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Black Jack
Black Jack
Actors: Hiroshi Fujioka, Akio Ôtsuka, Kirk Thornton, Julie Maddalena, Yűko Mizutani
Directors: Fumihiro Yoshimura, Osamu Dezaki
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense, Anime & Manga, Animation
R     2001     1hr 30min

Black Jack is a master surgeon who possesses impeccable skills, enabling him to perform operations that are impossible for even the finest surgeons. He now is faced with his most difficult task to date and must challenge t...  more »

     
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Movie Details

Actors: Hiroshi Fujioka, Akio Ôtsuka, Kirk Thornton, Julie Maddalena, Yűko Mizutani
Directors: Fumihiro Yoshimura, Osamu Dezaki
Creators: Osamu Dezaki, Bob Buchholz, Eto Mori, Kihachi Okamoto, Kuniaki Yamashita, Osamu Tezuka
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense, Anime & Manga, Animation
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense, Anime & Manga, Animation
Studio: Palm Pictures
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen,Letterboxed - Animated,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 04/24/2001
Release Year: 2001
Run Time: 1hr 30min
Screens: Color,Widescreen,Letterboxed
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English, Japanese
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

Good Work Gone Awry
Marc Ruby? | Warren, MI USA | 10/19/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)

"This full length medical thriller was created completed in 1996, base on a popular manga series created a decade before by Osamu Tezuka. It's plot, not particularly original then, and much hackneyed now, is the story of an experiment gone out of control. Brane Pharmaceutical has discovered a way to stimulate permanent secretion of endorphins. This has fueled the creation of a group of humans with superhuman abilities, who have just as suddenly begun to burn out and die. The culprit it the same virus that stimulates the endorphins in the first place, and it has begun to affect others besides the original patients - an artificially created plague. When one of his own patients is affected, Black Jack, a wildcat surgeon, becomes involved. Jo Carol Brane arranged the kidnapping of his ward, Pinoko, to force his cooperation. Black Jack finds the cause, but this only unmasks the source of the danger. It will take a miracle to find the cure and preventative.By rights, this should have been an exciting story. In the original Japanese, the script is terse and brutal, producing a stylized gothic effect that is enough to overcome a slow moving plot. Unfortunately, the dubbing took extreme liberties with the script and under-acted the parts. The result is a wordy and sometimes tedious performance. After all, the point of the story - the dangers of irresponsible medical research - is obvious enough so that there is no need to belabor it.Even so it is an interesting film. The art and music are excellent, using a lot of tonality that is unusual in anime work. A little better editing and writing would have made this a memorable effort. Instead, it is only a near miss. A mistake that should never have happened."
Disappointing
The Amazing Rando | 11/29/2002
(2 out of 5 stars)

"Having fond memories of "Astro Boy" from my youth, one day I ventured into the bookstore and picked up "Black Jack" by Osamu Tezuka, the "God of Manga" and creator of my beloved Astro.I was quite pleased. Tezuka's reputation is well-deserved. The collection of stories used a gifted surgeon on the outskirts of the law as a vehicle for some very interesting morality tales. My favorite story from this first volume has to be that of the young man who is about to kill himself at the beginning of the story, having failed his college entrance exams. But, partially thanks to Black Jack, he learns what a real life and death situation is, and ends up rededicating himself to become a doctor. Tezuka has a real knack for dramatic storytelling, and for cutting right to the heart (no pun intended) of the very unique issue he chooses.I had all this in my mind when I bought the movie Black Jack, and I suppose I expected the same style of storytelling to be there. Unfortunately, and in hindsight not surprisingly, it wasn't. Black Jack the surgeon was, by all accounts, true to his character, but the story simply is NOT a Black Jack story. Gone are the vital issues of the life of an individual, into which a seemingly god-sent surgeon walks at just the right moment. Gone is the tale of moral absolutism, the evil men receiving their comeuppance and the good men learning from their mistakes. Instead, one is presented with a clumsy story treading the familiar -- and boring -- ground of "corporate greed" and "environmental responsibility."Poor, poor Black Jack. Surgeon, heal thyself."
So-so Film Adaptaion of Japanese Popular Manga Series
Tsuyoshi | Kyoto, Japan | 07/21/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Japanese manga genius Osamu Tezuka, still loved by many fans after his too early death in 1989, left many memorable characters to us, which became something like the cultural icons in Japan. Famous "Astro Boy" is just one of them, and some of them clearly influenced the artists outside japan, like 'Kimba' the Great Lion did -- so some say -- to be the inspiration of 'The Lion King.'

Now, "Black Jack" is one of Tezuka's most popular manga comic series, and it features the mysteries and adventures of one surgeon Kuroo Hazama, usually called 'Black Jack.' His stories have been made into TV series (more than three times, as far as I remember), and even today, at the time of writing this review, Japanese Yomiuri TV is televising animation series of his episodes, which are highly popular now. But, sorry, none of them has surpassed the joy of reading original comic books.

And here you have the 1996 animation version of theatrically released film (in Japan) featuring Black Jack again. The story has the same principal characters -- Black Jack and Pinoko -- and it is about the 'superhumans' and one deadly disease. Receiving a call from a mysterious lady wearing sunglasses, Black Jack is forced to uncover the truths behind the epidemic.

As you can easily guess, the film shows many operation scenes. (Tezuka went to a medical school, and had a lisence though never practiced.) Though shot in animation, some of the operation scenes are pretty shocking and graphic. The disease itself, howvever, is so incredible, and the 'cure' is laughable. Actually, though Tezuka was no longer with us when the film was in production, his own comic was full of such far-fetched episodes that the unbelievable story was no surprise to me.

But the problem with the film is how to present this interesting character Black Jack, anti-hero, lonely, cynical and unlisenced surgeon whose medical skills are one of the best in the world. He usually demands exorbitant amount of money from his patients, but often refuses to receive anything when he thinks it appropriate. The filmed version fails to make good use of his dark side especially in the latter half, where the director Osamu Dezaki is too busy to follow the story. And when it comes close to the ending, the disturbing (and intriguing) elements seen at the start have already disappeared.

[ONE UNIQUE STYLE] One unique visual style is employed at the key moments of the story, and that is what we call 'Gekiga-style' in which things get stop/slow motion, and the character(s) are drawn with exagerated facial expressions, This style can be often seen employed in Japanese manga comic, but Osamu Dezaki's idea of bringing it into the world of anime film looks, I am afraid, out of place.

The strength of Tezuka manga lies in its characters, and those characters are best expressed in his original manga comics. As a feature film, 'Black Jack' is so-so. But not everyone loves the world of original Black Jack -- Tezuka's comparatively darker works -- and whether or not you like this animated film is after all the matter of acquired taste. Perhaps you might prefer less dark animation 'Metropolis,' another film based on Tezuka's works.

Truly trivial things. Black Jack's real name is Hazama Kuroo, which, when written in Chinese letters and read in another way, can be read 'Makkuroo' which means (roughly) 'Pitch Black.' It is one of Tezuka's jokes in his comics. Anyway, you know, you should read the comics first, and then watch this film."
Good, but don't build up your expectations too high!!
phoinos | WA United States | 05/02/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Before I even bought this movie, I read up on it a lot. I checked all the critics' reviews, and was encouraged by the fact that they recommended it. Bad mistake. When I first watched it, my hopes were very disappointed. I was not at all expecting what I got.The animation, while good, was not quite spectacular. I didn't enjoy the character design very much, and constantly the animators throw in the manga-stop effect, which really irritated me. After watching it, I grumbled, "Great, now I have this stupid DVD and what am I going to do with it?!"So why the four stars then? Simply this: I watched it again, after a space of a few months, and with a lot less expectations. And this time, I really enjoyed it. The story was involving, and the animation impressed me a little more than it had before, particularly the scenes in surgery. Black Jack's "daughter" Pinoko still annoyed me, since her character design was jarringly different from the rest of the characters, as though they tried to make her too cute even though her character is supposed to be 18. And the stop-manga effect was still somewhat irritating. But overall, these were only petty annoyances.Black Jack the movie is an enjoyable hour or two. But don't make the same mistake I did, and blindly take my word for it! If you liked ER, you might like this. If you hate medical shows with a passion, steer clear."