Short Film Review: N.U.N.S with Nunchucks

Two agents from the National Union of National Spies (well, N.U.N.S.) are on a mission to end the tyranny of the Catholic Association of Quebec. Set to end the reign of its xenophobic leader Jeanne Versacon, they are going to need the help of champion wrestler Betty Powell.

N.U.N.S. with Nunchucks unabashedly embraces its full-on eccentricity and invites you to do the same. The characters are unforgettable and the story, outlandish. Their over-the-top performances, extravagant costumes, and even the gimmicky title are all part of the short film’s fantastic reenactment of exploitation cinema.

Sleazy b-film effects, film-within-film exposition, and overstylised visuals complete its brilliant homage to this niche genre. It is about time for a new revival, otherwise left behind in history after the faded efforts of Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez back in 2007.

Likes its grindhouse influences, a sardonic sense of humour accompanies every scene of this short, even its vilest hate speech drips with inoffensive dark wit. Glimpses of extraterrestrial forces continue its clear test of the boundaries of acceptability, staying true to the wild spirit of its predecessors that have long fallen out of favour in the mainstream.

This could easily appear cheaply produced and poor in quality in the wrong hands. But director Lorenzo Gutiérrez and co-writer Vincenzo Nappi seem to know exactly what they are doing. Done with deliberate design and deftly-placed b-movie sleaze, what we get is a boatload of old-school fun, distinctive in style and attitude.

This entertaining tribute to a neglected golden age could only have been accomplished by filmmakers who truly loves and understands exploitation. One can only imagine the potential of a feature film, if ever made, for a massive cult following.

N.U.N.S with Nunchucks premiered at the Fantasia International Film Festival and the Flamingo Film Festival in 2021. Special thanks to the team at Canux Pictures for sharing the screener.

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