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The Calamari Wrestler

4.0 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

A championship wrestling match pits Koji Taguchi against Crush Volcano, the latter no match for Koji’s signature move, the Torture Ring Strangler. Koji beams as he clutches the Champion Belt, only to have it snatched away by a mysterious new challenger in the ring—a giant squid! A giant squid, in fact, who not only evades Koji’s key attack, but destroys him with a Northern Light Suplex! Koji’s fiancée Miyako watches tearfully, though there’s something about this Calamari Wrestler that seems familiar to her…

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Kana Ishida, Nobuo Kameko, Osamu Nishimura, Akira Nogami, Miho Shiraishi
  • Directors: Minoru Kawasaki
  • Writers: Minoru Kawasaki, Masakazu Migita
  • Producers: Shuntarô Kanai
  • Format: Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Japanese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Pathfinder Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: September 6, 2005
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0009YA3SQ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #86,114 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Calamari Wrestler" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Nicholas Pollotta on October 30, 2005
Format: DVD
This is a Japanese live-action film (with subtitles) about a pro wrestler who dies, but is reincarnated as a man-size squid, and tries to reclaim his lost wrestling title.

Took me about fifteen minutes before I realized it was a satire of the boxing movie, "Rocky". Actually, it's a satire on all of the Rocky movies combined.

Laughed so hard I fell off my chair a few times. Absolutely brain-melting, Highly recommended (that is, if you happen to enjoy the truly bizarre)

Nick
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Format: DVD
Given my lifelong fascination with both squid jokes and professional wrestling, this film was certainly a "must see" for me. Started out great actually. Seemed at first more like Kafka's Metamorphosis and less like a satire. Played almost straight - like a drama but with just the right touch of unavoidable campy humor, you catch yourself getting over the absurd concept of a human-sized, reincarnated as a squid, former professional wrestling star out to reclaim his love and his wrestling title, and start legitimately getting into the plot. What could have been a possibly brilliant, surreal, entertaining and original film, however, takes an odd left turn and gets lost due to an abrupt shift in tone right around the time of the squid's championship match when his opponent morphs, for no apparent reason, into a giant octopus...

From there its cheap fish jokes and frenetic and bizarre and random plot "twists" that are reminiscent of cartoon Anime like Bobobo-bobo-bobo on Cartoon Network.

Weird flick but less due to its bizarre plot than the bizarre shift it takes half-way through the film. That said, this isn't a bad film. It doesn't fall into the "so bad it's good" category either. It's also surprisingly entertaining, quite funny at times. However, had it just stayed consistent with the direction it was going in the first half, it would have been a much better film.

Still, it's entertaining and worth a watch if you're into off-beat cinema.
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By V-Fox on December 13, 2015
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Now this is a movie! I showed this movie as part of a Bad Movie night... and I was chastised for showing an awesome movie! Not sure how that happened...

"Professional" wrestling, a giant squid costume, subtitles, tentacles flailing about when the calamari talks... I thought this would be a shoo-in for a bad movie. But it's in that weird space of good train wreck. Once you start watching, you just can't stop. You can't believe what you're seeing on the screen and you're waiting for the next absurd thing to show up... First the namesake calamari, then an octopus, then... well... I shouldn't ruin what comes next.

This is one of those movies who's name you drop in a conversation and then spend the next 10 minutes gleefully describing and, more often than not, arranging a viewing of. Of all the "bad movies" I own, and I have quite a few, this is the one I've seen the most often because people want to see it. If you're on the fence, just do it. Buy this. Watch this. You won't regret it.

Oh, and did I mention it's also a love story?
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Format: DVD
"Calamari Wrestler" is an absolutely bizarre film. It is almost like a Troma flick, like "Toxic Avenger", but much of the Troma fun comes from the sex, violence and raunchy humor, whereas "Calamari Wrestler" is kind of....sweet. And even romantic.

The story, what there is of it, follows a wrestler who is reincarnated as a giant squid. Now, this guy loves wrestling so much, he isn't about to let his new squid body get in his way. He jumps back in the ring, and the Calamari Wrestler becomes an overnight sensation, especially when he faces off and beats the Octopus Wrestler. All the sports flick cliches come into play, as the Calamari Wrestler gets star struck by his own fame, finds true love, endorses products...until suddenly, a strong young shrimp steps in and beats the Calamari Wrestler down. He must train hard to regain his title and self-respect.

There are no special effects here to speak of. The Calamari Wrestler is just a guy walking around with a big squid suit stuck on him. Part of the charm is just how seriously the actors take the story. One almost bounces back and forth wondering if this is a comedy or not.

But make no mistake, it is. Director Minoru Kawasaki specializes in doing parody flicks, riffing on popular genres and making strange movies like "The World Sinks Except Japan" and other oddities.

Just how odd do you like your movies? That is the question you have to ask yourself when considering "Calamari Wrestler". If you like the bizarre and surreal, if a Midnight Madness b-movie is your idea of heaven, then this just might be for you. It was a little too much for me.
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Format: DVD
The Calamari Wrestler (Minoru Kawasaki, 2004)

In a month when I saw two of the five films nominated for the Oscar for Best Picture in 2007 (and a third which should have been and was ignored)-- one of which won-- I would be hard-pressed to call anything other than one of those the best movie I'd seen all month, right? Well, I'm not sure anything I'll see for the rest of this year will measure up to The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, but for sheer pleasure, nothing I've come across so far this month has topped The Calamari Wrestler. I grant you, Minoru Kawasaki (also responsible for Executive Koala, among others) is not making Julian Schnabel-league films, but then he's not trying to, either.

A takeoff on the highly-regarded Karate Bear Fighter, The Calamari Wrestler is about Japanese pro wrestling, which, in this odd alternate universe, is in decline. Until, that is, at the end of a title match, a giant squid mysteriously appears in the ring and hand the winner of the match his head on a plate. Calamari quickly becomes a fan favorite, and much of the rest of the movie deals with the upcoming rematch (but there's more, and I'd have to get into major spoilers to reveal the last third of the movie).

What's so great about it? It's hysterically funny. Cruelly cheap special effects, subplots and shots stolen from just about every boxing movie known to man, dumb plot twists, a silly script, this movie has it all. I can't remember the last time I laughed this hard at a movie. If an American comedy has been a tenth this funny in the past forty years, I haven't run across it. And every time you think it's hit the height of stupidity, don't worry-- it finds another peak to jump to. It's an awful movie, but it's an awful movie in the best of ways. ****
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