James Bonk in Matt Blackfinger - A selection of reviews

"'My name is Bonk. James Bonk.'
No, not a smutty headline from Sunday Sport, as you might expect, but a snatch of dialogue taken from an intriguing production by the Japanese American Toy Theatre of London, entitled James Bonk in Matt Blackfinger. All parts in this 007-goes-to-Toys-R-Us film short are played by cute little wind-up Japanese toys.
James Bonk is in fact a green Godzilla in Ray-Bans who spends the majority of his espionage career in bed with various models of Barbie doll.
Um (aka M) is a clockwork pea pod. Miss Money Yenny is an oriental xylophone-playing doll, while MI5's enemies come in the form of plastic Ninja suitably dressed in black and lethal gangs of mechanical sushi.
Lurid colours and intentionally tacky sets (the disco scene is a classic) all add to the appeal of this spoof movie-ette which will be shown on Feb 19 (C4).
Congenial Nippon hip hop has been supplied by sometime ELLE contributor David Toop and the producer is Akiko Hada.
Bond producer Cubby Broccoli is reported to be unconcerned.

Simon Mills, ELLE, March 1988

"James Bonk is a 4-inch clockwork Godzilla. His evil adversary MATT BLACKFINGER is a tinpot Robo-Bunny with world domination on his mind. When the Matchbox and Palitoy gift catalogues start getting involved in Manichaean struggles, you can bet that The Japanese American Toy Theatre of London are in on it. Matt Blackfinger restarts the new series of "Ghosts in the Machine" - Tue, C4 - with the Theatre's traditional shenanigans in altogether more monied surrounds. Agent Fall-Guy is re-charging his batteries (groan) in amongst the Executive Boy-Boys on some faraway beach. Two shady types jump him and spray his kitsch-me-quick apparel matt black. James Bonk is duly dispatched to repulse this Designer fraternity and restore the rule of tacky glamour. On the way, take a peek at Bonk's bedroom prowess; a work of art in this age of mechanical reproduction. Or see him cheat death at the hands of all manner of fiendish Braun devices. All this plus berserker Barbies, Sushi Galore, and Miss Moneypenny adding some glockenspiel grace-notes to the hip-hop soundtrack."

Steven Bode, City Limits, April 1988

"Only slightly less life-like than the Roger Moore version, the newest 007 is a green, plastic wind-up toy. Catch him (or should that be It) on television on Thursday 18, as part of Channel 4's Ghosts in the Machine series, which features new and (very) unusual video artists. The creation of the Japanese American Toy Theatre Of London, our small but perfectly formed hero, licenced to kill, has been renamed James Bonk, and appears in their film Matt Blackfinger , loosely based on the Bond movie of more or less the same name. And as for the sultry female spies who love him - that's right, they're Barbie dolls. It's not the Toy Theatre's first attempt at the definitive remake: a notable earlier production is an ambitious version of the classic film noir Double Indeinity, with stars Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck replaced by small clockwork objects. Scope for further remakes seems endless, but in today's Hollywood, who will spot the difference?"

SKY, March 1988

" . . . When comedy is allowed to intrude into the serious business of being avant-garde, the art school fraternity shows its strength. James Bonk in Matt Blackfinger by Akiko Hada, with its entire cast of wind-up toys, makes hilarious viewing. Top billing goes to a wind-up Godzilla in the title role, as a James Bond pastiche who, naturally enough, is "a monster in bed"."

Evening Standard, 28 September, 1990

"Consider the scene: Agent 0016 (a clockwork aubergine) is attacked by Ninja's and forcibly painted matt black. James Bonk (a wind-up Godzilla) is sent to sort things out. In true Bond-style, elaborate chase sequences take Bonk to several glamorous locations before he finds himself in a Tokyo disco packed with wildly frugging Sumo wrestlers. This bizarre and, despite the toys, adult spoof comes courtesy of The Japanese American Toy Theatre of London whose successful 'live' performances have been transferred from the cabaret circuit to the small screen as part of Channel 4's Ghosts In The Machine series. JATTOL, namely Andrew Brenner and Kazuko Hohki (better known as 50 percent of The Frank Chickens), have been staging their elaborate versions of classic films for five years with past successes including a suspenseful Double Indemnity. With a 'score' created by our very own David Toop in conjunction with Kazuko, the eleven-minute film James Bonk In Matt Blackfinger is screened on February 19, straight after The Last Resort."

THE FACE, Feburary 1988