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Archive for May 4th, 2012

Takuma Tsurugi is back for the final time in a full-length movie. Tsurugi has been hired by the Owada clan to recover two tape cassette recordings that when played in unison provide a formula for creating synthetic heroin potentially worth a fortune. When Tsurugi gives the tapes over in return for some money, he is double crossed. Naturally he manages to recover the tapes in order to get even more money. Another party who desperately wants these tapes is a crooked District Attorney. The head of the Owada clan gets his sister Aya to try and use her wily feminine ways of getting to Tsurugi. She’ll do anything to achieve her mission and hires a Mexican mariachi illusionist who has a powerful laser weapon to kill Tsurugi.

I was expecting the trilogy to go out on a high but this movie isn’t a patch on the first two although we do get to see Sonny Chiba’s character get defeated for the first time in a fight which was unexpected to say the least though he does get a 2nd chance later on to even the score. A familiar face to Japanese exploitation movies of the 70’s who has a significant role in this movie is none other than Reiko Ike. She gets to show us her considerable charms on more than one occasion! A disappointing factor was the majority of the brutality we had seen in the previous movies were practically gone except for the last scene where he kills his opponent by ripping his heart out with his bare hands (let’s see now – that’s ripping somebody’s testicles out in one movie and then popping someone’s eyes in another and now this!). There’s generally less action in the movie, and the fight scenes feel a bit lacklustre when they do occur. Sonny Chiba still busts out some cool moves and there are some impressively long takes, but it feels a bit like they want to get the fights out of the way so they can focus on the story when it really should be the other way round. The movie also lacks a really good villain. It seems that Tsurugi has turned into more of a Bond-like character who lives in a high-tech apartment and has an impressive variety of face masks to aid him in his tasks. The character of Tsurugi has definitely evolved over the course of the trilogy – he was an anti-hero thug in the first movie and by this one he’s more of a likeable spy character who has softened up a bit. I think doing that was a mistake. We get to see some truly unexplainable scenes which makes you scratch your head such as in a nightclub where he first meets Aya. Tsurugi is accosted by a young girl who works for Owada as a telephonist and passes messages on to him. She grabs him in order to go for a dance and during this Tsurugi puts on a pair of false vampire teeth and says he’s Dracula to scare her off. It serves no purpose to the plot itself and is just bizarre!

Although it contains plenty to keep the majority of viewers more than happy with it’s action and martial arts scenes, I was more disappointed in how much they had toned Tsurugi’s character down. Tsurugi would be back but would only appear in a couple of scenes in Sister Street Fighter.

Sadako’s Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5

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Dead Rising (2010)

The opening finds a teenager stumbling across a playground filled with kids and their mothers. He’s not looking where he’s going but continuing into the street where he is promptly hit by a car. Horrified onlookers gather as the driver approaches the teen to see if he is okay. They did not count on the teen rising up and biting the motorist. Meanwhile, in an apartment across the city,  Shin and his wheelchair bound younger brother are taking steps to bail out of their place as it seems the whole city is under attack by zombies. They plan to take refuge at some of the city’s safe-houses but it turns out that all of the safe houses are full as they get turned downed at three of them. It’s getting dark and they need some shelter fast, as zombies get more vicious at sundown. Shin finds a warehouse that seems perfect. Stocked with all kinds of boxes and barrels, they should have all of the supplies they need until they can figure out what to do next. But this warehouse also happens to be the home of a small gang consisting of three guys and a girl. And they don’t appreciate the 2 brothers entering their territory. Shin decides to take on the entire gang as this will give his younger brother time to escape. But that’s the least of everybody’s problems as the zombies come into the warehouse after a car crashes through into the place. Now it’s a matter of survival.

Based on the CAPCOM game Dead Rising, this movie seems at times like you’re playing a video game from the first person perspective. The story is constantly chopped up by using a series of flashbacks plus it’s also uninteresting. You’re going backwards and forwards in time so much that by the end you will find it so annoying and irritating. The movie doesn’t deliver anything new in the genre and it’s just like any other generic zombie movie you may have seen. If you’re happy with that, then great you might take something from this movie. It’s a very low budget production, mostly set in one location (a big warehouse) and uses crappy CGI blood and effects. The acting is terrible and some of the dialogue especially from the lead gang member is cringeworthy. I have never played Dead Rising but I’ve read it was a pretty good game so this might be one of the worst game adaptations ever. It’s possible CAPCOM just threw this together in the hope that the fans would be stupid enough to buy any crap associated with the game as it’s obvious that no great thought whatsoever has gone into making this movie. More of a case of ‘let’s do something cheap and nasty’ and pray that somebody will like it.

I can’t recommend this except for Dead Rising fans who may enjoy seeing references from the game itself. If you want to watch a more entertaining zombie movie from Japan check out Tokyo Zombie or Wild Zero. I can’t believe I wasted 72 mins watching this piece of crap.

Sadako’s Rating: 1 star out of 5

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