raunchy, over-the-top and gross. And … I mean, yeah. It is. To an extent. The movie is at its best in the first half, when the ideas are fresh and wild: we open with an exciting heist featuring the Diaper Gang, which goes to hell after cyborg cop Geko shows up and blows everyone away. Then we’re treated to the movie’s central concept, which is also quite fun at first. There’s definitely a lot you can do with a stupid premise like this, but once everything’s been introduced the film just sort of goes the way you’d expect any film like this to go.
Aachi & Ssipak is fine, and I’d imagine it could become something of a cult classic if it isn’t already but it’ll probably wear out its welcome sooner than expected. The characters are all a bit flat and uninteresting, defined mostly by a single trait or two, and as a result their interactions aren’t incredibly deep or meaningful. In a lot of ways, it reminds me of Redline which was a film that did the similar high-concept, action-sci fi with fairly flat characters. But whereas Redline gave us a couple of likeable leads and kept upping the insanity, Aachi & Ssipak just sort of fizzles out, leaving us with the two titular characters who are just likeable enough so we don’t turn it off.
Where it succeeds, though, is in its animation, which is limited in its style but manages to feel adrenaline-fueled and epic when it needs to. The action scenes are by far the most entertaining part of the film, with a tonne of wild and imaginative angles, and over-the-top movement. Along with director Jo’s willingness to imbue scenes with bright, saturated colours, the movie at least looks like a hell of a lot of fun. The character design might not necessarily be up your alley, but it fits with the weird sci-fi ugly aesthetic within both the design and the story itself, so it’s not like it’s jarring or anything. Once you get past some of the stranger designs, it’s actually quite fun to look at.
Aachi & Ssipak won’t be to everyone’s tastes. The jokes are juvenile, the story is lame and the pacing is all over the place but it has enough going for it that I didn’t hate sitting through it. Like I said, it looks pretty good and is even very inventive in a lot of ways. Just don’t expect anything grand out of it. I mean, it’s a movie that’s loudly, proudly, all about shit.
Verdict: Aachi & Ssipak is, strangely, equal parts nothing special and strangely distinct.
Overall entertainment: 5/10
Shit jokes: Lots
Moral of the story: Hahaha … moral.
Dub: Wow, it’s pretty bad.
Director: This is his only film, I wonder what he’s up to now.
Aachi and Ssipak (2006)
Aslo known as: 아치와 씨팍
Director: Jo Beom-jin
Writers: Kang Sang-kyunm Jeong Hye-won, Jo Beom-jin
Ryoo Seung-bum – Aachi
Im Chang-jung – Ssipak
Hyun Young – Beautiful
Shin Hae-chul – Diaper King