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Archive for March 16th, 2010

The explosive final entry in the series has Ogami Ittō confronted by a secretive branch of the Yagyū clan that practices black magic, including the ability to burrow through the earth. He encounters Kaori, a female expert with knives. And there’s Hyouei, an illegitimate son of Yagyū Retsudo who kills anyone Ittō and Daigoro come into contact with. Both Ogami and Daigoro fight for their lives as they’re attacked from all directions. Can they survive the final encounter with the Yagyū clan?

The Lone Wolf And Cub series has been excellent to watch – so entertaining and this one, the final entry is no different. The fantastic battle at the climax sees Ogami taking on Retsudo and his ninja army on skis. Actually I was sad that there isn’t another entry – I would have liked to see this series continue.

Sadako’s Rating: 4.5 out of 5

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Ogami is tested by five messengers, each who try to kill him. After defeating all the messengers, Ogami learns he must kill a young girl who was raised as a boy and is intended to be the heir of a local lord, while the real heir, a little boy, is kept locked away. In addition to murdering the senile old lord, his concubine and the girl, Ogami must stop a document revealing the deception from reaching the hands of his mortal enemy, Yagyū Retsudō. Meanwhile, Daigoro is again separated from his father and proves his courage and sense of honor as he refuses to admit the guilt of a woman pickpocket he became mixed up with.

Just as good as the other entries in the series so far. The swordplay in this one is amazing and relentless. There is barely a minute without some sort of fight and none are repetitive. There always seems to be a new way to kill someone with plenty of blood. The story is particularly in-depth in this one, with an interesting plot about deceit and betrayal within the Kuroda clan. Of particular note is the focus on the relationship between Itto and Daigoro, which in this entry is very unique and moving. The cinematography is as usual stunning, it really showcases Japan’s beautiful countryside.

No Trailer I’m afraid.

Sadako’s Rating: 4 out of 5

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Ogami is hired to kill a tattooed female assassin. Gunbei Yagyu, an enemy samurai, happens upon Ogami’s son, and sees his chance for revenge.

The series keeps getting better and this one is my favourite so far. There’s more violence and gore. For the 1st time we wonder if Ogami will survive the sheer number of attacks on him by the Yagyu clan. He’s appeared to be somewhat invincible until this movie. There are various bloody sword fights on show with the superb climax in a quarry.

I can’t find a trailer but did find this clip from the movie

Sadako’s Rating: 4 out of 5

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In the 3rd movie, Ogami Itto gets involved in a run-in with a prostitute, where he undergoes torture on her behalf as she killed a pimp. Other side-stories include Itto meeting another “disgraced” samurai, and his next assignment which is to kill an officer who murdered the whore-house madam’s sister.

Another fantastic installment in the Lone Wolf & Cub series. The highlight for me has to be the battle scene with Ogami & Daigoro facing a small army. When you think that this is it and he’ll never be able to fight all of them the babycart comes to the rescue holding yet more surprises. Awesome!

No trailer for this entry either.

Sadako’s Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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The 2nd in the series finds Ogami Itto and his son battling a bunch of female ninjas and 3 powerful brothers known as the Gods Of Death whilst on a contract. Much more violent and gory than it’s predecessor but still thoroughly enjoyable.

Can’t find a trailer for this movie.

Sadako’s Rating: 4 out of 5

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The first of 6 movies starring the assassin for hire Ogami Itto and young son Daigoro. Ogami Itto is the official executioner for the Tokugawa Shogunate, but his position is coveted by the villainous Yagyu clan. The Yagyu frame Ogami as a traitor to the Shogun, and, just to be sure, kill off his entire family with the exception of his son, Daigoro. Ogami has only two options left to him. He can commit suicide and retain his honor, or he can become a ronin, a masterless samurai, and pursue his seemingly futile vow of vengeance against the Yagyu. He decides to take his son with him, so he spends his time traveling around Japan pushing his son around in a wickedly customized baby cart.

Those who love old school Japanese samurai flicks don’t need to look elsewhere as this has a good storyline and plenty of swordfights with body parts being cut in fountains of blood. The babycart that Ogami wheels around looks innocent enough apart from the fact that it’s loaded with weapons from which he can kill some more bad guys. A really fine and entertaining movie.

Sadako’s Rating: 4 out of 5

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Night Time Picnic (2006)

This is a Japanese movie about youth, friends and family when 1000 school pupils in their final year take part in an 80km walking festival that takes place during a 24 hour period. At first glance you’d think this was a romance drama but it isn’t. Ultimately it’s about 2 people (a boy and a girl) who have to face up to reality of who they are to each other.

It has it’s funny moments and a great soundtrack. There’s even a cameo appearance by the gorgeous Rosa Kato. I suspect some might find this boring but I liked it. If you like slow paced movies then this could be right up your street. Give it a go.

Sadako’s Rating: 4 out of 5

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Assembly (2007)

One of the best war movies I’ve ever witnessed with some outstanding battle scenes. The movie is a tale of 2 halves spanning 10 years. The first half covers the Chinese Civil and Korean war whilst the 2nd half finds our main character Captain Gu Zidi now half blind after the end of the Korean war trying to find the bodies of his fallen comrades that died 8 years previously and gain recognition that they died as heroes for their country.

This Chinese movie is an incredible blockbuster. I found it to be both moving and touching. Everything about this production is fantastic such as the realistic battle scenes which are reminiscent of Saving Private Ryan and Brotherhood. Zhang Hanyu gives such an amazing performance as Gu Zidi. I highly recommend it.

Sadako’s Rating: 4.5 out of 5

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This movie rocks! A baby girl is born with autism. As she grows up, she finds her senses have been heightened. She picks up martial arts from watching TV and the Muay Thai school next door to her house. When her mother is dying from cancer and needs money for treatment, Zen and her friend Moom go about collecting money from the nasty gangs that owe her mother. They have no idea what’s about to hit them….

The 24 year old Thai female Jeeja Yanin is absolutely amazing here. This was her debut movie and she totally kicks ass in it. So agile in her fights. The action scenes left me speechless. Cool use of images showing another Thai star Tony Jaa. Great to also see Japanese actor Abe Hiroshi in this movie. It’s probably one of my favorite martial arts movie ever.

Sadako’s Rating: 4.5 out of 5

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Lovely Rivals (2004)

This movie is about a harsh female teacher and her headstrong 5th-grade girl student who battle for the affection of the school’s handsome new teacher.

Hilarious comedy and I love the way the two fight considering their age difference!

Sadako’s Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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A championship wrestling match pits Koji Taguchi against Crush Volcano, the latter no match for Koji’s signature move, the Torture Ring Strangler. Koji beams as he clutches the Champion Belt, only to have it snatched away by a mysterious new challenger in the ring–a giant squid! A giant squid, in fact, who not only evades Koji’s key attack, but destroys him with a Northern Light Suplex! Koji’s fiancee Miyako watches tearfully, though there’s something about this Calamari Wrestler that seems familiar to her.

Got to be the most bizarre and surreal movie I’ve ever seen of a man reborn as a squid who makes a comeback into the wrestling ring. The premise of this movie sounds preposterous but believe me this movie is great fun if you don’t take it all too seriously.

Sadako’s Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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A really great revenge story as a deranged female whose 6 year old girl was killed goes on a murderous rampage against those that had some sort of link to the child. Her calling card is a sticker of a cartoon character. The police are hot on her tail….

For once you sympathise with the killer. The loss of her child has badly affected her. A nice ending in which justice is finally served. If you can stomach the horrific first murder in the department store restroom I think you’ll enjoy this movie.

Sadako’s Rating: 4 out of 5

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Weird and wacky Japanese comedy set in a high school which has a gorilla called Whoopi, a robot and a mute Freddie Mercury lookalike as pupils. Some of the jokes are a bit hit and miss but there’s a wonderful spoof of The Exorcist involving the school robot and a cat! Things get even more strange when an alien ape from space called Gori invades and plans to conquer the Earth (Gori was a character in an old 70’s sci-fi show called Spectreman). I think this movie is an acquired taste and not everybody will understand and like it.

Sadako’s Rating: 3 out of 5

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It seems there is a large mountain in Tokyo that is used solely for the purpose of discarding garbage as well as unwanted people. As the mountain grows larger, something causes those buried in it to return to life as flesh eating zombies. Fujio and Mitsuo work in a fire extinguisher factory and with loads of free time these two practice martial arts. What better way to train than to practice martial arts on the living dead?

Hilarious spoof zombie movie of two slackers who kill their boss and dump his body on a mountain of waste called Black Fuji. I found the part when the first victim of the zombie outbreak – a guy getting his dick bit off to be so funny. If you like Shaun Of The Dead then you’ll certainly like this movie.

Sadako’s Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Shikoku (1999)

Teenage girl Hinako returns to her home village on the Japanese island of Shikoku (which she left for Tokyo with her parents when she was a little girl) for the first time. Back then, a girl named Sayori and a boy named Fumiya were her best friends. Now Hinako meets Fumiya again, but Sayori died when she was 16. Hinako soon discovers that strange things are going on. Sayori’s mother, a priestess, wants to bring her daughter back from the dead. 88 temples circle the fog-shrouded island as a seal to protect its inhabitants from the dead. But by traversing the temples in reverse order for every year of a deceased person’s life, the seals can be undone and the dead person will come back to life. And Sayori’s mother is about to travel the temples for the 16th time…

Slow paced supernatural/folklore drama of a grieving mother intent on resurrecting her daughter from the dead. Beautifully filmed and filled with atmosphere and some very spooky moments, this is a great modern ghost story. Another fine performance from Chiaki Kuriyama as the dead daughter.

Sadly I can’t find a trailer for the movie

Sadako’s Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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