Review: Films Set In Japan – ‘Austin Powers In Goldmember’ (2002)

This third Austin Powers film is 10 years old this month and it doesn’t take a genius to work out that absolutely none of it was actually filmed in Japan. They didn’t reference this fact quite as blatantly as they did in the second film where Austin Powers (Mike Myers) comments on how England looks remarkably like Californian countryside!

After a celebrity-packed opening-credits ‘film within a film’ spoof followed by a load of other funny background story scenes Austin Powers and Foxxy Cleopatra (Beyonce Knowles) come to Tokyo. We’re 40 minutes into the movie when they are in the Japan capital to find Dr Evil’s (also played by Mike Myers) new lair which is a submarine in Tokyo Bay in the shape of him including the classic little finger to the mouth. It’s long, hard and full of sea-men!

 

The laughs are never too far away with Michael Caine turning in a fine comedic performance as Austin’s estranged father Nigel which went somewhat against type at the time.

The Asahi sumo arena doesn’t exist which is where Austin and Foxxy head (albeit with obvious rear projection of Shinjuku in the background) to find Fat Bastard (again played by Mike Myers) who tells them of Roboto Industries whose boss is named purely to give Powers the chance to say “Domo arigatou Mr Roboto” as was sung in Styx’s 1983.

The meeting with Mr Roboto is hilarious with some very juvenile humour based solely on Austin misreading the subtitles making it seem like his comments are dirty. How the hell this kind of humour transfers to Japanese people watching in Japanese I don’t know!! Answer: it no doubt doesn’t but no change there I guess!

I’ve never seen him in ‘Heroes‘ but the actor who played Hiro in that TV series has a short, funny role in this as the salaryman who speaks down the camera lens reminding the watching audience that the creature may look like Godzilla but due to international copyright laws it isn’t. Very silly humour but really funny.

 

In many ways its probably the lamest of the three Austin Powers movies as it does repeat many of the gags from the other two films but its actually my favourite. ‘Goldmember’ is full of laughs and has a strong list of characters in it although I’ve never really taken too much to Fat Bastard. Canadian born Myers, whose parents were both English, really has got some of the British cultural references down to a fine tee and this is one film I really never tire of watching.

Tokyo Fox Rating 9/10 (yes, really!)

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