I will admit at the start that I’ve seen very few films from Asia and that I may be assuming a trend that’s not really there. It could also be just bad translation and voice actors that make it more noticeable.
It seems to me that the comedic movies I have seen imported from Asia suffer from an alarming lack of subtlety.
I watched The Host last night, and ended up turning it off partway through because it was so frustratingly stupid. (For reference, the other two movies I’ve noticed this in were Stephen Chow’s Shaolin Soccer and Kung Fu Hustle)
Every character trait is completely overacted. If a character is stupid, he is portrayed as a mouth-breathing simian barely able to rub two neurons together. If a character is authoritarian, he is constantly barking orders, immune to reason. There’s a whiner, who does nothing but complain, and a self-important loser (who also does nothing but complain, but about his time being so important).
Characters in authority tend to berate and disregard others to a comical degree. Not just “Do it because I told you so”, but “You are so stupid to even present an opinion, here are seventeen absurd reasons why you are a waste of humanity, and if you don’t do it we’ll have your family killed”. I can’t tell if the overly obsequious response they get is supposed to be humorous, but it strikes me as pathetic.
I have a feeling that some of this is due to misunderstanding the culture. But the plot seems hamhanded and hackneyed in a way that even of the stupidest American comedies manage to avoid.
Minor spoilers for The Host
[spoiler]We have to have the family go off on their own and be heroes, so when the little girl calls the useless father, a piggish cop refuses to believe him. He refuses to trace the call, because that’s so expensive (this is while they’re quarantining hundreds of people and mobilizing major portions of the military to fight the monster). He claims that it was all just fabricated. The whole time, useless father is holding the phone, but neither of them bothers to look at the list of calls received.
A few minutes later, they infiltrate the military blockade through the brilliant tactic of driving a chemical truck up to the Most Informationally-Unsecured guard in the World, who asks leading questions like “I can see by your truck that you must be a decon crew, so they must have told you that to enter, you have to tell me the password ‘fucking moron’ and continue down the road to the left, where the monster is?”[/spoiler]There are plenty more. Is this just horrendously bad writing, or am I missing something?