Archive for May 14th, 2012

A beautiful young woman Maki and her 2 male associates steal a case full of money from some gangsters and head off to a wooded area where they intend to hide the money and come back for it when things have died down. It’s obvious the place is a favorite place for gangster to bury their victims when they discover a hand sticking out of the ground. One of the trio who’s digging the hole to hide the cash hits a green canister and some gas seeps out of it but thinks nothing about it. The 2 males quarrel about the money which results in them shooting each other dead. Maki buries both corpses along with the money and goes back to her apartment. The gangsters who were livid about losing their money somehow find Maki’s apartment and force her to accompany them to the woods to retrieve their loot. Unfortunately the gas that has escaped from the green canister has awoken the dead in the woods and they rise to feast on Maki and the 3 gangsters. They hold out in an old abandoned building but the zombies break into the place. It’s a battle for survival but who will survive?

Oh dear, where do I begin with this god forsaken terrible movie. It’s a very low budget horror/soft porn nonsense starring AV idol Laura Aoyoma. This movie is just an excuse for her to be shown topless or naked and sexually abused by various men at certain intervals in the movie. Laura does look good in her black mini-skirt and top I will give her that but she cannot act to save her life. The acting by all the cast is absolutely awful and the horror is basically non-existent. There’s absolutely no gore whatsoever in this movie. The script looks like it’s copied from several previous zombie movies. You’d expect some tension and suspense in a zombie outbreak movie but there’s none here at all. It has to be said that this could be the worst zombie movie ever. It’s my fault for thinking this would be a decent zombie horror.

I wish I could take back the 80 minutes I wasted on watching this claptrap and seen something better instead. Please don’t bother seeing this crap. You’ll thank me for it!

I can’t find a trailer for this movie.

Sadako’s Rating: 1 star out of 5

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Scabbard Samurai (2010)

Kanjuro Nomi is a samurai with no sword, he only keeps its scabbard. After the death of his wife from the flu, he decides to completely give up violence and embark on a trip with his daughter Tae, becoming a deserter in the process. Three bounty hunters are hot on his tail and try their best to collect the reward for him but ultimately fail. He’s finally caught by a feudal lord who offers him a chance to save his life: Kanjuro has exactly 30 days to try to bring back the smile of the lord’s son, who hasn’t smiled since the death of his mother. Nobody has been successful so far. If he’s unable to do it, he has no choice but to commit seppuku. Will Kanjuro be able to make the young lord smile with his weird and wacky routines?

This is the 3rd movie directed by Downtown’s Hitoshi Matsumoto after Symbol and Big Man Japan. It further enhances his reputation as a rising movie director in Japan with some commenting that he is in the same league as Chaplin, Keaton and Lloyd. Pretty illustrious company to be put in the same basket with him. Matsumoto stays behind the camera this time in this moving and funny movie although he does have a cameo right at the end. At it’s heart this is a wonderful movie about a relationship between a father and his daughter. It’s got a simple clear narrative that we can all easily understand. We laugh along as Kanjuro, his cute daughter Tae and their two kindly guards come up with 30 different comedy designs (one for each day) and tries them out in front of the lord’s son but each time he never smiles and it’s back to the drawing board to try something else out. Each new design becoming increasingly crazy. As the viewer we can see what works and what doesn’t. Some of them are so bad it’s obvious that they’re going to fail!! The jokes could easily have become repetitive for us but they’re not. I did not expect the ending to be the way it was but kudos to Matsumoto for that. It would have been easy for him to give us a happy ending that we all wanted but he doesn’t do that. By the climax Matsumoto has us in the palms of his hands – he’s given us plenty of comedy and now he pulls at our heart-strings with some tearjerking drama as well.

This was comedian Nomi’s movie debut and although he doesn’t say much of anything as Kanjuro, the stupid things he does onscreen does makes us laugh. I suppose it’s Sea Kumada as Kanjuro’s head-strong daughter Tae that stands out the most in this movie. For a 9 year old at the time of filming, she delivers a strong and assured performance who tries to encourage her pathetic looking and world-weary father to come up with a decent routine to make the young lord laugh.

Scabbard Samurai isn’t a laugh out loud comedy by any means but it is full of things that will make you chuckle a lot. It’s interesting, well written and is always amusing. Don’t come into this movie expecting something along the lines of Symbol and Big Man Japan. I wonder what Matsumoto will come up with next and will he cast his comedy partner Hamada in his new project? Highly recommended.

Sadako’s Rating: 4 stars out of 5.

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