Top Knot Detective (2017) Review

A mockumentary about an imaginary and insane Japanese detective show, Top Knot Detective gets its name from the Australian title Ronin Suiri Tentai was broadcast under in the 1990’s where it became a huge cult hit.

Two decades after it finished the Australian filmmakers of this false film embark on a journey behind the making of the show to take a closer look at its story and stars especially its deviser, director, writer, producer and protagonist Takashi Takamoto (Toshi Okuzaki) who has seemingly disappeared since his passion project ended.

Having watched this way back at FrightFest 2017 and really enjoyed it its wonderful news that Aaron McCann and Dominic Pearce’s crazy comedy documentary is getting released to a wider audience who I am sure will enjoy it as much as I and everyone at the screening did.

In Top Knot Detective the directors who also wrote the script and story have invented a show that is so bonkers and so brilliant you wished more than anything it actually existed. Drawing on the clichés seen in a ton of real life Japanese programs and films from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s from Lone Wolf and Cub to Mighty Morphin Power Rangers the movie is a terrific treat for anyone into any of the many genre’s it so perfectly parodies.

Owned by the evil Sutaffu Corporation we see Takamoto’s crime solving samurai show featuring more and more product placement alongside some terrible adverts he is forced to participate in. We also watch the series move through several incarnations taking on the fads and tropes of the times and best of all we are treated to a multitude of outlandish excerpts featuring everything from magical ninja’s to tentacle alien monsters to giant robots to flying tiger sharks to time-travelling baseball players along with tons of gore.

Added to all the killer clips of the laughably low budget show we get photos, interviews and other footage from behind the scenes and more all wonderfully well realized and all tracking the temperamental Takashi Takamoto’s dramatic rise and fall which turns out to be an immensely engaging story.

Although most of Top Knot Detective is absolutely hilarious there is a more serious side to the film and it is far deeper than it first appears. In fact the true accomplishment of this comedy documentary is that it’s so well made you start not only to believe everything you see and hear but also to care about the characters making the tragedies towards the end of the movie all the more powerful.

By far one of my favorite films at FrightFest 2017 it is fantastic that finally everyone gets to see this faultless sublime and ridiculous faux-doc. All we need know is to somehow, someway make Top Knot Detective real!

Movie Rating: ★

★ ★ ★ ☆ 



Alex Humphrey

Alex studied film at the University of Kent and went on to work for Universal Pictures in their Post Room gaining an inside look at the movie industry from the very bottom. Constantly writing reviews in everything from local magazines to Hip Hop sites Alex honed his critical skills even spending a brief period as a restaurant critic. Read more

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