While initially scanning like an ultraviolent take on Richard Linklater’s freeform Slacker (early scenes find the camera roaming Vietnamese streets in search of heinous acts), Le Binh Giang’s Kfc unfortunately soon settles into a more traditional narrative, focusing on the crimes of a particular street gang and the shared past that’s rendered them monstrous. From here, the film continues in its base pursuits: the recurrence of a half-baked thread in which Kentucky Fried Chicken is vaguely linked to cannibalism seems meant to color the film as a diatribe against the influence of global markets but instead plays like empty provocation, just like the gross-out torture scenes that make up most of the film’s incident. Detached from any sort of trenchant ideological viewpoint, none of these torture movie cliches ever manages to actually disturb. And by the time the film gets to its cannibalism, Kfc has already run the gamut through beheadings, teeth pulling and necrophilia, further dulling the impact of the cheap shocks of its final scenes.
Published as part of New York Asian Film Festival | Dispatch 2.