In the current cultural climate, there’s been a growing resurgence of nostalgic-driven media, be it in music, film or television. With this being said, titles such as and Danger 5 (2012)and Kung Fury (2015) have become underground hits, revelling in their absurd, cheesy 60’s/70’s/80’s inspired low-budget hilarity.
This is where Jesus Shows You The Way To The Highway (2019) abruptly and rather obnoxiously stumbles onto the scene. A fever dream-like experience, it rather chaotically combines elements from retro sci-fi, classic Chinese kung-fu cinema (and the genre’s subsequent knock-offs), the Japanese ‘Tokusatsu’ subgenre and low-budget 70’s spy TV to make a jarring, yet mesmerising surreal comedy.
What holds Jesus Shows You The Way To The Highway apart from these other titles is its total descent into absolute madness. There’s no toe-dipping involved, only full-on belly flops, for better or worse, the full-length feature doesn’t hold back.
Following director Miguel Llansós’ break-out cult hit Crumbs (2015), the filmmaker continues to build upon his surrealist brand of cinema, with Jesus Shows You The Way To The Highway taking a more light-hearted and comedic approach compared to his first flick
Jesus Shows You The Way To The Highway follows two CIA Agents, Agent D.T. Gagano (Daniel Tadesse) and Agent Palmer Eldritch (Agustín Mateo) as the two attempts to bring down a computer virus called the Soviet Union by using a VR device called Psychobook, but after finding a mysterious substance, Gagano gets stuck in the system as his real body enters into a coma.
Stalin, the obvious villain in this situation, sends Gagano to Ethiopia, where the president ‘Batfro’ (Solomon Tashe), a superhero wearing a costume resemblant to Batman, captures Gagano, revealing to him that Eldritch is having affair with his partner. What develops is confusingly complex and convoluted, an unusual melody of politically driven villainry, giant flies and portable television.
The eccentric plot is only emphasised by the films intentional technical faults, horrendous dubbing and constantly changing camera formats riddle the film, but do nothing but improve and play upon the deliberate B-movie aesthetic of the piece. Jesus Shows You The Way To The Highway also has some interesting and engaging techniques, the use of stop motion within some of the scenes set within the Psychobook perfectly matched the feeling and atmosphere of the film, jerky and unpredictable, and felt reminiscent of Tetsuo: The Ironman’s (1989) action sequences. One of the fight scenes’ starring three ninjas named after types of pasta was surprisingly well-choreographed and incredibly entertaining, and with some interesting characters, it felt fresh and new, despite being a spoof of sorts.
Jesus Shows You The Way To The Highway is chaotically enjoyable, a banquet of surreal humour and originality. Although not everybody’s cup of tea, its rich with character and isn’t easily forgotten.
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