Monster X Strikes Back

This movie is almost as random as this site. By default, I have to like it. It's just...I don't even...maybe I should fill you in on the oddity that is Monster X Strikes Back: Attack the G8 Summit. Remember 1967's The X From Outer Space, a kaiju reel about a Martian spore that mutated into a giant chicken lizard? Probably not. It was released in America by AIP (yes, the same company that financed all of those Corman-flavored Poe adaptations), but it has since decamped into the folds of time. I rented it years ago, and I had fun with it. I thought that the monster was cool enough to deserve another stab at cinematic immortality. Apparently, I wasn't alone.

Meet 2008's Monster X Strikes Back. It's not a remake. It's not an official sequel, although it's beginning to be accepted as canon. So what the hell is it? I don't know. Technically, it's a parody that borrows its baddie from another film. This has happened before. 1981's Scared to Death and 1990's Syngenor share the same creature, but apart from cosmetic similitude, the two productions have nothing in common. Now, I won't say that this low-budget raillery improves upon its "source material" because I'm dealing with apples and oranges. The X From Outer Space was a formal, stone-faced sci-fi undertaking; Monster X Strikes Back is a self-aware spoof. They're both entertaining for different reasons.

When leaders from around the world are summoned to discuss political issues at the G8 Summit, an enormous alien invades Japan. Of course, Japan just happened to be the host country for that year's Summit. The high-ranking dignitaries take turns plotting the annihilation of their uninvited guest, but they fail in humorous, yet catastrophic ways (the script actually puts a fresh spin on how we perceive the death toll in a genre film of this nature). Like most comedies, some of the jokes bomb, but I did laugh quite a few times. The humor tickles you with stupidity and cartoonish stereotypes.

You can tell that Monster X Strikes Back was born out of a love for classic kaiju tropes. It may be a parody, but it never struck me as a condescending jab at horror nerds. Having said that, it's far from perfect. The second act loses sight of the main objective. It becomes too sappy, and the pace keels over to pad the running time. While the special effects are cheap in a charming way, I wasn't crazy about Take-Majin's suit. I wasn't crazy about the design either. Try to imagine a golden statue with the visage of George Lopez. Yuck. Lopez be damned, I'm recommending Monster X Strikes Back: Attack the G8 Summit. I'm also recommending The X From Outer Space. Make it a double feature.

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