Although I was not as impressed with the French comic adaptation Mutafukaz as I thought I would be, it is by far the better of the two French comic adaptations released this year. I am, of course, referring to the near-unbearable Luc Besson visual masturbatory effort Valerian and the City of A Thousand Planets. While my enjoyment of these two films is entirely different, I still found myself mostly disappointed by Mutafukaz, and that is for one specific reason: the English dub.
English dubs of foreign animation (Japanese or otherwise) have always either been touted as completely superior to their lingual counterparts, or utterly pathetic in their attempt to recreate the dialogue performed by more talented actors and actresses. Save for one character in this film (a skull-headed man who is the best friend of the film’s main character), the entire voice cast were either nigh-unbearable to listen to, or completely unintelligible. I cannot count how many times I could not understand what was being said by more than one character in the film, and most of the time, what they were saying was important to the plot. This is inexcusable, but I am much more saddened that HIFF could not obtain a copy of the film to screen in its original language. Besides this one egregious error, I do not have any other major problems with the film, besides some minor gripes with the writing.
The film can sometimes take unexpected turns into absurdity, and many of the film’s important characters were wholly underdeveloped. As with most anime, the dialogue is occasionally cheesy and melodramatic, but for the story being told, it works for the most part. The main characters were all also given equal time in the comedy spotlight, and the jokes all hit, save for a few, due to the aforementioned hard-to-understand voice acting.
From a visual standpoint, Mutafukaz was everything I wanted it to be and more. The character designs were strange and interesting, the action was exciting (and many times incredibly violent and bloody), and the environments and backgrounds were all beautiful and varied in their own way. The world depicted in this film is one of complete filth and grime, and this aspect of the world shows through the impressive animation work on display. If you ever wish to see Mutafukaz, please seek it out and view it in the language for which it was originally created. The English dub truly does as much of a disservice to the film as it could, and definitely soured my experience with it.