Coming to Digital and VOD Oct 11th
The Iké Boys is more than just a hero’s journey about two guys from Oklahoma who want to escape from the ho-hum. It also takes a peek back in time, when Japanese pop culture became part of the western media fixture in the 90s, and recognises what is great. We’re allowed to believe in miracles, and get to be a power ranger! The best part of this movie is that it includes vintage style anime and sentai action in its presentation.
In the case of Shawn Gunderson (Quinn Lord) and Vikram ‘Vik’ Kapoor (Ronak Gandhi), they’re not so ordinary in the sense that they’ve been branded losers in high school. That is, all they have is their anime fantasies to keep them happy. The latter dislikes the label and wants to be part of the crowd. He’s trying to do more with his life, but when Miki (Christina Higa) arrives, that one step forward (he’s crushing hard on her) ends up being two steps back as things go terribly wrong for them.
If that’s not bad enough, the world is coming to an end! This story set in the height of Y2K fears sees everyone scared of what a new millienium can entail, and for cultists, they’re taking advantage of the situation. They’re recruiting and also wanting to bring the Old Ones back to rule the world. If this concept sounds familiar, that’s because it’s been used before in a certain Ghostbusters film. Thankfully, we know how that turned out. I doubt H.P. Lovecraft have anything to do with it. The ideas presented here are more generic.
Pretty soon, through some strange accident, the trio inherit superpowers from a cartoon they’re watching. Just when an innocent night goes disasterously wrong, what they discover is that they are the victims of prophecy. The movie they’re watching is a very fictional, Go! Great Decisive Battle at the End of the Century with Rainbows. It’s supposed to reveal to viewers the end of the world, and choose unlikely heroes to save the planet from destruction.
Thus, the boys become two different beasts: one knowing he has to do good, the other to terrorize and the girl, perhaps something akin to Akira meets Mai the Psychic Girl. This girl actually becomes someone else, but to say exactly what hints at perhaps some Chinese manhua influence too.
Soon, they have to put aside differences. As for who is the leader, that’s a mystery which kept me guessing. I had the choice of Newt Grafstrom (Billy Zane) being a friend to the boys, or some other mystery character, like Yumiko (Reiko Grafstrom), whom Miki befriends. But, there’s also Wayne (Ben Browder) just trying to be a father to Shawn. These two legends of genre films bring more of a western sentimentality to an otherwise Power Rangers driven plot.
As for why this action takes place in America’s heartland, we’ll never know. It’s like wondering why Gozer’s cult set up a base in Summerville in Ghostbusters: Afterlife. Both locations in each film sets the action in Oklahoma, and I have to wonder if there’s something special about this American state.
Not every question raised here needs to be answered here in Iké Boys. The concept behind this film is a fond look at how anyone can be heroes for more than just one day. It’s like those early GI Joe toy commercials, where we’re allowed to be creative and imaginative. In fact, they might have another adventure, if we can believe this crowdfunded project has another go after it gets more festival screenings around the world.
4 Stars out of 5