Executive Koala (2005) Poster

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9/10
Lame, funny, lame, hilarious, lame - Loved it!
mortenkommen13 July 2008
OK this is probably not a movie everybody will enjoy. But I did. I loved Calamari Wrestler and I loved Excecutive Koala even more. The simple idea of having an animal in the lead role (and a few supporting roles) works sooo good. I won't reveal the plot here, but what I really loved about this movie, apart for the animal costumes, is all it different settings and themes - mixed with lame humor and animal suits. This is a comedy. But it also a prison movie, a slasher-flick, a musical, a love story, a drama and a Kung-Fu movie. It seems like the director wanted to incorporate as many different genres and settings in this movie in case he never gets to make another movie again (I hope he does). The result is that you never get bored when watching Executive Koala. It's a low-budget flick with ambitions like a Spielberg movie - The end product is hilarious and awesome. Sure the movie is lame - very lame, but in a good way, which can only make you love it!!
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6/10
DePalma for furries
rjyelverton19 May 2009
I'm sure I missed some of the nation-specific satirical barbs in this off the wall Japanese comedy about cutthroat corporate culture and an anthropomorphic koala who may or may not be a killer. To this Western viewer, "Executive Koala" played like an Adult Swim entry with its unfailing, straight faced commitment to the absurd. Trying to cope with the disappearance of his wife, businessman and man-sized koala Tamura attempts to lose himself in corporate negotiations. He increasingly finds himself haunted by memories of violence and develops a tendency to fly into fits of unbridled rage accompanied by blinking, glowing eyes.

I don't want to spoil any of the film's surprises and would advise renters to avert their eyes from the DVD label as it gives away one of the film's best visual gags. Those viewers who complain about the cheap special effects--for instance, the zipper being visible on the Koala's costume--have failed to realize that these are both budget and style choices. Director Kawasaki, who previously brought us "Rug Cop" and "Calamari Wrestler," has developed a cheapo aesthetic and this is an undeniable part of the film's charm. Troma fans are sure to be delighted by Kawasaki, but will find a sweeter, more gentle film in "Koala" than those produced by Kaufman.

But a little of this goes a long way and the film's story is too flimsy to be compelling. The film works to a degree as it continually amps up the absurdity, but the plot is a tired retread of Hithcock themes with more concern about style than storytelling. It's DePalma for furries.
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7/10
85 minutes of Koala-WTF-packed fun and weirdness
Quinoa198412 April 2011
The front of the DVD advertises Executive Koala as being apart of the "Minoru Kawasaki Collection", which made me chuckle twice as, first, I had never heard of him and the DVD assumed he was a director of stature enough to already have a 'collection', and secondly that his collection of films is of the kind of work that makes Japanese entertainment seem as wild and crazy and cute as it is. A sampling of his titles include The Calamari Wrestler, The Rug Cop, and Best Hit! Parade!, and he doesn't seem to be stopping yet, mostly through direct-to-video stuff that Takashi Miike would probably turn down. And with this film he has what is a kind of psycho-Kafka parable with a giant Koala-man fighting for his sanity and justice in a murder case. ... Yeah.

Why a giant Koala? Hey, why the hell not? I love that the director doesn't really explain that there is a giant Koala-Man, nor that his boss is a giant rabbit, nor that there is a small role for a giant Frog who works at a convenience store. Everyone else in the film is human, and with the exception that the Koala is suspected of murdering a girl, and then possibly his ex-wife, or maybe more than that stemming from a childhood of evil, no one takes him being a Koala as not normal. It's just one of those 'things' in Japan, as if the mentality of the Muppets is so straightforward for them, albeit in this case in a dark-comedy-thriller context where the Koala goes insane with red-eyes and KILLS KILLS like a robot.

The film grows to be a big entertainment mostly near the end with a big climactic fight that had me and my friends howling with laughter and cheering. Up until then, it has a curious disposition: it is funny, yes, but it also 'tries' to be funny in some ways that don't work, except maybe in some inside-joke way that Japansese would get and Western audiences would feel out of the loop. But the film has a great charm to it, and knows what it is enough to poke fun at itself (i.e. those flashback scenes the Koala has with his 'romance' stuff), and actually gets oddly dark when the Koala is sent to prison(!) in a fake Alcatraz scenario where he's bullied by everybody else.

Executive Koala is recommendable to certain movie buffs. It's not a movie you tell your mother to watch unless she happens to have an affinity for weird anthropomorphic stories of corporate and psychological horror. But if you're hanging out with friends and want that next rush of crazy-Japanese filmmaking (or for Japan is, um, just another Thursday), it's fun and different. And the Koala-man is actually a good actor! I would credit him but IMDb doesn't provide any names for anyone (perhaps due to it being an anonymity thing, or just because of laziness).
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5/10
Executive Koala (2005)
SnakesOnAnAfricanPlain26 December 2011
Bizarre hardly begins to describe this peculiar offering. Tamura is a divorced company employee about to embark on a new venture with his company. Suddenly is sweetheart is found murdered and he's the prime suspect. Did I mention that Tamura is a koala? No? Oh! The fact that he is a koala doesn't seem to have any bearing on the plot at all. It's more of a strange distraction from the films inability to focus. By the time it gets to amnesia, implanted memories, and a shady past, it is all a bit too much. Certainly enjoyable at times, but when switching from dreamlike martial art sequences and axe murder, you can't really fathom what it's aiming to do.
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A truly unique cinematic experience
dandenholt25 March 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Writer/Director Kawasaki Minoru shot to cult fame with the infamous "Calamari Wrestler" about a wrestling squid, and he's back in anthropomorphic territory with "Executive Koala".

Keiichi Tamura is a hardworking executive in a pickle company, who is making a big merger at work and struggling with memory loss and the mysterious disappearance of his wife three years prior. He's also a koala, which doesn't seem to bother people too much, but then the president of the company is a large white rabbit. Tamura enters the sights of the police when his current girlfriend is found stabbed to death and his murky past seem to imply that he is not the well-mannered Koala he appear to be.

On the surface "Executive Koala" takes the shape of a thriller, but delve into weird psychological territory and spices it all up with quite a few surprising twists and turns. Indeed, you never quite know what to expect next as one bizarre scene follows the next, ranging from romance to creepy horror and a musical trial. It doesn't make a hell of a lot of sense and becomes weirder and weirder, but then you were never really gonna get a normal movie when the main character is a suit wearing Koala.

A cross between magical realism and surrealist expressionism, "Executive Koala" might be weird for the sake of weird, but unlike David Lynch and his sort, who take that thing very serious under the guise of art, "Executive Koala" is inherently silly and never tries to hide or excuse that.

"Calamari Wrestler" had a more straight forward and accessible plot and made sense within it's narrative universe. "Executive Koala" doesn't, but then it isn't supposed to. It just comes at you with a wealth of ideas and odd quirky silliness, but you can't help but feel that it's a joke on people who would take this sort of surrealism too serious and engage in deep analysis.

"Executive Koala" strength is it's truly quirky reality and one-of-a-kind expression, all the while sending you in one direction wondering where it's going until you realize, "Hey, it's a giant talking koala" and you cannot help but laugh at even the darkest subject matter.

You will probably come away wondering what it was all about, but still having been thoroughly entertained and laughed heartily at the goofy silliness of the whole thing. But that's a good and very charming thing.

Highly recommended.
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4/10
Eh, not horrible.
iandaemon20 January 2009
I have no idea why people say ''Executive Koala'' is hard to understand. Almost everything is explained, bluntly, and the story is pretty linear. Aside from being unfinished, this movie is pretty simple.

Described as a ''psychological thriller wrapped up in the packaging of a nonsense comedy--with giant animal characters'', I expected this to be humorous, at least slightly. No. ''Executive Koala'' wasn't even humorous accidentally! (Well, I guess if you find ax murder hilarious it could be.)

So it's not funny. But this is supposed to be a convoluted storyline that (in the words of one reviewer) ''...changes direction frequently, especially in the thirrd act, when the plot changes several times...''. Sorry, it fails there too.

I found the plot very linear, the story unfinished, and the movie fairly...simple. There are no ''plot twists and turns'', nothing ''funny'', and definitely nothing nonsensical.

In the end,''Executive Koala'' isn't a total waste of time, it's just EXTREMELY misrepresented by its advertising.
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Unapologetically stupid!
MartinHafer13 March 2015
Minoru Kawasaki is a director who has made a career out of making insanely awful films. Now I am not talking about awful like an Ed Wood film, but awful because the plot ideas are completely insane to begin with and cannot be anything other than awful. But there are many of us who LOVE insanely awful films because they can be absolutely hilarious and that's why the film Executive Koala is another addition to my"you ain't seen nothing' yet" series.

The film is about a hardworking and dedicated executive in Japan named Keiichi. He's an important man in his company, the envy of his co-workers and women think he's incredibly sexy. There's only one problem....he's a giant koala!!! Throughout this entire movie Keiichi is played by some guy in a big koala suit...but he's not all. There also are, for no reason whatsoever, a boss who's a giant white bunny and a guy who works in the local convenience store who is a frog...and all the rest of the characters are humans. And, I should point out, this is NOT a cartoon!! Does it sound 100% insane? Yep...because it is!!

Unfortunately for nice-guy Keiichi, soon his girlfriend is found dead--stabbed to death by some maniac! And, with Keiichi's old wife missing for three years!! The police naturally think this marsupial is responsible and after a while Keiichi himself starts to wonder if perhaps he is as well. Is he a serial killing maniac or is this some elaborate plot being organized by forces of evil?! See the film and find out for yourself....if you dare!!

If you think that this could be a good film or makes any sense. you are wrong. The film simply never tries to be coherent. The story is punctuated with bizarre and bloody dream sequences, there is also a hand puppet (Momo, the flying squirrel) and an ending that only would make sense if you are under the influence of LSD or have had a recent severe head injury. But, oddly, I liked it. The film has a wonderfully silly and wicked sense of humor and is also a lot of fun. However, people who like conventional films need not bother-- you really have to have a willingness to just turn off your brain and enjoy!

For lovers of weirdness, I'd give this one a 9. For 'normals', I'd say a 1...at best.
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3/10
A weird unsatisfying experience
gtamaniak-1630013 September 2019
Warning: Spoilers
The 2nd film in Minoru Kawasaki's anthropomorphic working animal history is a waste of time. First of all, I would really like to point out that the set decorators were lazy and didn't even put the effort to make the koala's and the other anthropomorphic characters' lips move. On the previous film with the calamari that worked because the mouth was on the lower part of the costume but here it's like watching a cutscene from those early ps2 3D games. Next we have the unexplained condition of the protagonist which I will assume is disassociative personality disorder but the psychologist doesn't really make it clear and the injection that erases some of the Koala's memories is just lazy writing unlike Memento where the director gives a good reason for the memory loss. There some fighting sequences and... You guessed it, they suck. They are amateurish, contain lousy sound effects and the actors don't even touch each other. I know it is a low budget movie and I sometimes like the campiness of it but some aspects of it frustrate me. The ending and plot twists are just rushed and hard to follow. What I mean is that after Koala fights his wife and passes out. The next day they make amends and koala proposes to her just like that and her korean boyfriend just doesn't argue with that, which is senseless and after that we get the end credits. The film does use the infamous it was all a dream plot twist which caught me of guard but still made me confused about what is happening IRL. I would much rather prefer a comedy,drama just like the calamari prequel instead of a bizarre thriller like this one. Not recommended.
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10/10
Bear with me...
poe4261 June 2011
Warning: Spoilers
While CALAMARIE WRESTLER wasn't one of my favorite movies, it wasn't unwatchable, either; EXECUTIVE KOALA, on the other hand, happens to be one of the funniest movies I've seen in quite some time. A grex of, say, David Lynch's RABBITS, Peter Jackson's MEET THE FEEBLES, and GREG THE BUNNY (who prefers the term "fabric-American" or "muppet-American" or somesuch designation to being called a "puppet"), EXECUTIVE KOALA features a salary man who just happens to be a koala bear. Though there's no pandaring here, EXECUTIVE KOALA is the kind of kid's movie kids LOVE. Sure, it's a murder mystery and our hero's in a bit of a pickle, but kids also happen to love HOODWINKED; 'nuff said? Or IS it...? "It's not black and white," one detective tells Tamura (the title character): "It's GRAY- like a koala." Tamura's blackouts leave him a bit flustered as to his whereabouts on the night of the murder: is he innocent, or is he being given the old GASLIGHT treatment? "You're as normal as the next koala," his psychiatrist tells him. EXECUTIVE KOALA is a psykoalagical thriller to rival the likes of GASLIGHT, SUSPICION, and PSYCHO II (and there's even a very funny homage to John Carpenter's HALLOWEEN) and Momo the squirrel is just too cute for words. Writer-director Minoru Kawasaki has given kids of all ages a glorious gift. Don't miss it.
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3/10
Interesting idea, poor writing, and boring.
yauyuso21 August 2010
The idea of putting an actor in a furry koala suit in a movie and giving him the lead role does sound appealing. However, the lack of serious direction really ruins the idea. This is a mystery/ psychological thriller themes movie. But is also tried to include elements like martial arts/ kung fu, humor and light hearted musical, etc. It made the movie loses it's focus and audience like me will be more confused than entertained. Some of the elements like the killer traveling on off screen were too repetitive. It might be a cool effect for the first and second time but doing the same thing a couple of scenes and repeats at least 2 times per scene really worn out the effect. I always won't understand why Japanese movies often lack the seriousness. It's like the writer can't come up with a complete story for a good idea he had. There's interested characters (actors in animal suits)like the Koala, the bunny , the convenient store frog, etc. None of them were able to stand out because the lack of energy the scripts has for the characters.

I don't really like the movie and I can't think of a reason to recommend it to anyone. I see it as a failed attempt for making a horror/comedy movie.
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8/10
One of the most absurd movies I've seen
troops7911 July 2009
This movie is so very special. One minute I was thinking it was the worst movie I'd seen and a minute later think it was one of the funniest. Its a strange one, that is for sure.

I've not seen much, if any, Japanese movies so how much of the bad acting is just bad acting or cultural or deliberate, I can't say. Either way, it amused me. As did the pure absurdity of the whole story and where it went. I wouldn't call it a thriller cause I wasn't on the edge of my seat but I definitely wondered where we were going. And when we got there it wasn't what I expected, but isn't that what you want in a movie? I'd like to give a better description of this thing but it is so absurd and so random that I don't know where to begin. If you are wondering if you should watch it, let me put it this way. If you are a fairly mainstream movie going type person the answer is no. If you are a fan of the weird, the funny, the absurd, the surreal, or the slightly off kilter then i say go for it. Was it a good story? eh. Was I entertained? Absolutely.
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