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Archive for March 11th, 2010

It’s a bright sunny day in Seoul and the park overlooking the Han River is teeming with people enjoying a day out with their family. The Park family have a house and food stall right near the park, ideal for making money. The good for nothing lazy son Gang Du is sleeping on duty whilst the grandfather Hie-bong and Gang Du’s teenage daughter Hyun-seo are watching their relative Nam Joo on television trying to win an archery competition. A crowd starts to gather near the banks of the Han River. Gang Du now awake goes down to see what the commotion is all about. A large dark object is seen hanging down from the bridge crossing the river. As the crowd starts to speculate what the object is, it starts to move and falls down in to the river. Suddenly the creature rears its ugly head from the river and starts attacking people in the park. A blind panic ensues as the crowd scatter to escape with many people taken by the creature. Unaware of what’s going on, Hyun-seo goes outside of the family’s house only to see people running away. Her father grabs her and they both dash off only to fall. Not looking, Gang Du grabs the nearest hands near to him and run again only to realise it’s not his daughter’s hand he’s holding. When he turns around, Hyun-seo is standing in the distance with the beast bearing down on her. It takes her and heads for the river before diving down to the depths.

Hyon-seo doesn’t die in the attack and manages to place a weak call on her mobile phone from the lair of the beast which is in one of the city’s sewers. The Park family with the aid of a sewer map look one by one in each one, hoping that Hyun-seo is in one of them. Will they manage to locate Hyun-seo? How can the authorities stop and destroy the creature before it kills many more people?

This fantastic creature feature really impressed me but I just didn’t know if it was meant to be a serious movie or a tongue in cheek one. You get a bit of everything whilst watching it – from terror to humour and suspense. It even provides several ‘jump out of your seat’ moments which I was not expecting at all. The story borrows a bit from previous monster flicks with the opening moments seeing some doctors at a morgue pouring large amounts of toxic chemicals down the plug hole into the Han River. You just know that some kind of mutant is expected to be born from such a cocktail. The creature itself is quite a weird looking one and I can’t really describe it that well. Let’s just say to me it looked like a giant catfish with feet. The special effects depicting the creature are top notch.

As for the cast, 14 year old debutant Ah-sung Ko who plays Hyun-seo has a great future in the movie business. She takes on the strong character of Hyun-seo and gives a very convincing performance. I thought she was superb and I look forward to seeing what she does next. The Host is a slick sharp monster movie which is played out in a unique way combining human drama, horror and comedy. Seek this gem out and prepare to be surprised.

Sadako’s Rating: 4.5 out of 5

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Shutter (2004)

Tun is a young photographer who along with his pretty girlfriend Jane go to a gathering one night with his friends. On the way home with Jane driving and whilst she’s distracted talking to Tun, she manages to hit a young woman full on before crashing into a barrier. Looking into her rearview mirror, the girl is prone in the middle of the road. Jane wants to go out and check the girl but Tun tells her to drive away and so she does. Days later whilst Tun is looking at photographs he recently took, mysterious lights and shadows start to appear in them and Jane is having trouble sleeping at night. Though his camera checks out OK and trying to find a rational explanation for the odd phenomenom, it soon becomes clear to Tun that he’s being haunted. A check in the local papers find nothing to suggest that a fatal hit and run accident took place the night they hit that girl. Perhaps she was OK after all? Soon Tun and Jane start to experience strange things happening to them. It gets much worse when several of Tun’s friends commit suicide. It’s all connected to Tun’s past which he tried to hide and it becomes apparent that this restless spirit has him on her death list next. Will he manage to escape her vengeance?

Well what an incredible scary and creepy movie this was and it really made me jump out of my seat several times. The atmosphere and tension is cranked up from the moment they hit the young girl on the road and never lets up for the rest of the movie. It will leave you on the edge of your seat. A great storyline. In a tired market which has churned out these type of movies just to join on the bandwagon over the years I’m glad to say Shutter manages to stay fresh and imaginative. It doesn’t manage however to completely escape from trying to copy stuff from other movies. I just wish that they’d think of another type of vengeful spirit, it gets that bit boring seeing a long haired woman all the time. Can’t they at least try and get away from the image of Sadako from Ringu. Just use some imagination and think of something different – in order for the people watching to say “well we haven’t seen anything like that before”. A nice fresh approach to the Asian ghost movies genre. The script and pace is just right. It’s got some nice twists and turns. Any movie that can make me scared deserves to be praised.

Sadako’s Rating: 4.5 out of 5

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Linda Linda Linda (2005)

3 days before they’re due to perform at their school festival, trouble strikes for an all female high school rock band. Their lead guitarist has broken her finger and even worse is a falling out between the vocalist and another guitarist. The vocalist quits the band. With time running out, the remaining members of the group – Kyoko, Kei and Nozomi strive to find a new vocalist. They pick a Korean student Son who is on an exchange programme who can’t speak Japanese very well and has never sung in public before. Instead of performing original songs, they decide to do some covers instead. After thinking about which songs to perform, they listen to a track by mid 80’s Japanese punk band The Blue Hearts called Linda Linda and decide to sing 3 of their tracks. Whilst the other 3 on instruments practice together, Son heads off to a karaoke bar to rehearse (not without some problems!). In between sneaking into school after nightfall to practice, some of the band members try and sort out their love lives. With the day of the gig fast approaching, will the group called Param Naum (The Blue Hearts in Korean) manage to pull it off in front of their peers?

Linda Linda Linda is a superb tale about friendship, music and teenage crushes. The producer picked 4 fantastic girls as the band members but easily the pick of the bunch and the one that provides the humour in the movie is the Korean – Bae Doona. She steals every scene she’s in. The actresses are excellent in their roles. The characters are very likeable, quirky and you will them to succeed as a band. So the plot isn’t original but who cares – when you’ve got such a warm story this movie will instantly grow on you. And then there’s the brilliant music including the infectious tune Linda Linda which I’m sure you’ll be humming after watching. I’d never really heard of the Blue Hearts before but apparently their tunes are growing in popularity again now in Japan, thanks no doubt to this movie.

I wasn’t really expecting this to be so different from other high school music movies but thankfully it was. There are no jealous girls in the school who sabotage any equipment or a major crisis that threaten to tear the band apart. The director keeps it simple and concentrates on the band’s rise to fame. Whilst the pace of the movie might be too slow for some I thought it was just right. And Linda Linda Linda ends on such a perfect note as well which made me smile.

A charming endearing movie which will have you tapping your feet in the end. It might even spark some interest in Japanese female rock groups for some of you.

Sadako’s Rating: 5 out of 5

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Kamikaze Girls (2004)

Momoko, a pretty young high schooler lives in a quiet rural area in Japan. To escape her boring life, she constantly dreams of living in 18th century France and so she dresses up in the clothes they wore during that time, think of Little Bo Peep and you get a rough idea of how she looks. She gets the apparel from a specialist store in Tokyo called Baby The Stars Shine Bright. One day Momoko’s life is turned upside down when a rough and ready Yanki (means rebel) female teenage biker called Ichiko shows up at her doorstep who wants to buy some of the fake designer gear that Momoko is peddling about to make some money. Ichiko is part of a biker gang called The Ponytails and is completely different from Momoko. She looks dangerous, spits, headbutts and constantly sneers all the time. An unlikely friendship however starts to blossom and before long they take off on a journey to find a legendary embroiderer called Emma as Ichiko’s mentor Akimi in the gang is retiring soon and she needs her jacket to have a special message on it. On their way they win some money at a pachinko parlour and pay a visit to Momoko’s favourite store. The power of their friendship really shines when Ichiko is challenged by her colleagues in the gang and it’s up to Momoko to save the day. Will Momoko be able to rescue Ichiko in the nick of time? Will they manage to find the embroiderer they seek?

Fun! That’s the principle of this brilliantly hilarious friendship and coming of age movie. Take 2 people from completely different backgrounds and watch the sparks fly as their worlds collide. One is prim and proper whilst the other is wild and out of control. We get to see how both their lives panned out from childhood and why they turned out they way they are now. The plot is nothing you haven’t seen before but it’s the way that the director plays it out on screen which is so fantastic to see. It’s unlike anything that I’ve seen before from the weird characters to the bright colours and anime segments to the odd angles the director uses his cameras but strangely enough when it all comes together and you watch this movie it gels really well. I can only say that it’s very imaginative and original. It stands out from other ‘buddy’ movies you may have watched – it’s nothing like Thelma and Louise let’s just say!

The 2 leads are absolutely amazing. Kyoko Fukada plays the baby-doll Momoko and is so kawaii whilst model turned rock singer Anna Tsuchiya is Ichiko. Whoever cast these 2 deserves to be congratulated as both complement each other really well. It looks to me like they had a lot of fun making this movie. They’re such talented actresses. A thoroughly enjoyable movie. It’s certainly very unique. I did laugh quite a bit whilst watching such is the funny situations that happen to the characters. I love Kamikaze Girls and I hope you do too.

Sadako’s Rating: 4 out of 5

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Dragon Head (2003)

Teru Aoki and his classmates are on their way back from a schooltrip in Kyoto on a bullet train when all of a sudden there is a blinding flash of light. When he wakes up, his world is in darkness, the train carriage he was in is a wreck and even worse his classmates are dead, strewn all over like carcasses. What could have happened? In shock, he somehow manages to stumble out of the carriage to find that the train he was travelling in trapped in a collapsed tunnel with both exits hidden under heavy rubble. Along with a female classmate Aki, both make it to the surface where a shocking view awaits them. The world they once knew is gone, replaced by total devastation. The landscape resembles a waste land in every direction they look and the sky is raining heavy ash. The only option left is for both of them to try and make their way back home to Tokyo hoping that they find somebody on the way.

Even though this movie drags on a bit I think it’s still an awesome disaster movie. I love movies with post-apocalyptic scenarios in them. They could have cut at least 30 mins from the movie as the pace is really slow – I can see that making a lot of viewers switch off. The highlight has to be the amazing special effects which rival Hollywood’s efforts. It really is visually a stunning movie to watch. Saying that the movie doesn’t really focus on the destruction as such but on the 2 leads as they rely on each other in the face of adversity. You are never told what led to the devastation and it’s a bit frustrating not knowing. Was it a nuclear disaster, 2 nations blowing each other up or a massive meteorite from space – you just don’t know. It’s up to you to wonder and think what could have made this disaster happen. If you can manage to stay awake for the first 40 mins then I think you’ll find this movie ultimately rewarding and enjoyable. It could have been a hell of a lot better if somebody had given a little bit more thought into the plot. A missed opportunity. Give it a chance anyway.

Sadako’s Rating: 3 out of 5

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GoRanger vs JAKQ Movie

The evil alien syndicate CRIME led by Iron Claw and his 4 trusty lieutenants having been defeated by JAKQ reform once again to threaten the planet Earth and Japan. This time they plan to bomb 7 cities and watch the devastation from Earth’s orbit before returning to rule. But they can only do that after they’ve defeated the Super Sentai team JAKQ (Jack, Ace, King, Queen – their helmets based on playing cards motif). CRIME are also launching their offensive on different continents but combatting them are other units such as Kikaider and Kamen Rider. When the body of a CRIME prisoner who tried to escape washes ashore on the Japanese mainland, JAKQ is sent to investigate but find a mysterious woman also taking photos of the scene. When she is stopped by the team they find out she is a member of the sentai team Goranger. Both sentai teams decide to join forces to destroy CRIME once and for all. CRIME are planning on dropping their Citybuster bomb on various locations around the globe which includes London and New York.

Released way back in March 1978, this was the first Super Sentai movie to crossover with 2 different teams. Goranger was the first Super Sentai series to air in Japan in 1977 with JAKQ the 2nd appearing a year later in 1978 so it made perfect sense to get them to appear together to appeal to fans of both series. It was nice to see the beginnings of the sentai era. Though the movie doesn’t have wall to wall pyrotechnics that the newest sentai movies have these days, it still contains a healthy dose of action and explosions to satisfy any sentai fan.

No trailer but I’ve put the first part of the movie up

Sadako’s Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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In the year 1641, two ninja clans – the Iga and Koga tribes have lived in hidden villages in Japan for centuries. Both tribes hate each other with a passion but have been non aggressive up to now due to a rule specifically stopping them from fighting. The Lord of Lords, a powerful man who has united Japan after a period of heavy fighting decrees that 5 of the best warriors from each tribe must fight each other to the death. The rule that stopped both tribes from fighting each other is cancelled. The only problem is that the female chieftain from Iga and the male chieftain of Koga have fallen in love with each other after a chance meeting by a stream years ago and are secretly married though can’t live with each other. The Lord of Lords feels that the tribes pose a threat to the peace and are too dangerous with their abilities therefore he wants both of them wiped out. The chieftains decide to go and see the Lord of Lords and try and persuade him to stop this war. Even though both chieftains want to stop the war, members from both sides take exception to this rule and go ahead with fighting their opposite number regardless. What’s the priority now for the chieftains – the love for one another or fighting alongside their tribes? With the best warriors from each tribe battling one another, the Lord of Lords launches a devastating attack on both ninja villages.

Shinobi plays out like a Japanese ninja version of Romeo & Juliet with a bit of a fantasy element attached to it. Based on a manga called Basilisk, don’t go into this movie expecting a lot of violence and action. If that’s what you’re after then keep clear. If you like movies like Hero or House of Flying Daggers this will be right up your street. A lot of the fighting is CGI effects with wires but there’s nothing wrong with that. Some of the warriors have mystical powers which come out especially during fighting. One of them although he doesn’t look like Wolverine from X-Men – the metal claws that he uses as weapons is a deliberate rip-off and another has these Spiderman-esque skills in which he can shoot tentacle like whips from his long sleeves. Though the romance aspect of the story takes centre stage, the fight sequences that happen are absolutely breathtaking to watch. You just have to suspend your disbelief at times with the fighters battling up trees or in the air. It is such a beautiful movie to look at. Rich colours are everywhere to be seen from the scenery to the costumes of the characters. The movie never outstays it’s welcome and I felt the 100 minutes was just about right to wrap the plot up. Shinobi is another brilliant fantasy epic to come out of Japan.

Sadako’s Rating: 4 out of 5

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Set in the Meiji era, a baby girl is born in a women’s prison whilst snow is falling outside, the mother Sayo dying in birth. Her only wish for the child once grown up to be used as an instrument of death against those that did wicked deeds against her family. The child is given the name Yuki. Her mother Sayo deliberately shagged all the prison guards hoping she would conceive a child as she would not be able to extract her own vengeance for an incident that destroyed her family’s life in the past involving some nasty people. Years later and now a young girl, Yuki is taken to a priest to learn how to fight and use a sword. Though a very strict and tough routine, she manages to perservere and when the time comes when she is 20 years old, Yuki is ready to undertake the mission of avenging the mother she never knew.

Starring the beautiful and captivating Meiko Kaji (of Prisoner 701 fame) this is a bloody samurai tale of revenge. A stylish, gritty film with a superb solid story and brilliantly staged fight scenes which excite you. A lot of good character development. As with a lot of Japanese movies, it is based on a manga. There is countless acts of violence in the movie with blood spraying galore so if seeing people being sliced and diced is not your cup of tea then you’d better stay away. Unlike her other famous role Scorpion, Kaji is given plenty of dialogue in this movie. She’s just got this presence onscreen which is remarkable, I just couldn’t see anybody else in the role. Her performance is excellent. A very impressive tale. It’s got a lot to recommend and you will see a lot of similarities in Lady Snowblood with the Kill Bill movies. Definitely one of the best Japanese films to come out of the 70’s. Yuki would come back for a sequel which will be reviewed soon.

Sadako’s Rating: 4 out of 5

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Arch Angels (2006)

Also known as Warau Mikaeru. Fumio Shijo is a newly transferred pupil at an all-girls religious school for rich families called St Michaels situated on an island somewhere in Japan. Here the girls are trained how to act and behave like ladies. Several girls who come from rich families nearby have recently gone missing. During the school’s annual garden cosplay party, a number of pupils disappear. Fumio and two other girls aided by the school’s dog mascot try and locate them. Even though the pupils are forbidden to leave the school grounds, they disboey this rule and head outside. The dog leads them to the quayside by the sea where they find that one of the nuns at the school the sexy Sister Melena and her Italian associates have taken the girls onboard and tied them up below deck. It seems that it was Melena all along who’s been abducting the girls in the area. It’s up to Fumio and her friends to rescue the kidnapped girls and defeat the bad guys.

Based on a manga and starring the wonderful Juri Ueno, Warau Michael is one crazy film which was released in 2006. It’s a mixture of action and comedy containing heavy CGI effects such as the school’s black canine mascot Damian who looks like a devil dog with his bright white eyes, illustrations that reminded me of Terry Gilliam’s work in Monty Python and even some comic effects like they used in the old 60’s Batman series (you know the BOOF, BAM ones they had during the fight sequences). There are a lot of Japanese culture jokes in the movie which I just didn’t understand. The plot is totally ridiculous – an Italian temptress masquerading as a nun in order to kidnap some of the pupils for reasons unknown. But saying that this is just brilliant and it’s such a hell of a fun movie to watch. One you can disengage your brain for 92 mins and just let it go over your head. It did sorta made me think me of Charlie’s Angels in a way that it didn’t take itself too seriously at all and was way over the top. Totally fun, wacky and weird comedy. I thought it was awesome.

I can’t find a trailer or a clip for this movie unfortunately.

Sadako’s Rating: 3 out of 5

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At the conclusion of the first Death Note movie, Light Yagami (Kira) and L had met for the first time. Light had killed his own girlfriend to cover his tracks and under a false pretence that he hated Kira for what he did Light was allowed to enter L’s investigation team. The idol Misa Amane who was about to be killed is spared her life when her would be murderer drops dead near her feet and a Death Note lands nearby. The story continues……….

There was something lacking I found in this sequel, I just didn’t find it as exciting as the first movie. There wasn’t so much a mind battle going on between Light and L which I found disappointing. I expected a lot more. Nevertheless it’s still an enjoyable movie. The 2 leads still shine in their roles and this time joined by Erika Toda who has a much more significant role as Misa, the owner of the 2nd Death Note. Another problem with the sequel is too much talky bits and not enough action. The tension which had me on the edge of my seat in the first movie was sadly lacking in this one. The pace also isn’t as fast. The conclusion is great though as Light finally gets what’s coming to him after murdering so many innocent people as well as criminals. If you watched the first then you’re obviously dying to find out how it all ends. I wouldn’t bother seeing this if you haven’t watched the first otherwise you’ll be confused. A satisfying end but it could have been so much better.

Sadako’s Rating: 3 out of 5

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Death Note (2006)

A young man named Light Yagami who’s a brilliant law student at university finds a mysterious notebook with the name Death Note written on the front in Gothic font which has been dropped by the God of Death Ryuk. The notebook has instructions inside which states that if a person’s name is written in it’s pages that person will die. Initially sceptical of the notebook’s ability to make people die, he tries it out on 2 criminals who promptly die of heart attacks.

Light meets up with Death Note’s previous owner – the God of Death Ryuk and declares himself as the new God of Justice. Soon Light is casting judgement on criminals around the world and the police have no clues who they’re dealing with. The new protector of justice’s popularity sweeps the nation with the media dubbing their new hero as Kira. Some agreeing with his methods of punishment, others seeing Kira as a dangerous individual. With the number of deaths rising, the police turn to the mysterious L, a superb genius detective who’s revealed to be a teenager with some quirky habits. L has his suspicions who Kira is and with the number of leads narrowing down it’s Light’s name which comes at the top of his list. What follows is a brilliant cat and mouse mind battle like a game of chess between L and Light as he tries to cover up his tracks which could lead to his identity as Kira. With L convinced that Light is Kira, how will he be able to prove his innocence. But Light still has a couple of tricks up his sleeve.

The movie Death Note is based on a popular manga and anime series and was released in Japan in June 2006. It proved to be a box office smash with a sequel that came out in November 2006 (I will review this very soon). As I haven’t read the manga or seen the anime I can’t say if any of those are better than this movie but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I know most people say that the manga is much better. This movie however is only just setting things up for the sequel and ends just as things start to get interesting. The 126 mins running time flew by. It’s fascinating to see how corrupt Light turns out to be as he becomes arrogant with the Death Note in his possession even sacrificing his girlfriend’s life in order to conceal his identity. I’d say the overall message of this movie is that absolute power breeds corruption. Whilst Light at first only kills criminals, once the police and the FBI are on his tail he doesn’t think twice about killling them as well. He starts out as a hero but descends into being a villain. The two lead actors in this movie especially Kenichi Matsuyama as L are fantastic in their roles. One of my favourite Japanese actresses Erika Toda only has a minor role in the movie as an idol but that’s expanded in the sequel when she possesses another Death Note. The CGI of Ryuk, the God of Death is excellent who resembles the face of Batman’s Joker with his white face and big grin. He tends to have a fixation on apples as well!

A gripping, suspenseful movie which will keep you at the edge of your seats. It makes you wanting to see more. It also asks you a question in what would you do if such a notebook came into your possession? Would you start bumping off criminals and how far would you go? Would you know where to stop even? Something for you to think about there.

Sadako’s Rating: 4 out of 5

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A massive earthquake deep under Japan destroys a major city. A scientist Toshio Onedero caught up in the quake emerges from his wrecked and overturned car to find the city in flames and a young girl Misako walking between the ruins. Both are saved by a young female Japanese Hyper Rescue Unit member called Reiko. Due to frequent earthquakes, the Americans predict that Japan will sink during the next 40 years but this prediction is way off when a geo-scientist called Tadokoro who is using a deep sea submersible sees unusual activity in the ocean. By using a simulation on his computer he predicts that Japan will sink in not 40 years, not even in 10 years but in less than a year’s time – 338 days.

As the worst case scenario begins in earnest, long dormant volcanoes on Hokkaido start to erupt and the region is devastated by a huge earthquake. Even the Prime Minister of Japan is killed in his plane during a volcanic eruption. All over Japan, quakes are happening and volanoes erupt, tsunamis devastate coastal towns and cities. A geo-scientist however comes up with a solution that could save the day – as once Mount Fuji blows her top a massive crack will rip the Japanese islands in half. He insists that hundreds of N2 explosives which are dropped in drilled holes on the ocean floor and simultaneously detonated will stop the sinking of Japan. The first attempt at this ends in failure and a young pilot called Yuki loses his life. It seems that there is no hope but Onedero steps up to the plate insisting to Tadokoro that by using an old submersible that’s been mothballed the job can be achieved. However, this will be a one-shot deal. Onedero will be going on a suicide mission in which he cannot return back alive. Will his mission be a success? Can he stop all of Japan from sinking?

This is the updated remake of the 1973 disaster film. Spectacular is what I thought after watching this film. A really well made production shifting between scenes of devastation, science bits and human drama. The special effects are amazing, rivalling Hollywood standards as satellite images from space show the whole Japan archipelago in flames. The disaster sequences are short and I would have liked to see them for longer onscreen but what you’ve got in the film is effective enough to show the horror and havoc of the situation. A panoramic shot of Shibuya and the nearby area falling is breathtaking. You could say the special effects is the real star of the film and if you like them then you’ll enjoy The Sinking Of Japan. The plot is great but I thought that the suicide mission by Onedero was copied a bit too much from Armageddon for my liking but apart from that I really loved this film. The science bits made it that much more interesting, explaining why and how the present dilemma has happened.

Sadako’s Rating: 4.5 out of 5

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4 children are snatched by the devious Machine Empire Baranoia robot organisation. After being dumped at their base outside in the wilds, the children are ushered into a van with the promise that they’re off to a movie studio and have the chance to be movie stars themselves. This is just another scheme by Baranoia in their quest to rid the Earth of humans and replace them with robots and a chance to finally get rid of the Ohranger team. The Ohranger team are alerted to the kidnappings and manage to find the fake movie studio. This is a trap however and with the children now shifted out of the studio by van to Baranoia’s base in the countryside the attack on Ohranger can begin. With the Ohranger team busy tackling Baranoia’s lackeys, the real purpose of what awaits the children is revealed. Their limbs are to cut off and replaced by cybernetic ones. The Ohranger team meanwhile have finished eventually to wipe out the Baranoia force in the fake studio but find out that what they thought were machines are in fact humans that have been altered and given a robotic mask. Receiving instructions from their base, the Ohranger team rush to Baranoia’s base to rescue the children but find their army of goons waiting for them. Can they get to the children before Baranoia start cutting off their limbs?

I’m still surprised just how violent these kind of movies are in Japan. Take this scene for instance coming near the climax of the movie. The 4 children are made to witness a brutal act by Baranoia as a man is strapped into a chair and has his legs cut off by an axe wielding robot. Although you never witness the act itself you can hear the axe cutting something and the horror on the children’s faces says it all (and they say this movie is aimed at kids!!). Could you see that scene being shown on US and UK TV? Not a chance. You’ve got to remember that all Super Sentai programmes shown in the West has been heavily dumbed down for reasons unknown. They obviously don’t want the little ones to be exposed to death and violence. It hasn’t harmed any Japanese children or adults who continue to watch these shows every year. A hugely enjoyable movie considering that the series is reported to be poor (I can’t comment as I haven’t seen it).

No trailer but a clip from the movie

Sadako’s Rating: 3 out of 5

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What would happen if all the countries in the world sank and only Japan was left above the ocean? The year is 2011 and the world is in grave danger. The Earth’s techtonic plates are shifting. First to feel this disastrous effect is America which sinks below the ocean. Survivors are shipped out to other various countries whilst the President and his men, Hollywood actors and actresses are flown over to Japan. When Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia all sink, everybody comes to Japan which does not please the locals there. Crime goes up, nobody watches the TV as the Japanese are fed up with watching foreigners on their programmes all the time and food becomes rare and expensive as the population soars. The countries that criticise Japan the most (China and Korea) start sucking up to the Prime Minister and Hollywood stars struggle to get some work – the women turning to prostitution in order to get money. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis are left to humiliate themselves doing pathetic party tricks in bars for cash. English stops being the global language, everybody must learn Japanese. Whale meat is back on the menu as there are no other countries to stop the Japanese. Western women are made to act like maids in order to serve the Japanese men. Japan is now the only superpower left in the world whilst the 12.5 million foreigners are left homeless. The Prime Minister decide the only way to deal with foreigner related crime is to mobilise a new unit called the Gaijin Attack Team (GAT). This unit rounds up all the foreigners committing crime and not conforming to Japan’s rules such as speaking the language and deports them out of the country. Old Americans are pushed into nursing homes so that the retired Japanese folk can throw all manner of objects and abuse them as payback for dropping the bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But even Japan will not escape the fate that befell the other countries of the world and it’s only a matter of time before it too sinks.

There’s only one word to describe this film – crazy. this is a parody of the 2006 disaster film The Sinking Of Japan (review coming soon). Anything relating to Western tradition is ripped apart in this comedy but it also takes a sly dig at Japan itself. The film looks and feels like a cheap B-movie but I think that’s what the director wanted it to look like. Whilst this isn’t the laugh out loud movie I was expecting, there are still enough funny moments to keep anyone entertained for 95 minutes. Some people might be offended by just how much this film takes the piss out of Western traditions. As for myself I can take a joke so it didn’t bother me.

Sadako’s Rating: 3 out of 5

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A nasty, gritty, edgy exploitation film set in a women’s prison. The iconic Japanese female star Meiko Kaji is Nami Matsushima better known as Scorpio. Matsu is sent to jail after being betrayed by her former lover – a narcotics inspector called Sugimi. He set Matsu up as bait to bring a Yakuza crime syndicate to justice. The bust up fails however and Matsu finds herself raped repeatedly by the syndicate whilst the boyfriend takes a bribe from the boss. When Matsu tries to knife Sugimi in front of the police station where he works she is taken away to a female prison. There she is subjected to the cruel and sadistic ways of the prison guards and the other prisoners who try to break her unnerving will but the only fire fuelling Matsu’s mind whilst in prison is breaking out and handing out her revenge on the lover that betrayed her. The warden of the prison tries his best to break Matsu but she doesn’t flinch.

What an outstanding movie this is. Filled with violent images of beatings and torture but what makes this film so great is Meiko Kaji who plays Matsu. Although she doesn’t say a lot in the film, the way she refuses to be a normal prisoner during the many trials she endures makes you admire her. She’s an anti-hero more than anything. You do root for her to escape from the prison so that she can get even with those people that ruined her life. Kaji is an incredibly gorgeous woman as well as being a talented actress. It’s even her that sings the theme tune for this film which was used in both Kill Bill films. The director Shunya Ito uses some interesting camera angles and lighting – I don’t think I’ve seen anything like it before, it’s very unconventional. This was only the first of 4 films starring Matsu (the next being Jailhouse 41 which some say is the best of the four). Meiko Kaji is fantastic as the silent but deadly Matsu. If you’re offended by nudity and violence then don’t bother to watch it otherwise take a look. It stops short of being smutty and it’s more grindhouse than an arthouse film.

Sadako’s Rating: 4 out of 5

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