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Archive for May 1st, 2012

In the near future, teams from several international countries are competing to create the perfect humanoid android which is being overseen by a wealthy Middle Eastern Sheik and his playboy son as they will invest in the successful venture. When one of the androids goes amok, a robot codenamed Eve R27 built by a female Japanese scientist Dr Sara manages to subdue it. This is only the beginning of a nightmare for the HK police as the Sheik’s son is kidnapped by a mad Japanese scientist Ryuichi Sakamoto. In the ensuing getaway, a female police officer Selina is fatally wounded and in a message sent to the cops, Sakamoto is holding the Prince to ransom until the Sheik bankrolls his quest to build a robot army. He kills himself and transfers his entire memories into the body of a male robot who starts to go on a murdering frenzy by killing some prostitutes during some heavy sex. The policewoman killed on duty has her thoughts transferred to an android body though her colleagues don’t know that, not even her boyfriend at first. The cops turn to Dr Sara and her sexy assistant Anna in trying to capture Sakamoto. They do this by opening a brothel in the hope that it will lure him in. Anna who has no previous memory wants to experience sex so she volunteers as a prostitute. However, the entire male population of the area upon hearing how fantastic she is in screwing line up to have a go!!! As Sakamoto starts torturing the Sheik’s son by using a power drill into his leg, the situation becomes desperate. The cops manage to trap and stop Sakamoto but instead of dismantling him, Dr Sara wants to conduct some tests on his head and the cops wants to know where he is keeping the Sheik son

This has to be one of the most ridiculous but hugely entertaining Cat III movies I’ve ever seen with obvious influences from Robocop and The Terminator. There’s enough sex, violence, robot-rape and low brow comedy relief courtesy of the lecherous and perverted cops to keep the avid sleazehound more than happy. This movie is extremely difficult to categorize, mainly due to some parts of it being different. In some parts, action is fast and flowing, with guns blazing and nasty horror such as decapitation (death by wicker briefcase!) being the order of the day. At other times, there are longish sex scenes, and at other times, there are more science fiction elements. However, it all combines well into one complete movie. And having three very nice women as eye candy helps a lot too. The most famous of the three is of course Amy Yip who was a huge sex symbol during the late 80’s and early 90’s in Hong Kong thanks to her ahem! prized assets! She was affectionally known as the ‘Yip Tease’ due to the fact she never went totally naked onscreen – there was something be it an arm or a leg to protect her modesty. There’s a rather unbelievable side-plot about a police informer that unfortunately gets killed by Sakamoto but hang on now as Dr Sara can see the final image he saw through his eyes by cutting them out and putting them through a computer. Well it is the near future after all!!! The plot is all over the place and really doesn’t make a whole lotta sense when you sit and think about it – but who cares!! We have super-hot cyborg women, a rape and violence obsessed nemesis, and enough cheezy/sleazy situations to keep this movie fun all the way through.

I loved Robotrix and it is definitely recommended for all Cat III fans. You’re guaranteed to have a good time watching it.

Sadako’s Rating: 4 stars out of 5

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9 Souls (2003)

A convict in an isolated prison stumbles upon a hole in the wall and nine men break out. Each of the convicts is carrying a baggage of difficult memories. The men take a red van from someone they know and head for a primary school near Mt. Fuji to pick up some hidden loot, but when they get to the school, all they find is a small glass key in a time capsule. The men are dumbfounded. But, as they continue on their journey they begin to experience a strange new sense of possibility. Their thoughts turn towards the unfinished business in their lives before they were locked up and one by one they decide to act. But where will their resolutions lead them?

What begins as a breakout movie soon turns into something more dramatic and indeed tragic by the time the end credits roll. It’s a kind of a funny spiritual journey/road trip for all the 9 convicts and also a wonderful character study of them. Director Toshiaki Toyoda takes a simple story that is so brilliant and original perfectly blending drama, comedy and violence to create a truly one of kind movie. The prison break movie maybe something of a lost genre these days, and road trip movie losing it’s appeal due to the way the world is getting smaller. But this story easily mixes something fresh to those two genres. The pacing of the movie is at times choppy, and you’d have scenes that come out of the blue (like the 9 guys cross-dressing as a disguise!). The beginning of the movie is very memorable with a wide-angle, birds-eye view over the Tokyo skyline and we see random buildings begin to disappear or blacken until in the end the only building not affected by this ‘infection’ is Tokyo Tower. Never seen anything done quite like that before – a nice touch by the director. The comedy is great with a couple of running gags involving one character being left behind at almost every stop and chasing the get-away van into the horizon. Another sees one of them constantly calling his ex-girlfriend for phone sex but she never answers!

The acting is superb by all of the 9 actors. Each of these men has a mission, a reason why they had to escape, and fate sees to it that they complete their tasks. Slowly, members break apart from the group as they come across the people they’ve wronged, loved, owe money to, etc. However, almost all of these redemptive attempts fail, and the resulting punishments are wrenching to watch.

Even though 9 Souls does have a little trouble sustaining it’s 120 minute running time, this thoughtful and inventive movie is well worth watching. Recommended.

Sadako’s Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

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Norwegian Wood (2010)

Set in late 1960’s Tokyo amongst a backdrop of street demonstrations, Norwegian Wood starts off about three friends – Toru Watanabe, Naoko and Kizuki – the latter who has been best close friends with Naoko since they were very young and they’ve become a romantic item in their teen years. Early on, Kizuki commits suicide in his car and Watanabe and Naoko go their separate ways. Watanabe goes off to university but the two eventually meet up again and end up having sex the night of her 20th birthday. Then she disappears again, this time to a strange asylum of sorts in the country for people with emotional issues. The two keep in touch, but at the same time Watanabe finds himself in a relationship with a much more outgoing young woman Midori. Torn between two women and feeling empty about life’s past and future, what ensues is Toru’s nostalgic journey of loss and sexuality.

I had a chance during it’s opening week in December 2010 to catch this when I visited Japan and now having finally watched it I’m thankful I didn’t take that chance to catch it. Having never read Norwegian Wood, I wasn’t that impressed with this artsy-romance movie apart from the mesmerising cinematography, soundtrack and the acting. Such beautiful scenes from the breathtaking mountainous regions of Japan in high Summer to the bleak snowy landscapes of Winter. It was just incredibly stunning to watch. Unfortunately it doesn’t save the movie. The soundtrack is appropriate enough but the story itself dragged on for far too long with many tedious conversations which didn’t really interest me. If I’m being frank I found it dreary, unfocused, and unreasonably slow-paced. Why are some things left unexplained for instance what made Kizuki so unhappy that he felt the need to commit suicide with exhaust from his own car? The characters are also plain unlikeable and shallow that you don’t really care for them. However, the cast’s performances are good. Kenichi Matsuyama as Toru Watanabe displays a vulnerability which leaves a lasting impression. Rinko Kichuki shows the much needed frailty of Naoko’s character without becoming overly melodramatic while newcomer Kiko Mizuhara is charming as the charismatic tease Midori.

Norwegian Wood is a great looking movie but it is not well written, and since it is also quite slow moving I don’t think it will engage general audiences who haven’t read the book.

Sadako’s Rating: 2 stars out of 5

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