Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actor: Tak Sakaguchi
Director: Tak Sakaguchi
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Animation
At a private school that turns boys into true men, grueling training is practically the only thing that you can count on. Between hundreds of pushups, hot-oil baths, and being locked in jail cells, the new students have a ... more »
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I am a MAN
E. A Solinas | MD USA | 07/30/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Otojuko is an elite men's private school, where Japanese heroes and leaders have been trained for centuries to be the ultimate macho warriors.
And since "Samurai School" (adapted from Akira Miyashita's manga "Sakigake!! Otokojuku") was written and directed by Tak Sakaguchi, you can expect the movie to have two things: a warped and weird sense of humor, and lots of elaborate butt-kicking. It's a fun action-packed parody on Japanese macho attitudes, which gets more bizarre as the plot winds on; the only flaws are a subplot or two which really add nothing to the movie.
After being rescued by a mysterious stranger named Momotaro (Sakaguchi), who says he can be found at Otojuku, Hidemaro (Hiroyuki Onoue) learns that his mother plans to send him to Otojuku to become a man, and restore the family's fortunes. He encounters Momotaro and the bombastic, good-hearted Genji Togashi (Shei) at the opening ceremony, but things start going wrong immediately -- Otojuku is a superhardcore school where students must endure thousands of pushups and horrible punishments (boiling oil and potential death-by-megaboulder) for minor infractions.
And after a brief run home, Hidemaru starts fitting in at Otojuku with his friends. But suddenly the school is attacked by Omito Date (Hideo Sakaki), an expelled student, and his sidekicks Hien (Go Ayano) and Gekko (Shuya Yoshimoto). They challenge the loud-voiced principal to the Amazing Triple Death Battles -- and the winner will get control of Otojuku. Momotaro, Togashi and the nimble martial-artist Ryuuji Toramaru (Shintaro Yamada) all volunteer to fight Date, Hien and Gekko.
Who will triumph in the Amazing Triple Death Battles? Who will come out of it alive, and who will die very, very dramatically? Will school spirit overcome Date? And will Hidemaro ever gain the strength to lift the giant flagpole and bring victory to Momotaro? (No, that is not a euphemism!)
If "Samurai School" is any indicator, then Tak Sakaguchi has a deliciously warped sense of humor -- the entire thing is basically a spoof of Japanese macho-man behavior, which Otojuku takes to hilarious heights. The movie is loaded down in squirting Monty-Python-style gore, cinematic cliches (floating cherry blossoms!), constant butt-kicking, and a few anime cliches brought into real life (a single sword swing that can split stone!) -- it's just constant fun.
The first half of the movie is basically about the guys getting used to Otojuku, but Takaguchi's story really blossoms with the advent of the Amazing Triple Death Battles (fighting while dangling from a cliff, above a pool of heated acid, and in a very unstable underground cavern). And he dials the comedic melodrama up to eleven, with some characters apparently expiring with dramatic final lines ("Let's meet again in Otojuku with cherry blossoms in full bloom!") and a completely over-the-top climax involving mass cheerleading and a flagpole the size of a small submarine.
The biggest flaw is a bittersweet side story, in which the rather unattractive Togashi is asked out by a pretty girl, only to suffer unexpected humiliation and deception. It's a little story that makes you want to hug the poor guy, but it has nothing to do with anything else in the plot.
Inoue serves as a pretty likable everyman who has somehow ended up in Otojuku, despite not being very strong or macho -- and of course, the movie becomes a bit of a coming-of-age for him. Shei and Yamada are also excellent as the strong underdog and the short-fused martial-artist ("I am a CHRISTIAN!"); Sakaki is a solid anti-villain, and Yoshimoto and the gorgeous Ayano also give good if brief performances. And Sakaguchi gives an unusually sedate performance as the Momotaro -- he seems mellow to the point of stoned, and spends a lot of time baring his muscular chest.
"Samurai School" is one of those deliciously over-the-top action-comedies, with lots of fake blood, insane fighting and dramatic cheerleading. Definitely a must-see, right to the end."
Andrew W. Clark | ct, usa | 05/24/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Funny. Since weaklings invented the rules on amazon I am required to write a certain minimum of expression past the true expression."