Aachi & Ssipak (Jo Beom-jin, 2006)

“Violence, drugs, porn, and poo – It’s extreme!” – SEATTLE WEEKLY

Drafthouse Films LogoIn the future, the only energy source is human excrement.  Citizens are microchipped and rewarded for defecation with addictive Juicybars.  In Shit City, two small-time hoods team up with a would-be porn actress and become major traffickers in the Government-issued treat.  Hunted by the notorious Diaper Gang, a collection of blue, constipated, mutant Juicybar addicts led by the dangerous Diaper King, and with a superhuman Government agent out to stop them all, the trio may have bitten off more Juicybars than they can chew.  Welcome to the insane world of Aachi & Ssipak.

Warning: This movie is unsuitable for teenagers, pregnant women, and those with heart trouble.

Special Features:

  • Audio commentary with Jo Beom-jin and jTeam Staff
  • Introduction by Todd Brown of Twitchfilm
  • Making of documentary
  • Cast interviews
  • Character featurette
  • Deleted scenes
  • Original Flashanimated Aachi & Ssipak webisodes
  • Music video
  • Teasers and trailers
  • 16-page booklet with stills and production art

Juicybar Edition – Package Includes:

  • Aachi & Ssipak on Blu-ray or Standard DVD featuring over 2 hours of bonus material
  • High quality 720p HD Digital Download of the Film Available on Street Date
  • Instant Download of the 13-track Aachi & Ssipak Soundtrack
  • 27″ x 40″ Theatrical Poster
  • Juicybar Popsicle Molds

Certainly one of the most audacious concepts for a feature film ever to see completed production, Aachi & Ssipak is a dystopian sci-fi extravaganza of action-filmmaking.  Set in a future where poop has become the world’s energy solution, the citizens of Shit City are rewarded for doing their business in Government-equipped toilets with Juicybars, an addictive blue popsicle that is automatically and immediately delivered to the pooper thanks to a computerized ring installed in each person’s anus that registers every bowel movement.  Unfortunately, over-consumption of Juicybars sometimes turns Shit City citizens into small, blue, and rather mindless mutants.  Unable to obtain further Juicybars due to their constipation, these mutants band together into the Diaper Gang to rob Government stocks of the treat, however their leader, the imposing Diaper King, has bigger plans and looks to install himself as Shit City’s master.  The Government’s prime weapon against the Diaper Gang is Geco, a cyborg police officer/Diaper Gang killing machine capable of dispatching dozens of mutants with Matrix-like panache.  Life carries on in and around Shit City nonetheless and Aachi and Ssipak are low-level hoods trading in Juicybars stolen by potty-invasion smash-and-grabs.  The impetus for the film’s conflict arrives in the form of the auditioning porn star Beautiful, who is implanted with multiple anus rings taken from Diaper Gang mutants.  As a result, a single turd from Beautiful results in massive numbers of Juicybars, making her a target of the Diaper Gang and the Government.  She teams up with Aachi and Ssipak and the trio become Juicybar kingpins, until rival gangs, Government authorities, and the Diaper Gang upset their dynasty.  It is then up to the titular protagonists to save Beautiful, as Aachi (the smaller, red-headed character) sees her as his meal-ticket and Ssipak (the larger, bald figure) has fallen in love with her.

Those who fear being put-off by the scatalogical aspect of Aachi & Ssipak should be relieved.  Excrement and defecation figure in the film’s world but are rarely, if ever, depicted.  Instead, viewers are rewarded with a series of virtuoso action sequences that are as graphic and violent as they are deliriously innovative and cinematically exhilarating.  The film opens with its best – an assault by a group of mutants astride robotic hobbyhorses on an armoured caravan transporting Juicybars that is repulsed single-handedly by Geco.  Other action set-pieces include an elaborate gunfight in an “Odessa Steps” setting and an Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom-esque mine car chase.  Fans of action films, science fiction, and New Violence will find a bounty of cinematic shout-outs in Aachi & Ssipak, including Terminator 2: Judgment Day (James Cameron, 1991), Robocop (Paul Verhoeven, 1987), True Romance (Tony Scott, 1993), Pulp Fiction (Quentin Tarantino, 1994), Se7en (David Fincher, 1995), Akira (Katsuhiro Otomo, 1988), Misery (Rob Reiner, 1990), and Alien (Ridley Scott, 1979).  There is a desire by some critics to read the world of Aachi & Ssipak allegorically, as a consumerist society based on feces and producing simple-minded, über-violent mutants can inspire commentary on capitalism and totalitarianism, but producer Kim Seon-koo asserts that the goal of the film is to entertain and it does.  For whatever faults there may be with the movie, Aachi & Ssipak is clearly created by and for those who love cinema at its biggest and most exciting.  Those action sequences, fast-paced and vibrant, leave their mark and demand repeat-viewing for paracinematic aficionados.

Aachi Ssipak Eastern EyeSouth Korea’s domestic animation projects have not fared well over the last decade and Aachi & Ssipak is another example, having flopped in its native land and lacking North American distribution.  It’s something of a shame.  The film was first introduced to the public in 2001 through a series of short Flash-animated clips that created a buzz around the project, slating it for a 2002 release, however investor troubles arose as other South Korean animated features struggled despite large expectations and Jo Beom-jin’s feature took 8 years to reach completion.  To his credit, the filmmaker did not compromise his vision of Aachi & Ssipak through this period.  Expectations of broad commercial appeal now seems ambitious given the premise and content of Aachi & Ssipak, but the film is successful with the right-minded audience, having been embraced on the genre film festival circuit and amongst its fans.  Drafthouse Films caters specifically to such cinephiles and Aachi & Ssipak would comfortably sit next to The FP (Brandon Trost and Jason Trost, 2011) and The Congress (Ari Folman, 2013) in the Drafthouse series.  Various poster and cover treatments of the film are out there, but I’m most fond of the DVD cover for Eastern Eye’s Region 4 edition.  It’s colourful, representative, and provides the most complete survey available of the film’s characters.

Credits:  The back cover summary is adapted primarily from the Eastern Eye synopsis.  Todd Brown’s introduction is inspired by his introduction of the film at the Toronto After Dark Film Festival.  The remaining special features are taken from various DVD editions of Aachi & Ssipak.

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