Too Tired To Die

on January 20, 1998 by Tim Cogshell
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   "Too Tired To Die" is intended as sort of a metaphysical black comedy, though the metaphysics are questionable and it's hardly funny. Kenji (Takeshi Kaneshiro) is a young Japanese man living a lazy, directionless existence in trendy downtown New York. He dreams of Death--a beautiful seductress played by Mira Sorvino--as she and two soldiers pursue a young Arab man across the deserts of ancient Baghdad. When he wakes to engage another fairly pointless day of coffee and idle chit-chat with his friend Fabrizio (Michael Imperioli of the popular "Sopranos" cable television series), he sees the young Arab man from his dream in a dead run, Death's henchmen on his tail. Kenji chases the boy, wanting to know how he could be both in his dream and now in the real world. When he catches him, Death appears and spirits the boy away.

   As confused as the audience at this point, Kenji goes on with his day, meets a lovely German woman with whom he begins a truncated romance, and engages in a rather oblique conversation with a man pretending to read Balzac, played with enigmatic charm by Jeffery Wright (of "Basquiat" and "Shaft"). Later, Kenji dreams of Death again, this time waking to find her standing at the foot of his bed. For his help in catching her fleeing charge, Death offers Kenji a reward, of sorts. She tells him he only has 12 hours to live, and suggests he spend it in pursuit of his greatest desires.

   "Too Tire To Die" has much in common with films like Martin Scorsese's "After Hours." It's askew and takes place in a dreamlike state in which almost anything can happen and often does. Unfortunately, nothing of any interest ever occurs, and the pseudo-intellectualizing about existence, life and death is just grating.    Starring Takeshi Kaneshiro, Mira Sorvino, Ben Gazzara, Jeffery Wright and Michael Imperioli. Directed and written by Wonsuk Chin. Produced by Victor Hwang, Donna Bascom and Connie Kaiserman. A Phaedra release. Black comedy. Unrated. Running time: 97 min.

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