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Archive for August, 2007

Crime Story (Joy Sales / Fortune Star)

DVD Information
Distributor : Joy Sales / Fortune Star
Audio : DTS-ES 6.1, DD-EX 5.1, Dolby 2.0
Discs : 1 (DVD9)
Languages : Cantonese, Mandarin
Format : NTSC
Subtitles : Chinese, English
Running Time : 106 minutes
Contents : 1 DVD, 1 pamphlet
Screen Ratio : 1.85:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen)
Classification : III
Region : 3
Others : Year 1993

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Samurai Resurrection (JAPAN 2003)

aka Makai tenshô

Director : Hideyuki Hirayama.
Cast : Koichi Sato, Yosuke Kubozuka, Kumiko Aso, Tetta Sugimoto, Tomoko Kurotani.

37,000 peasants perished in the Shimabara Revolt; among them, the leader of that uprising, Shiro Amakusa. More than a decade later, Amakusa rises from the dead hell-bent on revenge. Resurrecting a ghastly army of living dead master swordsmen by way of an occult art called “Makai Tensho”(demonic transmigration), he sets his sights on overthrowing the Shoganate. Standing in their way Legendary Samurai Jubei Yagyu, who will have to fight the reincarnation of his own father before the fierce final confrontation with Shiro Amakusa himself!

by Edward Tang

Samurai films can be done a few ways, the correct way as seen in every Kurosawa film, and this way, a horror samurai film that really never gets there. In watching this, I lost track of what was happening and why it was happening, because the story jumped around from this to that. I’m a fairly patient person, but seeing random images and things that just don’t make sense gets irritating. This film isn’t ugly and the action scenes are decent enough to keep you ready for something more, but unfortunately, that “more” never comes. I did some research for this review and came up with a film with the same title that starred Sonny Chiba. Reading up on it even more, it is somewhat of a “cult film”. I must check that one out, because this one was very disappointing.

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Samurai Fiction (JAPAN 1998)

Director : HIroyuki Nakano
Cast :  Morio Kazama, Mitsuru Fukikoshi, Tomoyasu Hotei, Tamaki Ogawa, Mari Natsuki and Taketoshi Naito.

Feudal lord Kanzen Inukai receives a precious sword from the Shogun, but it is stolen by the samurai Kazamatsuri. Kanzen’s young son, Heishiro, insists on retrieving the sword himself to protect the family from the shame of losing such a precious gift.

by Edward Tang

“Samurai Fiction” is basically just an older samurai film touched up with new aged music and ideas. I did have a good time during this film, but didn’t really see anything special that could grab me. I must admit that parts of it seemed to tickle the boring fancy but could be passed on because it was a nice refreshing way to look at the genre in motion. The direction was sound, from all of the black and white shots, to the beautiful country side and for the interesting shots including how when someone would die, they’d cut to a red screen. The fights in this film were probably the weakest, because they just really never amounted to anything, it was a bunch of quick movements and they’d be done. But on the other hand, there are basically no shots of blood which makes for a much cleaner film that just has to be enjoyed, rather than looked upon with harsh eyes.

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Return of the Street Fighter (JAPAN 1974)

Director : Shigehiro Ozawa
Cast :  Sonny Chiba, Claude Gannyon, Yoko Ichiji, Masashi Ishibashi, Masataka Suzuki, Ko Tanaka and Zulu Yachi.

Synopsis :
Takuma “Terry” Tsurugi returns. In this sequel, he sets out to bust up a phony charity put together by the Yukuza.

by Edward Tang

Sonny Chiba STILL rules. Right after re-watching the Street Fighter and enjoying myself, I figured that what the hell. I’ll go and get the other three street fighter flicks and hopefully enjoy myself. So far, so good. In fact, I actually thought that this one was a worthless piece of crap because of all the negatives I’ve heard about how this one doesn’t live up to it’s predecessor. But looking at Street Fighter today, it had lost most of its luster because of the more graphic violence and better choreographed scenes of action anyways. Return of the Street Fighter is very much a good sequel, because it goes back to what the first one touched on, Sonny Chiba destroying as many people in his way. Being the mark that I am, when Junjo returned from the dead, I was cheering myself. (Junjo was in the first one and got his throat ripped out and had artificial vocal cords, yeah I said it). But you get the amount of fighting that is necessary to make a film in this genre watchable. There have been martial arts films that have completely tried to make a story, rather than give the action, please no. Sure the story will seem beat to death, the characters are generic, the bad guys are their typical “ruthless” self. But of course you still can get a knuckle to the back of the head, which knocks a guys eyes out.

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Red Shadow: Akakage (JAPAN 2001)

Director : Hiroyuki Nakano
Cast :  Masanobu Ando, Megumi Okina, Kumiko Aso, Jun Murakami, Naoto Takenaka, Fimiya Fujii and Shuuhei Mainoumi.

Aka Kage, Aoi Kage and Asuka are trio of ninjas sent to perform dangerous secret missions for their master. Although Aka and Aoi are both in love with Asuka, the friendship built from their years of training together prevents any jealousies from forming. When Asuka is killed during a mission, however, the heartbroken Aka and Aoi both go their separate ways before returning to avenge their friend’s death.

by Edward Tang

Well, I guess I should start out by saying that this is a corny flick that truly never takes us anywhere special or unique. So in what aspects can this film be saved from being a horrible piece of shit that everyone should stay away from. The story? I’m afraid the story is choppy and full of holes, as we skip from scene to scene, not really getting anywhere, and ending up in a cliche-ridden shithouse with no sink.

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