• Through the Trees

TIFF 2020 review: Get the Hell Out

Updated: Sep 12, 2020

I-Fan Wang's blood splattered martial arts romzomcom is an entertaining debut feature

Written by Katherine McLaughlin

The notorious, headline-grabbing brawls in Taiwanese parliament are parodied with a gonzo energy in I-Fan Wang’s entertaining debut feature film. This blood splattered romzomcom throws everything at the wall and displays technical ingenuity as it switches between breathless martial arts sequences, slapstick and animation, all while mischievously poking fun at brazen political corruption. At the start of the film a safety warning plays out stating, “A wrong movie makes you suffer for only 90 minutes. A wrong government makes you suffer for four years.”

The MPs are all presented as cartoonish buffoons, the worst of the bunch dressed up like The Joker from the 1960s Batman series and his staff in gaudy designer gear. Hsiung (Megan Lai) is an outlier who thought she could make a difference to her community by entering the profession to halt the construction of a chemical plant. When she’s fired from her job, she enlists security guard Wang (Bruce Ho), who has recently gained popularity as an internet meme, to run for MP and act as her puppet.

Hsiung’s scheme doesn’t go as planned when a rabies virus that turns people into raging idiots and flesh-eating mutant zombies infects the government. The building is quickly secured so no one can escape and the typical zombie lore is employed with a twist. Wang’s blood acts as a defence weapon against the zombies, burning their skin like acid. It also proves to be an effective antidote – which of course those in power violently pursue as a way to gain dominance and money.

Films like Edgar Wright’s Shaun of the Dead and Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World plus Takashi Miike’s Yakuza Apocalypse spring to mind while watching this ambitious first feature. Director, I-Fan has created a Troma-like playground for his colourful characters to pit it out, and the talented ensemble cast are all joyfully game which makes this a fun watch even if it feels a bit stretched out. Beneath all the fast-paced action and satire lies a sincere call for change that references Ibsen’s Pillars of Society. Get the Hell Out strikes a good balance between enjoyably silly and politically minded, with the film an impressive calling card for its director.

You can watch Get the Hell Out at TIFF: https://www.tiff.net/events/get-the-hell-out

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