Archive for March, 2012

This is a spin-off feature from Tokyo Gore Police and centres on 3 characters from the movie who are each given a short story telling us how they became an “engineer”. The first is about a retarded construction worker Dokata who can’t speak properly but is looking for love and gets more than he bargained for, the second about a schoolgirl attacked by 3 people who’s transformed into a dog of some sort and the final story is about a man who witnesses a fight between a woman who has a penis for a nose but also instead of hair she’s got a head full of penises and another “engineer” who looks like a red indian.

I absolutely loved TGP when it first came out. It was imaginative, hilarious and I had never seen anything quite like it before so when I had a chance to see this short sequel I was over the moon. It does not disappoint and continues in the same vein as TGP in that it’s off-the-wall, bizarre, surreal, downright crazy but also extremely funny. It only lasts for 45 mins but in that time it really entertains you. Gore hounds will also love this movie as it has copious amounts of blood as heads explode, limbs are cut and there is splatter galore!! The first 10 minutes is basically a highlights reel of TGP. Each short story is preceded by an advert – my favorite is the one about foreigners who break the immigration visa rule. To punish them their fingers are put in a device that cuts them off and leaves an imprint of their fingers on a piece of paper! Another ad features a family using their dead grandfather’s flesh as household items such as a lampshade!!

For such a short feature, director Yoshihiro Nishimura has not cut back on the OTT visuals. It’s hard to pick which story I liked the most. Each one had an aspect to it which I thought was very funny. I suppose the second story featuring the schoolgirl who gets her limbs put into a grinder was the most interesting and weird. Her old limbs are ground down and mixed with blood, urinated into and then force fed down her throat!! Finally the bloody stumps where her limbs used to be are then replaced by big pencils. No, this isn’t a typo mistake!! She’s turned into a human pencil dog who walks on all 4 pencil limbs!! Seriously, if you thought you’d seen it all before then you haven’t until you see this movie. Fans of TGP – do not miss out. It’s a blast which will have you laughing in disbelief. I loved it.

I wished there was a trailer for me to show you but there isn’t.

Sadako’s Rating: 4 stars out of 5

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Bored bar girl Hijiriko steals some cash from her workplace and a car. Across town, gangster minion Jiro is helping his boss and his cronies kill somebody when they turn on him. He manages to take off in his boss’ car along with 5 million yen. Both Hijiriko and Jiro crash into one another but instead of arguing about whose fault it was, they take off together in another stolen car. As they start blazing a trail of crime across the country and succeeding in pissing off every person they meet, they mistakenly get locked inside a steel container. After being released when the container arrives at it’s destination, Jiro and Hijiriko nab a pump action shotgun from a hunter after killing him. They begin a murderous spree which not only attracts the local police but also the gangsters that have been after Jiro from the start of the movie. Realising that Jiro is heading to his sisters place in the town of Tango near Kyoto, the gangsters set up a trap in a lonely wooden cabin up in the mountains. Will Hijiriko and Jiro manage to evade the trap by the gangtsters and escape from the police?

This isn’t a well known movie for Western viewers even though it’s got 70’s exploitation queen Meiko Kaji in one of the leading roles. Don’t make the mistake of thinking because of that it’s not any good because you’ll be missing out on a brilliant movie. With it’s Bonnie & Clyde storyline, this is a fantastic action thriller which motors along at a cracking pace. It has a hint of dark humour running throughout even though the story is serious and has quite a bit of excessive violence. We’ve all become used to seeing Meiko Kaji in roles as a cold, emotionless woman so it’s quite a change to see her display a little bit of emotion in this movie even though she is certainly her usual frosty self for the first half. As the storyline moves into the second half we see that Hijiriko has developed some feelings for Jiro and they start a relationship. It’s not often we see Kaji in a movie showing a romantic side to her. Hijiriko and Jiro make an interesting combination.

Director Sadao Nakajima manages to keep the movie interesting and entertaining with hardly any let up in the action right through to it’s bloody climax. As a big fan of Meiko Kaji, I can thoroughly recommend this to anybody that may have only seen her in the Female Prisoner series and wants to expand their viewing experience of her. It’s well worth seeking out.

Sadako’s Rating: 4 stars out of 5

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The Front Line (2011)

Towards the end of the Korean War, a South Korean battalion is fiercely battling over a hill on the front line border against the North in order to capture a strategic point (Aerok Hill) that would determine the new border between two nations. The ownership of this small patch of land swap numerous times over the course of the war. 1st Lieutenant Kang is dispatched to the front line to join a unit nicknamed Alligator Company by the Americans in order to investigate the rumours that a mole is passing information to the North and that their former captain has been killed in suspicious circumstances. But he gets spiraled into the war that’s more terrifying than death itself when he meets his friend Kim, who has transformed from a meek person into a war machine, along with his unit. As the countdown for ceasefire begins, both sides become more vicious, resulting in deaths of countless lives until the last man can claim the hill.

Unlike the epic war movie Brotherhood of War, The Front Line takes a different approach – concentrating instead on the futility of war itself. It’s not about heroics but about survival so we don’t get to see any war heroes but men deeply scarred by the conflict who just want to go home to their families. Used as pawns by their superiors in a back and forth battle for a useless piece of land which sees countless die. The movie doesn’t start out as a straight forward war movie though but as a mystery as we follow Kang in his mission by his superiors to track down a mole and a potential traitor in Alligator Company. Director Jang Hoon gives us a viewpoint from both sides in the war – one ingenious plot device is by the way of a drop box hidden inside a bunker in which the soldiers exchange letters and alcohol.

The characters (which most viewers will be familar with already from similar war movies) we encounter are all sympathetic to the viewer, showing their hopes and fears, questioning why they are fighting. As we near the end we see their joy as the armistice has been signed signalling the end of the war but that joy is shortlived when they are told the ceasefire will not take place until 12 hours later and their superiors demand one last battle out of them to capture Aerok Hill. You sort of sense that some of the characters will not survive this final skirmish. The battle scenes are spectacular and explosive putting us right in the thick of the action, showing the immense effort that Alligator Company have to give in order to capture Aerok Hill with the North soldiers dug in bunkers and mowing down the soldiers of the South with their machine guns. The sub-plot with the company coming under fire regularly from a female North sniper they nickname ‘Two Seconds’ was really good.

The Front Line suffers a bit with it’s long running time. Take away around 30 mins and the movie might have been better. The downtime between the battles I thought at times were fairly dull and padded out. Thankfully unlike other war movies there isn’t any melodrama here. The only real criticism I can give is there was just too much talking and not enough action for my liking. The cast give a really good account of themselves in their roles. Whilst I admire the director for trying to give us something a little bit different, I still rate Brotherhood of War as the ultimate Korean war movie I’ve seen.

Sadako’s Rating: 3 stars out of 5

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All Night Long (1992)

One morning in Tokyo, 3 teenagers lives are turned upside down when an innocent high school girl is murdered in a frenzied attack by a weird salaryman in front of their eyes. The traumatic incident bonds the three lads together and they become friends. To overcome what they’ve seen, they decide to have a little party in a couple of days and each one has to find a female partner to accompany them. Two have no luck whatsoever – one is tricked by a feminist and is handcuffed to a fence with his pants hung around his ankles, the other thought he had a date with a girl but finds she’s been stolen by a classmate. The last of the trio does find romance with a schoolgirl but their happiness together is bought to an abrupt end when a gang of delinquent thugs attack them. He is helpless as they rape, torture, cut the girl’s ankles with a pair of scissors before eventually killing her. Seeking revenge, he turns to his 2 friends for help in finding the ones responsible and teaching them a lesson they’ll never forget. Bringing a shotgun owned by the rich kid’s father, the three take off in a car and hunt down the gang. But how far will they go to prove their point?

Opening with a shocking and bloody stabbing sequence at a train crossing that’s easily one of the most nastiest murders you’ll ever see onscreen, All Night Long is a dark, twisted and disturbing movie that has a clear message: violence lurks in each and every one of us and it only takes a trigger of some sort to make us snap just like the 3 characters here. It doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor – if you’re pushed too far, any human being is capable of such brutal and violent behaviour. The 3 main characters all come from different backgrounds – a nerdy bookworm, a rich kid and a bright kid with a promising future as an airline mechanic. The fateful encounter at the train crossing uniting them together. Normal people you’d meet every day perhaps but whose behaviour changes once events are set in motion. You might have read that this movie is very gory but I can assure you it’s not all about blood and guts. Only in the beginning and end do we see the red stuff splattered around. The revenge dished out by the 3 teenagers you might say is deserved to the callous and vicious gang but through their actions all of the 3 young lads have turned into the thugs they sought out. They’re no different to them. Their insane laughter reminding me of the Droogs from A Clockwork Orange. The ending I think is particularly chilling as the only survivor of the encounter – the one person you’d least expect to turn violent but did (the nerd Shinji) gives the camera a smile, as if to say ‘ha I got away with all of this’ before blending into the scrum of the crowd in a busy Tokyo street.

The acting by the cast is quite good and I like the style that Katsuya Matsumura employed in directing this movie coupled with a haunting soundtrack and great cinematography. This is a bleak and depressing movie with no happy ending whatsoever but I still thought it was very entertaining with it’s dark storyline. I would certainly recommend it though gorehounds might be disappointed by how little gore there is. Those that are easily offended or with a weak stomach would be wise to stay clear of All Night Long. There are a couple of other sequels in this franchise which I’m keen to check out. I just hope they’re as good as this one.

Sadako’s Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

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Graveyard of Honor (1975)

This movie follows the life of an archetypical yakuza thug that rose from the refugee camps of World War II in Tokyo but unlike his peers in the Kawada clan who follow a code of conduct, Rikio Ishikawa follows his own set of rules which puts him on a collision course not only with his own gang but other factions as well. After nearly starting a gang war and then killing his clan’s godfather, he is imprisoned for 18 months and banned from joining any yakuza clan in Tokyo for 10 years. Resurfacing in Osaka after his release from prison and being pulled into the world of drugs by a prostitute, Ishikawa comes back to Tokyo and stirs up a hornets nest between the various gangs in the city. His old clan is none too pleased he’s back in town. Attacking and killing yet another godfather who was once a close friend of his, Ishikawa is once more made an outlaw. With the clans all gunning for him, can Ishikawa escape with his life or does he not even care that he could die at any moment?

An excellent yakuza movie by Kinji Fukasaku which is on a par with his Battles Without Honor and Humanity series. If you’ve seen one or two of those movies you might be tempted to think this is similar in storyline. Well it is a bit but instead of following a young yakuza’s rise to the top, we follow a self-destructive yakuza member whose reckless violent behaviour threatens to destabilise the clan he is a member of. He lives for the moment regardless of the consequences and obviously doesn’t listen to his boss. Fukasaku filmed this movie in a documentary/biopic style with narration during some parts, some cool sepia effects and skewed camera angles. This mix adds another dimension to this brilliant picture.

Tetsuya Watari is awesome as Rikio Ishikawa. Ishikawa is a character that hasn’t got any good qualities that makes you want to root for him at all – he’s just a crude, nasty, violent rapist and gangster. He has no respect for anybody, just as long as he gets his own way. You only have to look at the way he treats his only real ally (the geisha girl Chieko) in the movie that he doesn’t really care for her at all. Maybe some viewers will think he deserves what’s coming to him as the movie enters it’s finale? There’s plenty of violence onscreen in the movie that puts you slap bang in the middle of gang fights which is shot in Fukasaku’s unique style. Bright red blood is spilt in abundance especially in the unforgettable final scene.

Graveyard of Honor is an unmissable and memorable movie for those that love the yakuza genre. Takashi Miike made a remake of this movie in 2002 so I’m quite intrigued how that movie compares to this one. I’ll have to make sure to check it out very soon.

Sadako’s Rating: 4 stars out of 5

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Blind Beast (1969)

Blind sculptor Michio kidnaps a female model Aki whose body he admired from a sculpture in a gallery. He takes her to his secret studio prison which is adorned by a massive torso of a female body in the center of the room and other large parts of the body that are on the walls. Michio wants Aki to help him create a masterpiece of clay using her body as the template simply by using his touch alone. Michio isn’t alone in this endeavour as his mother attends to his every needs. As Aki’s plight turns to desperation having tried the easy way to escape, she goes down another path which is seduction in order to drive a wedge between Michio and his mother. His mother gets jealous and in a tussle between the three of them she is accidentally killed. Michio blames Aki for this and repeatedly rapes her, however she starts to like what he’s doing to her. They begin a bizarre sexual relationship. As Aki herself starts to go blind due to being surrounded in total darkness for 24 hours, both herself and Michio descend into the limits of their depravity and masochistic tendencies which involves biting, whipping and using knives to draw blood so that they can drink it. But that isn’t enough for Aki who wants to experience the ultimate pleasure and pain!

Blind Beast is a lurid, dark and psychologically unique story that takes us into the extreme side of relationships but is also about obsession, emotional manipulation and the perverse nature of art. The movie is claustrophobic using minimal sets and lighting – the studio prison set is great in that it’s so surreal. I think the character of Aki sums it up best when she says it seems the large pieces of female sculpture parts dotted everywhere have been taken from the viewpoint of a baby. This movie is quite disturbing in that it manages to capture horror without using any gore whatsoever especially during the horrific final sequence. That’s one of the pluses that director Yasuzo Masumura has achieved with this movie – he doesn’t feel the need to show anything, just the sound of objects being used in cutting flesh is enough to repulse you. Although from the plot you might think this is full of sex scenes it isn’t although there’s plenty of nudity involved.

Mako Midori is very beautiful as the captive Aki who knows how to switch between playing the victim and the manipulator. Eiji Funakoshi as Michio plays his role extremely well. Watching him caress Aki’s body with his fingers is very chilling.

Although a shocking movie for the majority, it’s certainly one that you should experience. It’s well directed with brilliant cinematography and superb acting from the 2 leads. I guarantee that you will never have seen anything quite like it!

Sadako’s Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

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Villain (2010)

Yuichi Shimizu is a lonely young man who lives in a quiet fishing village but somehow through a dating agency he meets a young female sales insurance assistant from Fukuoka called Yoshino Ishibashi. They go on a couple of dates until one night she betrays him by going off with a rich university student Keigo Masuo in a car even though he’s not really interested in her at all. Yuichi follows them. Tired of Yoshino, Keigo dumps her in the middle of nowhere and leaves. Yuichi tries to help her but she’s having none of it. Yoshino threatens to tell the police that Yuichi kidnapped and raped her. This makes Yuichi snap who throttles her to death before dumping her over the side of a bridge. As the body is found and the police investigation begins, Keigo is made the prime suspect whilst Yuichi goes on with his daily life where he meets a shop sales assistant called Mitsuyo Magome who is also lonely in life. The two begin a passionate affair but by now Keigo has been cleared of his involvement in Yoshino’s murder and the police turn their attention to Yuichi. He confesses his crime to Mitsuyo who persuades Yuichi that they run away together. They break into a cold empty lighthouse but how long can they hold out until the police finally find where they are?

What a compelling movie this is which had me hooked from the very beginning to the end. Whilst Villain might have thinking that the title refers to just Yuichi then that’s a mistake. There are various other supporting characters whose actions make you wonder if they should be the main villain of the movie from the devious doctor who uses his yakuza henchmen to bully Yuichi’s grand mother into giving money to him and also Keigo Masuo who is such a lowlife scum that it will make you be somewhat sympathetic to Yuichi. It is the characters after all that drives this movie and makes it so good. Director Lee Sang-il also focuses some of the plot on the families of the victim and the murderer, showing the heavy burden that have been placed on them. Yoshino’s father in particular who pursues Keigo because he thinks he’s partly responsible for her death. As the circumstances for her death are unknown, he just wants to know why his daughter was murdered. The emotions the character displays is probably typical of someone who has lost a family member suddenly and tragically.

The cast are fantastic all round and the pacing is quite moderate as the movie runs to 140 mins. Eri Fukatsu is really good as Mitsuyo who has her sad reasons for falling for Yuichi but of course it’s Satoshi Tsumabuki who is so convincing as the tormented Yuichi. The story is dark and tough and it tackles some current issues in Japanese society such as loneliness and dating websites. But what I like most about this movie is whilst the majority can point the finger at somebody like Yuichi for being a bad person, how can you judge him when everybody can be evil in one way or another. Villain was one of the most top rated movies in Japan in 2010 which narrowly missed out on the best picture award at the Japanese equivalent of the Oscars. It’s well worth watching if you have a chance.

Sadako’s Rating: 4 stars out of 5

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Treeless Mountain (2008)

In the city of Hunghae, a mother abandons her two little girls in the care of their hostile aunt whilst she takes off in search of her estranged husband. 6 year old Jin and her little sister Bin are left to their own devices by their aunt who has a bit of a drinking problem and can’t even make food for them on some days. Their mother promised that if her parting gift of a red piggy bank is made full she’ll return back for them so the girls try their best to do that by catching grasshoppers and cooking them in order to sell to customers. When the piggy bank is full, the girls full of hope and happiness wait in front of the bus stop thinking that their mother will be there to see them on the next bus but that never happens. A letter arrives for their aunt by the girls’ mother. Knowing the girls are a burden on their aunt, her mother orders the two girls to go and live with their grandparents on a farm in the countryside. Although their grandfather is cold and unwelcoming, their grandmother helps them to adjust to their new rural way of life.

Treeless Mountain is a wonderful tale of resilience and survival by two children. The two girls are absolutely brilliant in their roles and you really feel for their plight. The emotions they portray through their faces is amazing. You start rooting for them and hope that their mother will come back. It’s heartbreaking to see the 2 girls full of hope once their piggy bank is full waiting patiently as each bus comes and goes without their mother. This movie is crafted so well and the pacing is slow. The director uses a lot of close-up shots of the girls to show the story from their view. The movie feels like a documentary the way it’s been filmed. It has relatively little dialogue. The meaning is artfully implied by watching the girls as they react to the people and happenings around them. The story is sad, painful but also cheerful and optimistic. It will certainly tug at your heart-strings.

This is a brilliant moving Korean movie which is highly recommended.

Sadako’s Rating: 4 stars out of 5

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Fires On The Plain (1959)

It is near the end of World War II and on the Phillipine island of Leyte, a group of starving and demoralised Japanese soldiers abandoned by their superiors are in retreat from the advancing American army. A young private in the Imperial Army called Tamura is in the final stages of tubercolosis. Ordered to go back to the hospital by the remnants of his unit, Tamura is given a grenade and told to kill himself if necessary. Turned away by the medics at the hospital, he joins up with other soldiers who wander the land looking desperately for any kind of food that’s available. Tamura is disturbed when he hears them say that they resorted to cannibalism in New Guinea. But will he do that if the situation arises?

This is a bleak and very depressing anti-war movie which shows the dehumanisation that can happen to men when their needs become desperate and they turn to eating other people. We’ve become used over the years to seeing gung-ho war movies which sees troops overcoming odds to triumph in some battle or another but this movies is completely the opposite and gives us a portrait of pathetic looking troops who are undersupplied, bedraggled and starving so much that they have no other alternative but to eat human meat. Director Kon Ichikawa shows us some truly horrific scenes such as a pile of bodies of Japanese soldiers outside a church being eaten by birds, a mad soldier eating his own shit and offering his arm to be eaten to Tamura and then near the climax we get to see a soldier with his face covered in blood feasting on a person that he just shot. Those gruesome images and more will be ingrained on your memory long after the end credits have finished. The movie is beautifully shot in striking black and white with excellent performances from the cast especially by Eiji Funakoshi as Tamura. The director is telling us in this movie that war is hellish when you’re on the losing side. He doesn’t try to make a hero out of the main character Tamura at all – he’s just a doomed soldier that’s trying to stay alive in a foreign land and hanging on to whatever humanity he’s got left in him.

Fires On The Plain is brutal, uncompromising and intense as any war movie you may have seen. There are some fleeting moments of black humour such as when a soldier finds a better pair of shoes on a corpse and takes them, the next soldier that comes along does the same and this goes on until Tamura sees that the ones on the ground are no better than his own (they have a gaping big hole in the sole) so he takes his shoes off and carries on barefoot. This movie won’t be for everyone. It is utterly depressing and fairly graphic for it’s time which caused a bit of a stir but it’s a fantastic movie if you’ve got the stomach for it.

Sadako’s Rating: 4 stars out of 5

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In the run up to the Christmas period, Haruhi Suzumiya is planning the SOS Christmas party with Kyon and the rest of the members. However, on December 18th when Kyon wakes up and goes to school, he realises something unexpected has happened and that his friend doesn’t know Haruhi, in fact nobody in his class knows about her. What has happened? Has Kyon landed in a parallel world where Haruhi doesn’t exist? People he knows well in the SOS Brigade doesn’t even exist in his school anymore. Kyon sets about looking for any kind of clues as to what has taken place with his first point of call – the SOS Clubroom which isn’t the gang’s clubroom anymore but the place for the Literature Club which has only Yuki Nagato as it’s member. She’s no longer anything special, just a bookworm. Perhaps a clue in the room and even Nagato herself can help Kyon in unlocking the mystery and finding out what is going on?

I loved the original ‘The Melancholy Of Haruhi Suzumiya’ series when it came out but failed to watch the 2nd series as I’d read all sorts of negative criticism about it so I was looking forward to seeing how the movie would turn out. It’s a different beast from the series I remember – definitely not quite as manic or fun and it has a slow and deliberate pace about it. After all, this movie runs for a whopping 2 hours and 42 mins after all. However even with that long running time, the whole plot kept me engrossed and absorbed for the entire running time and I really enjoyed it even if the plot was darker and more serious than I had anticipated. I think not having watched the 2nd series there’s a couple of things by the characters that are mentioned and I had no idea what they were going on about.

I know that watching a rather long movie can test the patience of any viewer but in this movie by expanding the running time it does make sense to have a slow build up to the mystery, doesn’t rush us into any situation and it makes the impact all the better for it. The characters are wonderful as always. It was nice to see a different side to them as normal human beings in the altered world especially the shy Nagato. Kyon is the driving force in this movie and not Haruhi as we follow his despair at the world he knows no longer exists and trying desperately to find anything of note that can restore the previous timeline. In fact Haruhi’s screentime is quite small in the movie as Nagato is promoted and given a far more important role to play. KyoAni gives us their usual high standards in their animation – pretty much identical to the series. Everything looks crisp and great. The original voice actors returned to reprise their roles to deliver a memorable effort. Aya Hirano is fantastic as Haruhi.

If you’ve seen both series then this movie is certainly a must-see. As a fan of the franchise I loved it. Casual anime fans I think should check out the series first before watching it or you will be confused.

Sadako’s Rating: 4 stars out of 5

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Supercop 2 (1993)

AKA Project S and Once A Cop

Female Police Inspector Yang is dedicated to her job with the Chinese Police Force. A skilled and highly respected professional, she chooses to remain with the force instead of going with her boyfriend David to Hong Kong who is looking to make a fortune there. Sometime later, Inspector Yang is called to go to Hong Kong to help with the police there in catching a dangerous criminal gang. What she doesn’t know is that her boyfriend David is working for the criminal gang. During a raid on the gang’s hideout, David sees that Yang is with the police but manages to get away safely. He calls Yang at her workplace and they begin to restart their relationship with David worming his way into the police investigation on the gang he belongs to. All appears to be going well until a prisoner breakout from a maximum security hospital in which the leader of the gang that David belongs to is helped to escape by David himself. Due to her romantic involvement with David, she’s ordered to go back home to China but Yang is determined to have one last chance in catching David and the gang he’s working for. The chance comes when the gang and their foreign colleagues break into the Hong Kong Central Bank in a daring heist to steal foreign currencies and make off through the sewer system. Can Inspector Yang reedem herself and thwart the criminals?

This sequel to Jackie Chan’s incredible Supercop is quite an exciting action movie. Michelle Yeoh managed to make quite an impression as Jessica Yang in that movie as she got promoted into the starring role in this production with director Stanley Tong once again taking the reins. However unlike Supercop, the sequel is slightly darker with hardly any humour…..that is until a ridiculous and unnecessary cameo by Jackie Chan and Eric Tsang in drag. I’m kinda confused why they added this into the movie. It has absolutely zilch to do with the storyline and feels tacked on as if they somehow had to add a funny moment. All it does is break the rhythm of the plot.

Although there is plenty of action in this movie, it’s not in the same tone as Supercop, in that there’s no outrageous stunts in it. There’s more gunplay than martial arts. The action sequences are competently done though and the explosive finale in the sewers is fantastic to watch. The fights are also well choreographed which includes Michelle Yeoh’s hand to hand combat match with a man mountain foe who’s twice her size. Michelle is wonderful to watch as Jessica Yang. When she’s given the right material to work with there’s nobody more exciting to see in action movies than her. She displays more than a hint of emotion in her role as Yang’s soul is crushed by the betrayal of her boyfriend with the end of the movie leaving us on a downbeat note. Yu Rongguang is also very good as David who has a slight conflict of interest in his criminal activities once his romance with Yang restarts again.

Supercop 2 is definitely worth taking a look at and a cool sequel to Jackie’s stunt packed movie.

Sadako’s Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

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Helldriver (2010)

An asteroid hits Northern Japan (Hokkaido) as young teenage girl Kika is nearly killed by her psychotic mother and her uncle when she has her heart ripped out. The resulting asteroid ash cloud begins to infect the population through inhalation turning them into blood crazed zombies with the source of the infection being Kika’s mother who is made the Zombie Queen. Each zombie has an antler shaped tumour protruding from the front of the skull. Before long 6 million people have been infected and a wall is built to seperate the rest of Japan from the infected area. Kika has been given an artificial mechanical heart whilst her undead mother keeps her daughter’s real heart inside her body which had a big hole after the asteroid struck her body! Captured by the government along with other people, Kika is given a chance of freedom by the Prime Minister – to go on a dangerous mission to the infected area to hunt and kill the Zombie Queen.

From cult gore master Yoshihiro Nishimura comes his 2010 splatter fest Helldriver. His previous movies have included such blood soaked classics as Tokyo Gore Police, Mutant Girls Squad and Vampire Girl vs Frankenstein Girl so if you’ve seen them you know what to expect in this movie. If it’s a coherent plot you’re after then go elsewhere but if you’re after a thrilling and crazy ride then you’ve come to the right place. I absolutely loved Helldriver. It’s such a manic movie – very creative in it’s set pieces and it has wonderful gross makeup effects. Be prepared to see a deluge of blood onscreen! It’s also very funny in places such as when Kika and her companions are attacked in their van by a wave of disembodied zombie heads falling from the sky! Another wacky scene involves a zombie baby being used in a slingshot attack on a person. The opening credits doesn’t even appear until 48 mins in the movie!

Even though this is a low budget horror, it’s incredible what Nishimura has achieved in this movie. He throws everything including the kitchen sink to create an imaginative storyline. You’ve got to give him credit. He knows what he’s good at and I always look forward to each new project of his to see if he can up the gore factor even more. He sticks to his tried and tested formula in each new movie and yet they never get boring……well not for me anyhow.

Helldriver is right up there as one of Nishimura’s best with 2 hours of madness for your enjoyment. A perfect mix of comedy and horror. Highly recommended.

Sadako’s Rating: 4 stars out of 5

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Sonny Chiba is Takuma Tsurugi, a tough mercenary who gets the job done any way he can. When he’s asked to kidnap the beautiful female oil heiress Saria by the Yakuza and the Mafia, he point blank refuses. Furious at his refusal, both groups plan to have him killed and still kidnap the woman by sending hordes of their troops to take Tsurugi out. But he’s not the type to be easily beaten. Can Tsurugi manage to beat the bad guys and still protect Saria?

This is one of the most far fetched, absurd and unintenionally funniest movie I’ve ever witnessed. It’s just crazy and some of the things that happen just beggars belief!! In saying that, I’m not trashing this movie at all as it’s very good. I’ll let you be the judge of how ridiculous you think this movie is! The movie was originally X-Rated when released in the cinemas for it’s ultra violent content and gore though it would seem rather tame these days.

During the 70’s, Sonny Chiba cut his teeth in Japanese movies usually cast as a tough guy and in this one he plays the ultimate bad ass anti-hero and a lethal weapon with his hands. Witness the destruction that he does to the bad guys such as castrating a black opponent with his bare hands, ripping out a throat of another, gouging eyes out and then there’s the famous x-ray skull crushing scene which has to be seen to be believed. I found Chiba’s face gurning (trying to mimick Bruce Lee) whilst he’s doing his martial arts routine to be hilarious. Some of the other OTT moments in the movie include Tsurugi and his comedic sidekick Ratnose being dropped in their car from a high bridge and coming out from the wreck largely unscathed!!

The action in this movie is very violent, bloody and fast & furious. The climax which is set on an oil tanker at night is fantastic as Tsurugi cuts a swathe through the baddies until he has to have a final scrap with an old opponent of his who has a score to settle. It’s a shame the movie ends rather abruptly to set up the sequel but no complaints from me as I loved this movie from start to finish.

Sonny Chiba is awesome in the title role and his co-star Goichi Yamada is great as Ratnose. Yutaka Nakajima brings some glamour to her role as the stunningly pretty Sarai.

Quentin Tarantino is a big fan of The Street Fighter and it’s easy to see why. This is a classic martial arts/action movie that no Asian movie fan should miss. A gem.

Sadako’s Rating: 4 stars out of 5

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Rice Pot and Chimney are 2 expert pickpocketers who with their Master’s daughter Ann have managed to earn quite a living on the streets of Hong Kong. They’re quite a formidable team. Unfortunately their Master takes all of their money and they are forced to get involved with local gangsters in order to get some cash. Meanwhile Rice Pot meets Ling at the disco and instantly falls in love with her. He finds out she is an undercover policewoman, and she calls upon Rice Pot and his friends to obtain some diamonds from a crime boss. This they do successfully but the only problem they have now is staying alive, as the crime boss is prepared to kill to get his diamonds back.

Now before you start to think that this is a UK comedy it isn’t, it’s got nothing at all to do with the British Carry On films. This is another great Sammo Hung directed action/comedy movie. It begins as an all out comedy with some action scenes but as the movie heads into the second half it turns decidely darker, serious and brutal with some superb choreographed fights near the end. Sammo gets to show us how versatile he is in this movie and Frankie Chan as his sidekick gives him good solid support. This movie might start out a bit slow but once it gets going the mood starts getting more intense. Whenever you see any Sammo Hung movie you know the action and fight scenes are going to be spectacular and you will not be disappointed here. There’s a fantastic motorcycle bike chase and the fights feel fresh and different from what you might have seen in his other movies. You don’t associate gore with Sammo’s movies but we do get a couple of nasty bloody deaths in this one. The comedy on offer is also really funny.

Carry On Pickpocket is probably one of Sammo’s lesser known movies although I don’t know why as it’s brilliant. I highly recommend that if you get a chance to buy or watch this movie, you won’t be making a mistake.

Sadako’s Rating: 4 stars out of 5

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The movie begins with OOO fighting a monster wondering why it’s not bleeding medals after each attack. As the creature possesses a young boy, Den-Liner appears from the sky and out comes Koutarou (KR New Den-O) to explain that the boy has been taken over by a Mole Imajin. OOO and Ankh board the Den-Liner as they head back in time to 1971 where the Mole Imajin has gone. They are warned not to go outside the train and interfere in the timeline but they do. In the resulting fight with the Imajin, Ankh drops a cell medal which is picked up by a Shocker goon who hands it over to the Shocker General. He then presents it to the Great Leader. It is only when Eiji and Ankh return back to the present time that they realise that something is amiss. Shocker is now in control of the world having used the cell medal 40 years ago for their evil purposes. Kamen Rider 1 and 2 were totally defeated, brainwashed and have been working for Shocker ever since. The change in the timeline has meant that no new Riders appeared after them. Den-O and OOO head back to the past once again to undo the damage but things only get worse for them. Can they defeat Shocker and it’s allies and reverse the damage already done to the timeline?

This was a fun movie to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Kamen Rider and unlike the 2009 movie All Riders Vs. Dai-Shocker where only the main riders teamed up to defeat Shocker, this one has the main riders and the secondary riders appearing together at the climax. Not only that but other tokusatsu heroes also have a small cameo – Kikaider, Kikaider 01, Inazuman and Zubat. I’ve heard and read about those 4 heroes but I’ve never seen their series so it was a nice touch despite the short time you see them onscreen. The reason for their appearance is it was also the 60th anniversary of the Toei Company. The movie focuses on 000, New Den-O and Kamen Riders 1 & 2. You don’t need to have seen any of the series in which they appear to enjoy this movie but it helps a little bit. The plot is good and there’s plenty of thrills and spills to keep you interested especially with the high quota of pyrotechnics on show. It all comes together in the brilliant climax where all the old riders appear to take on Shocker and it’s Great Leader. This is a movie that young kids and their parents who liked watching the original KR series back in the early 70’s can enjoy and reminisce. I loved this movie and if you’re a fan of any of the past KR series I’m sure you will too.

Sadako’s Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

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