“This film’s kind of same, but different,” Nick Giannopoulos says.
Same but different is right.
It’s the same characters: Steve, Vince, cousin Theo and Tony the Yugoslav.
It’s the same somewhat predictable plot and the same clunky-at-times dialogue.
It’s the same wog humour that Australians have grown to know and love.
But it’s different because the Wog Boy has matured a bit. He’s a bit older because the man playing him is older, and with the coming of age some of his cock-sureness has dissipated.
Indeed, for the first half of this film we see a side of Steve and Vince that the first film never dared hint at: they’ve lost their mojo and they’ve become vulnerable.
Dealing with issues of self, place and identity, Kings of Mykonos is serious in a slapstick way.
“I’m very proud to say this film, I think for the first time in any Australian film, reflects what I refer to as the lost generation,” Giannopoulos says.
“Kids from migrant parents who were born in this country, who at a very young age are called wogs and ostracized, and not allowed to feel as if we were part of the mainstream.”
“That’s certainly the way I grew up, and that’s changed a lot.”
As has The Wog Boy.
“We’ve matured, we’ve come a long way since then and this film is a reflection of that, but it’s also saying that we’re as Aussie as anybody else, and it took me going to Greece to prove to prove to Aussies how Aussie we are,” he says.
Kings of Mykonos is different because unlike The Wog Boy the creative team behind this film, led by award-winning director Peter Andrikidis, had a legitimate vision for what they wanted to achieve visually.
And they have.
Andrikidis’ masterful cinematographic vision takes Kings of Mykonos to a higher plane. It actually looks and feels like a real film, rather than a collection of TV skits.
“Peter really understood how to shoot the island,” Giannopoulos says.
“He said we don’t want to do any studio stuff, everything we’re going to do is going to be up against a Mykonos background. And when you see the film you’ll see how fantastic that’s been.”
“I’m really pleased to say that Mykonos is one of the big stars of this film,” he says.
“It’s kind of a love letter to Greece. Mykonos is a tourist island, but it still has this incredible beauty and light, with the blue and the white,” he says.
It’s an incredible place, and that’s what I’ve tried to achieve on the film.”
Kings of Mykonos also receives new life from a new batch of characters in addition to the tried and true.
Giannopoulos has enlisted best mate Alex Dimitriades to play his arch-nemesis Mihali and the Herculean Kevin Sorbo to be Frank’s opposite number.
He has also added some serious glamour with Greek actress, model and TV presenter Zeta Makripoulia and former Miss Italy Cosima Coppola steaming-up the screen as the boys’ love interests.
Apollo the goat also serves as a repeating comic motif.
Kings of Mykonos, Giannopoulos says, was originally written as a stand-alone film and not as a sequel to The Wog Boy.
In franchising the film, some of the allure of the original remains but many of the things that made the original film a cult hit, have unfortunately not made the cut.
This film did not reference it’s predecessor nearly enough to be called a sequel. The only remnants are the four key characters and as such, the plot of the first film is largely ignored.
There is no ‘curls get the girls,’ or ‘Mrs. Ronald McDonald. Theo never finds himself paralytic as a result of a collision with a government car and Frank has no apprentices to ‘walk like Frank, talk like Frank, be Frank.’
At one point Frank finds himself face to face with a donkey where the line, ‘aww, the fur is mad!’ practically writes itself, but unfortunately is not uttered.
That said, there are plenty of moments in this film that have the potential to build their own cult, like the wrestling match between Steve and Mihali where the rules ‘not the face’ and ‘not the hair’ are laid down mid-fight. Or the moment where Kyriakos the local cop dons his full riot gear to go in chase of Apollo the goat.
Kings of Mykonos is a quality film, go see it, but don’t walk in expecting to see The Wog Boy 2.
It’s worth remembering, it’s “kind of same, but different.”