Mr. Go Was the Craziest Gorilla Baseball Movie You Never Saw | The Big Picture

Over the weekend on the film review show while
talking about the new movie Hustlers (which is extremely good by the way, but… you already
knew that because you watch both shows, right? …right? …uh …you guys know I
do this for money… to live, and eat…right?), [crickets chirping] but yeah in the course of that
I made a reference to well-worn formula movie premises and included, as a joke, “animals
that play sports;” opting to use as the visual example, something other than Air Bud
because… uh… reasons. That do not involve having to use expensively-imported foreign
Blu-rays for work in some way if I want to write them off at the end of the year. …yeah. Anyway a bunch of people asked “What the hell was that thing with the baseball gorilla??”
so here’s that: Movies! Are! Weird!!! Based loosely on a 1986 comic book, Mr. Go
was a 2013 Korean/Chinese co-production built around a reworking of its
original premise but mostly around establishing its filmmakers and special-effects animation
house Dexter Digital as a prime-time player in the feature-film CGI game; in other words
a blockbuster of the type familiar to watchers of the Chinese and Korean big-budget film scenes of the time: The “prove we can pull this off” Hollywood-style family crowd pleaser; where internal logic
takes a back seat to “yeah, that would look cool!” In any case, Mr. Go is about a Chinese circus gorilla who’s been trained to hit home runs
with a baseball bat who get’s signed by a South Korean baseball team to… come and
do that based on the Air Bud principal of no one ever technically making a rule that
says they aren’t allowed to do that. And if you’re thinking “Okay, a movie
about teaching a gorilla to hit baseballs should be pretty interesting!” …Mr. Go is
not that movie. In fact, the film essentially opens by matter-a-factly saying, “So, yeah we’re a Circus and we taught a gorilla to play baseball. That seemed like a thing to do,
y’know?” and then dives directly into it’s main plot setup: The gorilla, technically
named “Ling Ling,” is the performing partner of a Chinese circus-raised orphan named Weiwei
who, saddled with the role of ringmaster and a mountain of debt owed to a sleazy gang after the death of her adoptive grandfather, accepts an offer to bring Ling
Ling across the border to play in the KBO Major Leagues from a publicity-chasing “super
agent” named Mr. Sung; infamous in the league as “The Human Bounty Hunter” for his skill
at signing new talents… but also quickly shuffling them out of Korean baseball
into the more lucrative Japanese and American major leagues.
Oh also there’s a quickly-introduced subplot about the circus trying and failing to teach
a much more aggressive, impossible to tame breed of mountain gorilla named Lei Ting to
also pitch… ya’ know, so so much for wondering where Act 3 is going to go. [epic music] But yeah, there’s your basic movie: Weiwei and Ling (rechristened “Mr. Go” for marketing purposes)
adapt to sports celebrity life in the big city and the tensions of the backroom contract
politics between Sung, the KBO, the team manager and the owners of interested rival Japanese
baseball clubs who might want to sign the gorilla themselves. And if you’re thinking:
“That sounds like a lot of sports business politics for a monkey baseball comedy…”
you’d be right. That’s the main thing that makes Mr. Go even more bizarre than its premise would already suggest: It’s a lot more like Moneyball than it is like
Air Bud; mostly on the basis that the only way its visual hook can exist is to assume
that Mr. Go himself exclusively hits massive home runs as opposed to having to shoot complicated
scenes of baseball strategy with the impressive CGI gorilla. Otherwise, it just
kind of assumes that the basic beats of a “fish out of water” lovable-doofus sports
sports star comedy will consistently be funny so long as you can always
go: “Oh, hey… there’s a gorilla there. That shouldn’t… be.” The answer to which turns out to be… yeah, pretty much: Again, this whole run of early-2010s FX-heavy Chinese-backed family comedies (whether produced
wholly in Mainland China or otherwise, as is the case here) tend to have a very specific “reverse engineered
from its own advertising” feel to; and Mr. Go has this vibe even more than most; with
the “things are going well” portion of its second act compressed almost entirely into what is basically the trailer for “Mr. Go” – an extended slapstick montage of monkey-baseball pratfalls
and money shots set to Dire Straits’ “Walk of Life,” aka “Sports Movie Trailer Song
number 5.” Though to its credit this is mostly so the
plot can take a somewhat unexpected leftward turn during the otherwise der-rigeur pre-Act
3 “All Is Lost” moment… “The ‘All is Lost’ moment!” wherein Mr. Go is facing a sports injury and the bad gorilla
has shown up signed to a rival team where the film takes a moment for Sung
to raise the issue of… ya’ know, this isn’t at all how gorillas actually work
and that it’s kind of absurdly suspect that everyone is just taking this kid’s word
that she can “speak gorilla” or that Ling Ling has been doing anything other than what
he wanted to do this whole time. “Wait… is our entire premise just completely
stupid, and we’ve just been going along with it because we also thought ‘Baseball
Gorilla’ would be a fun thing to do for awhile? …were we just gonna keep running
with this until someone got seriously h- …” Of course Mr. Go is a family movie so once
the Good and Less-Good-But-Really-Just-Misunderstood gorillas have had their showdown and lessons
have been learned there’s a nice happy ending, re-affirmation of family and What Really Matters
and… yeah, all things considered I’m not sure there’s a better movie you could
make out of this concept? Things work out basically okay. The film actually disappointed at the Korean box-office since
it opened against some fairly stiff competition from both home and abroad (which might be why they didn’t bother bringing this to the United States in an official capacity) but it was a surprisingly big hit in China. It also ends with a tease
for a sequel – which they probably aren’t going to make, but I’d still kinda ready want to see it if I’m being honest. But, a yeah. That Mr. Go. You asked and now you know what that is. I’m Bob and that’s The Big Picture.

81 thoughts on “Mr. Go Was the Craziest Gorilla Baseball Movie You Never Saw | The Big Picture

  1. Watch today's The Big Picture: The History of Propaganda in Pop Culture Is Weirder Than You Think –

  2. Sorry, but just because it has some sort of self-awareness, it looks like garbage that belongs in a time when these movies were common.

  3. Nice to see a movie with international setting having relevant languages spoken rather than just home box office's language, especially in a broad marketed family movie.
    I wish more movies did that. Like I wanted Hydra and the Nazi speaking German in Captain America 1 and Wakandan spoken in Black Panther.

  4. I actually rather like you. Your like a movie reviewing version of yahtzee with less of both minions and crude humor. Pleasantly suprised and hope more people find and watch this content.

  5. I believe I actually DID see this movie. Well, to be honest — fragments of it. Because the landscape as seen through the windows of the bus seemed more interesting

  6. Talking about foreing movies huh? I May ask If you are going to Cover the indonesian movies that are trying to establish their own "cinematic Universe" with the movie Gundala and the Bumilangit Cinematic Universe (BCU)

  7. possible sequel would be Gorilla playing American football

    I mean, how would that even work? I know football players are pretty brawny dudes, but how would the opposing team even stop a full male grown gorilla from just blowing through them like a wall of bowling pins?

  8. Here comes Johnny singing oldies, goldies
    "Be-Bop-A-Lula", "Baby What I Say"
    Here comes Johnny singing "I Gotta Woman"
    Down in the tunnels, trying to make it pay
    He got the action, he got the motion
    Yeah, the boy can play
    Dedication, devotion
    Turning all the night time into the day
    He do the song about the sweet lovin' woman
    He do the song about the knife
    He do the walk, do the walk of life
    Yeah, he do the walk of life
    Here comes Johnny, gonna tell you the story
    Hand me down my walkin' shoes
    Here comes Johnny with the power and the glory
    Backbeat the talkin' blues
    He got the action, he got the motion
    Yeah, the boy can play
    Dedication, devotion
    Turning all the night time into the day
    The song about the sweet lovin' woman
    He do the song about the knife
    Then he do the walk, he do the walk of life
    Yeah, he do the walk of life
    Here comes Johnny singing oldies, goldies
    "Be-Bop-A-Lula", "Baby What I Say"
    Here comes Johnny singing "I Gotta Woman"
    Down in the tunnels, trying to make it pay
    He got the action, he got the motion
    Yeah, the boy can play
    Dedication, devotion
    Turning all the night time into the day
    And after all the violence and double talk
    There's just a song in all the trouble and the strife
    You do the walk, yeah, you do the walk of life
    Hmm, you do the walk of life

    Dire Straits: Walk On Life ..

  9. The premise of the movie is Donkey Kong from Super Mario Sluggers but in real life with a little bit of Moneyball thrown in…

    How is this is not a box office behemoth over in America???

  10. Thanks for explaining the clip and the added little review of this. I'm both offended by the clips that appear to normalize what would be thought of as animal abuse/cruelty AND that they didn't just start a franchise. Props to the effects team though; it does look good but 1 question remains: Do the Chinese or Korean peoples listen to and enjoy Dire Straits?

  11. Why do I feel like this would be a big weepy animal movie for me? Time to throw another movie I need to see and see the 3D version of.

  12. Fun fact: humans are orders of magnitude better at pitching than gorillas. Because we came down from the trees and thus lost the need to brachiate (swing from branch to branch), we gained a lot of shoulder movement because we didn't need to support our weight with our arms. Plus our wrists are far more mobile to aid in fine manipulation and tool use. Gorillas thus can't pitch overhand with any strength and can't snap their wrist at the end of a throw for the extra power that gives. Their physical strength (15-20 times stronger than an adult male human or roughly 10 times as strong, pound-for-pound) can't make up for it.

  13. I was actually working in South Korea when that came out in theaters. They didnt have a subtitled version so I said oh well but I was curious.

    Hey movie Bob question about Korean movies. Dont you feel like they are always one act too long or one subplot too complicated. I feel like they have some really good movies hampered from being great by this fact.

  14. Don’t worry Bob, this is the best anyone could do with this premise; but it’s also not the worst either. Hollywood will be on that as soon as this project gets enough visibility to the “right” people. Good job on helping create that situation sooner.

  15. I would be very surprised to see an American football Mr. Go. Baseball is great for this kind of character because it's a no-contact sport, and the physical aspects of being a gorilla only matter at the plate. In a sport where the entire premise is contact, Mr. Go becomes comically overpowered and highly dangerous.

    Put him on kickoff return. He'd be unstoppable.

  16. On the back of your little :30 gag, out of curiosity, what does help you best? Chasing the early bird back to Escapist (maybe when they improve their overall UX on mobile…), or waiting for it here?

  17. An hour into the pitch meeting for the movie the main studio exec realized the movie they were making was just a knock off of Money Ball and asked for ideas on how to make the movie not Money Ball. No one in the room had any "good" ideas so they went with "What if we make the main character a Gorilla and a little orphan girl with a bull whip?"

  18. Considering how there wasn't a rule against women and blacks playing baseball until after a couple played and some jerks threw a fit, I can only assume there will be no rule against animals until one successfully plays

  19. Damn it, I misread the title and thought is said "The Craziest Godzilla Baseball Movie". Please tell me, there is an actual Godzilla Baseball movie

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