You might not expect a film that mixes over the top cartoon action with the look and style of a Quentin Tarantino thriller movie to work, but if you think that, you’ve probably not seen The Bad Guys. Directed by Pierre Perifel, this twisted animated movie is a hilarious heist extravaganza that’ll work for kids and adults.
I’ll be honest I don’t think I ever expected to see a family movie open with a reference to Pulp Fiction, but that’s precisely how The Bad Guys begins. It’s far from the only nod to the thriller movie genre either, The Bad Guys is a love letter to heist films, and there are plenty of nods and winks to the work of Michael Mann, Tarantino, and Steven Soderbergh throughout.
We spoke to Perifel ahead of the film’s release to talk a bit about how he balanced his clear love for the genre with making a brilliant kids movie. “I mean, part of it is the way it was written,” Perifel explained. “It appeals to adults, you know? But there’s no way that you can adapt Tarantino [for families], there’s way too much blood, swearing, and long dialogue, but that doesn’t mean we couldn’t wink at it, you know?”
“What grounds [kids] in this film, though, is the look at the fun and the playfulness of this animation,” he continued. “You know, we have a lot of physical gags and silliness. You know, I was just cracking up laughing when I was designing, or when my designer was doing those stupid costumes that they were in, and then we have so many little jokes that are silly. I giggle every time I see the film.”
Perifel finished by saying that he thinks the kids are just enjoying the silliness and fun of the film but admitted to layering in some sophistication for the adults in the audience.
“At the same time, there is a sophistication to it, you know, in terms of the heist films and all those references you’re talking about. It’s something that is rather sophisticated, you know, and I think that’s juxtaposition kind of appeals to everyone.”
The Bad Guys is in cinemas now in the UK and hits US cinemas on April 22. If you love cartoons, check out our list of the best-animated series.