The second act is Carax's peculiar Godzilla-esque episode, cheekily named "Merde." A trollish creature emerges from beneath sidewalk grates and terrorizes the good people of Tokyo, stealing flowers, pushing old women over, and eventually chucking grenades at passersby. As the city's law enforcement track and capture the nether-dwelling creature, its origins and motivations become increasingly disturbing and abstruse.
The third offering, from Joon-ho, focuses on a man who's shut himself away in an apartment for over a decade. But a series of serendipitous earthquakes conversely forces the man out while the rest of the world around him becomes increasingly isolated.
The three films of Tokyo! could very well hold their own as shorts. None are really essential to the others. And each seems to serve the purpose of showcasing its director rather than any location. Much like, say, a three-course meal with each portion cooked by a different Iron Chef, Tokyo! is consistently delicious and conceptually incoherent.
-- MIKE BERLIN
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