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Archive for March 11th, 2011

In order to gain money, the crew of the Going Merry enter the Dead End Race, a dangerous anything goes sailing competition. On the starting island of the race the crew is introduced to that year’s favourite, General Gasparde, a former navy general who deserted after killing his men. A subplot in the movie involves a cabin boy named Anaguma on Gasparde’s ship, who in order to save Biera, the boiler man, is allowed off the ship to claim the bounty of whichever pirates he chooses to kill. As fate would have it, he picks the Going Merry as his target. A bounty hunter named Shuraiya Basc├╣d is also introduced as the ‘Pirate Executioner’, and seems to have a dark past involving Gasparde, and at the climax of the film, goes head to head with both Needles and Gasparde himself, a battle that Luffy interrupts and ultimately finishes, once and for all.

Longer in running time with more character development, the 4th One Piece epic is certainly the best I’ve seen so far in the franchise. The animation is very well done as it always is, the villains and secondary characters are interesting such as the Pirate Bounty Hunter Shuraiya and the action is exciting along with the typical One Piece humour which balances out the overall storyline very nicely. Luffy gets to meet a worthy and very powerful opponent that tests him to the limit in a spellbinding finale. An absolute joy to watch.

No trailer but a fan made video highlighting the best bits from the movie

Sadako’s Rating: 4 stars out of 5

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When Earth is tearing itself apart by means of crime, pollution and war, aliens choose the time to invade, taking advantage of the lowering of everyone’s guard. The Japanese government establishes an elite police organization known as Blue SWAT to combat the aliens, known as the Space Mafia. The aliens attack by possessing humans to obtain their goals. When an alien possesses the chief of the Blue SWAT unit to infiltrate the organization, it manages to completely demolish their building of operations and murder all but three SWAT members; Shou, Sara and Sig. Managing to keep the suits and equipment assigned to them, the three form their own private detective-like agency called Blue Research to continue their mission of defeating the Space Mafia. Now working on their own, their battle with the Space Mafia is only beginning…

Blue SWAT was the 13th Metal Hero series that ran from January 1994 to January 1995. Although targeted towards kids, it was the adults that took to this series more than the kids due to the serious mood of the show although they decided to change it to a lighter mood halfway through the 51 episode thinking that this would appeal more to kids. This movie is a compilation of the first 2 episodes of the show – introducing us to the villains throughout the series – The Space Mafia and the heroes out to stop them – Shou, Sara and Sig. The movie wastes no time in getting right down to the action with our 3 metal heroes blasting the alien foes with specialised guns and rocket launchers. It’s a tad too short for my liking at 20 mins, I would have liked to see more. I guess it was just a taster to entice curious tokusatsu fans to watch the show. It’s good stuff nevertheless.

No trailer but the OP credits to the series

Sadako’s Rating: 3 stars out of 5

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Bayside Shakedown (1998)

Aoshima, a police detective working in the Bayside Precinct, is continually frustrated by the hierarchy and red tape that plague the system. His friend Muroi is climbing the ladder of the police bureaucracy. Muroi has made a pact with Aoshima that while Aoshima looks after the streets, Muroi would make life easier for the cops on the beat. One day in Bayside, a series of events turns the small station upside down. A corpse is found in the river, then the Police Commissioner is kidnapped, leading to the Metropolitian Police Department to take over the investigation which is led by Murai. Will he be true to his pact with Aoshima and co-operate with the local police? In the meantime, the murder investigation leads to a morbid web page and a deadly chat room in cyberspace.

This is the big-screen sequel to a popular Japanese television drama called Bayside Shakedown. The series ran in Japan in 1997, and was followed up by three television specials before finally getting its big screen debut which has since spawned 2 sequels. This is a police drama with a difference as it does not include guns (in fact none of the officer carry guns!), car chases, or gratuitous violence. It’s more about the humdrum life of police officers who want to do their job but get prevented from doing so by meddling from their superiors. This movie features well-drawn characters such as the hot headed Aoshima, the tough female officer Sumire played by the adorable Eri Fukatsu and Inspector Heihachiro Waku. There’s also plenty of humour in this movie so it’s not all serious. Fans of gritty cop dramas should steer clear. This was made for the fans of the original drama series and the filmmakers haven’t changed any of the formula that made it popular in the first place. It has enough charm, humour and drama to make it a great and refreshing new take on a cop movie. I’m looking forward to watching the 2 sequels.

No trailer but a clip from the opening credits

Sadako’s Rating: 4 stars out of 5

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