28 February 2006 | chainedspecter
Bolo is the David Lynch of Hong kong.
What seems to be a light hearted comedic kung fu movie is actually a tight psychological thriller with each character reflecting a facet of the psyche of the viewer. Bolo himself represents our hulking innocence. The most innocent and simple tasks become confusing and threatening in Bolo's world. Almost as though Bolo is attempting to reveal our pitiful arrogance by showing us the world through the eyes of the severely mentally retarded and then hanging us with the realization that this is how the world actually is to all of us.
The protagonist comes under attack by increasingly ugly townsfolk thus holding a mirror up to our own culture of destruction as the suspendered representation of our cynicism mockingly sneers at him for denying the baser aspects of existence. And just as our own cynicism grows in reaction to continued exposure to blighted existence, so too does the well dressed man grow in power and influence.
The time period the movie occurs in is unclear as elements of period china, late seventies America, British controlled Hong Kong and Japanese occupation era china seamlessly coalesce giving the picture a very "Titus" sense of epic timelessness
As the movie progresses, allies suddenly attack each other for no reason and 40 seconds later they forget it thus demonstrating the Byzantine conflicts of urges within our own egos. Character development takes a backseat since each character is a timeless human archetype and the change in the movie's personality only occurs with the destruction of all other competing drives.
There is also very terse biblical symbolism throughout the maddeningly complex narrative. Bolo's love for the 7 foot tall stick woman mirroring St Peter's own struggles during the formative days of the Christian religion being only one of hundreds of examples.
Honestly though, this movie cannot be simply deconstructed in a beginner film class by a professor. Undertaking that task is a time consuming and painful spiritual journey to the very brink of oblivion as the movie doesn't shy away from inherent subconscious horrors that lurk in the viewer. To deconstruct the movie would require the entirety of the viewer's graduate study. Additionally the difficulties increase since the film actually manages to weave together an image of the viewer himself. No two people will have the same Bolo experience.