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Archive for September, 2009

Death Trance (2006)

In an unknown land, a lone warrior who’s searching for the ultimate fight has stolen a precious coffin from a temple. The coffin might contain something inside that could bring about the destruction of the world. Now many people are after the stolen coffin and that’s exactly what the warrior wants. If they want it, they’re gonna have to fight him to get it.

Borrowing some elements from Django, Lone Wolf & Cub and Versus, this is a great fantasy actioner which doesn’t know at times whether it’s meant to be serious or funny. You might think the movie is set in the time of the samurai until you see motorbikes and a rocket launcher! It’s got some fantastic OTT martial arts sequences backed up by a metal soundtrack and excellent special effects. The pace of the movie is frenetic with some kind of fight happening every 5 mins or so. I’m not sure if the ending is left deliberately open for a sequel or not? It’s a mindless popcorn flick which delivers on action so if you’ve got 90 mins to spare then take a look at Death Trance.

Sadako’s Rating: 3 out of 5

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Knowing nothing about the Yatterman anime from the 70’s I only watched this as I knew the actress Kyoko Fukada was in it and she is stunningly sexy in this movie as the main villain Doronjo.

The plot has the Yatterman team (toy shop owner and mecha creator Gan with his girlfriend Ai) trying to outwit the Doronbow gang in trying to locate pieces of the Dokuro Stone which is said to grant any wish with their dog shaped mecha Yatterwoof. The Doronbow gang is led by SkullObey who orders Doronjo and her henchmen (mecha creator, rat-faced and pervert) Boyacky and (thuggish pig faced) Tonzra to find pieces of the stone before Yatterman. Also tagging along with Yatterman is a young teenage girl Shoko whose father went missing looking for the Dokuro Stone. This creates a bit of a love triangle as she starts to fall for Gan with Doronjo also coming into the mix. So Gan has 3 girls after him (lucky git!!!).

As it’s a Takashi Miike movie it’s very imaginative and looks amazing. The special effects are fantastic. For a kids movie though it’s very risque with a couple of scenes surprising me such as Gan sucking poison from Shoko’s upper thigh, a mecha which looks like a female with 2 breasts that has machine guns, a ‘love scene’ between Yatterwoof and the female mecha plus you’ve got Doronjo’s henchmen constantly looking at her heaving bosom (well I don’t blame then for doing that!!!!). For me, Kyoko Fukada makes this movie, she just lights up any scene she’s involved in. I can imagine Japanese fathers taking their sons to watch this with the firm intention of ogling Doronjo. Of course for girls watching Yatterman their attention will fall firmly on J-pop idol group Arashi’s rapper Sho Sakurai. The theme of this movie is about love, growing up, friendship, teamwork and family

Yatterman is a fun comedic camp movie which even has a musical interlude but it does turn a little bit dark near the end. I really liked this movie. It was enjoyable and very entertaining, full of bright and colorful scenes. Recommended.

Sadako’s Rating: 4 out of 5

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The middle part of the 20th Century Boys trilogy is set 15 years after the events of Bloody New Years Eve 2000. Japan is firmly under the control of ‘Friend’ and his followers. Genji is missing and his co-conspirators either in jail or in hiding. Taking up the baton against ‘Friend’ is none other than Genji’s niece Kanna, the chosen one now a fiesty young woman.

She volunteers to enter Friendland with her schoolmate to gleam more information about ‘Friend’ and his organisation and to try and prevent the end of mankind by a deadly virus in order to make ‘Friend’ a god. In the process she finds out more about her family especially her mother who was a doctor and her part in developing the virus. Meanwhile one of the original conspirators breaks out from jail where an opportunity presents itself for him to assassinate ‘Friend’ during a visit to Shinjuku

Although it’s long I thoroughly enjoyed this movie which further enhances the complex storyline. I thought Aira Taira did a great job as the heroine Kanna along with Haruka Kinami as Kyoko.

There are tantalising clues as to Friend’s identity but of course he’s not going to be revealed until the final part. The climax especially the last 30 mins builds up to an apocalyptic ending and the reappeance of a familiar face.

I really can’t wait for the final chapter to see how the storyline concludes. Roll on Part 3!!

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After a group of sexy Thai nurses and a doctor who harvest organs kill one of their own, her spirit comes back to wreak revenge. This is such a fun horror movie with a very sadistic vengeful ghost who particularly enjoys taking her time carrying out her deadly deeds and seems to toy with her victims. Each of the nurses have their own vice, mostly with being beautiful which the spirit exploits to the fullest. The nurses also have their eye on the doctor who has shagged his way through each one of them

Sick Nurses is an obvious homage to the Japanese long haired ghost movie but with a slight difference. I thought the first half of this movie was rather tame but in the latter half the blood starts to flow with some slick inventive death sequences and the creepy hospital setting really adds to the mood and atmosphere. I really liked this movie and if you enjoy horror movies then I’d recommend you check this one out.

Sadako’s Rating: 4 out of 5

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1949. In an alternative universe where WWII never happened, a masked master thief known as K-20 terrorises the rich in Japan’s capital city Teito stealing priceless items. When circus acrobat Heikichi Endo is framed for his crimes and sent to jail, he breaks out with the help of thieves on the outside and uses his circus skills to find and stop K-20 from acquiring a device that can destroy cities and to prove his innocence.

A very good old fashioned rip-roaring adventure in the mould of a superhero movie even though K-20 doesn’t have any superhuman abilities at all. The sets, CG special effects and the actors especially Takeshi Kaneshiro are fantastic in their roles. I had a blast watching this and Shimako Sato did a great job directing. I hope there’s going to be a sequel. Highly recommended.

Sadako’s Rating: 4 out of 5

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What better way to get this new blog on its way than with a review of one of Hong Kong’s most notorious classic Category III shockers. I present to you the wickedly dark comedy gorefest Ebola Syndrome.

Directed by one of Hong Kong’s prolific directors Herman Wau who also shot another horror called The Untold Story (I haven’t seen this yet) and starring Anthony Wong in an ultra violent exploitation piece of filmmaking.

It’s 1986 and lowlife scum Kai works in a Chinese restaurant in Hong Kong. When he’s not serving dishes out to customers in a nonchalant way, he’s having sex with the boss’ wife! When he’s caught in the act in the room upstairs by the boss and his wife says he raped her, the boss beats him up and vows to inflict some torture on him by tying him up in a chair. Kai though has other ideas and manages somehow to get himself out of the situation, goes apeshit and murders his boss, the wife and some of his co-workers but not before slicing off part of the boss’ wife’s tongue with some garden shears. Nasty!!! Just as he’s about to kill off the young daughter, another co-worker walks in and Kai walks out.

Fast forward 10 years and Kai has fled to South Africa where he again works in a Chinese restaurant in Johannesburg for a married couple. He’s still the same despicable character as before and the boss’ wife hates him with a passion. He’s even prone to listening next door on the boss and his wife having sex whilst he relieves himself into the restaurant’s meat (which he then cooks to customers)! Gross!!!!!

Whilst out on an outing with the boss to secure cheap meat, they end up in a native village where some of the villagers have died from the Ebola virus. On the way back an argument ensues when Kai crashes the car into a tree whilst trying to avoid a herd of elephants. As Kai saunters off in a huff towards a nearby lake he chances upon a young native girl prone on the floor. Seizing an opportunity to have sex, he forces himself upon her. The girl starts to have convulsions and finally spits blood in his face before dying. Now Kai is infected with Ebola but the doctors find that he’s only a carrier and won’t get the full blown disease. It’s not too long before Kai’s violent tendencies flare up again and he murders the boss and his wife, carving and then serving them up as special hamburgers to the restaurant’s customers. When he finds the boss’ secret money stash he decides to go back home to Hong Kong where an Ebola outbreak starts to happen there. Hot on his tail is the daughter of the boss who narrowly survived Kai’s first murderous spree – now all grown up and the police.

I’d heard a lot about Ebola Syndrome during the past 5 years about its reputation and had avoided it just for that but recently I thought what the hell and gave it a go. It’s certainly one of the most gross out horrors I’ve ever seen but also one of the funniest (am I weird in saying that?).  The only thing I found very distressing about this movie was the graphic deaths of live animals such as Kai slicing up frogs to be used in a dish and also in the native village where we get to see some chickens being inhumanely killed (if you’re an animal lover I suggest you look away during these sequences) but if this doesn’t bother you one bit there’s a lot to interest any gorehound out there (including quite a gruesome autopsy on somebody’s face!). Anthony Wong is a joy to watch as Kai. Just the way he acts, his facial expressions and his behaviour in this movie had me in fits of laughter (except when he turned violent of course!). It looks like he was born to play the perverted loser Kai! The script isn’t really up to scratch to be perfectly honest but this movie has enough to keep it ticking over. Overall, Ebola Syndrome is a cult HK classic that any horror fan should check out.

Sadako’s Rating: 3 out of 5

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