The Avengers visit Tokyo
D. Mills | Silly Valley, CA | 07/13/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Four stars for movie concept, two for DVD presentation. An excellent plot summary is given in the other reviews and I'll weave my comments around their remarks. If you accept the premise that a barroom tiff over a Rolex and a Zippo can result in an extended hunt-and-be-hunted romp through the land of the rising sun, then you can probably get a kick (no pun intended) out of Shundo Ohkawa's thriller. I must confess that this premise kept me out of this movie's groove for the first half hour, but I settled into things once these western eyes of mine realized that I'm basically watching an Averngers-like plotline, complete with mysterious motives, hunt-and-kill creatively done, and a wink at the audience at the end. I'm not sure of director Shundo Ohkawa's direct influences, but the film is analogous to the Avengers' "Superlative Seven" episode, or the old film classic "The Most Dangerous Game", this time in an urban jungle.Certain things are missing, mostly in the character department, as we never learn about these guys in any great detail, and there are no charming John Steed or Emma Peel types to round things out. Certainly this is not a film to watch for its human interest elements. On the plus side, the film cleverly avoids the black and white 'good guy, bad guy' situation which might have prevailed in an American film setting. What we have here are six guys who flip flop between hunted and hunter roles, none of whom are completely innocent.The DVD itself is bare-bones (no trailer, bio or commentary)and the transfer appears to be direct-from-video with occasional minor artifacts that would have been cleaned up in a remastering. I am collecting Asian cinema, so I bought the disk, and I'll keep it. Unless the genre is one that you're hooked on, I'd suggest a rental prior to purchase."
Fine idea, muddled by a lousy script and bad direction.
poisonpalm | 09/28/2000
(2 out of 5 stars)
"In this modern Japanese, urban thriller, a minor set of words between two groups of business men leads to one of them getting beat up. They try find the other group to get revenge, but come up empty handed until late one night when they come across one of the rival men in a subway. The three friends beat him severely, so much that they run away, and begin checking the papers to see if they killed him. Soon they begin to get phone calls from the men saying that they have killed the man (though there is no evidence), panic sets in, and slowly they begin to get picked off.Were these men just crazy business men? Bloodthirsty Yakuza? Crooked Cops? Unfortunately these questions and the I Know What You Did Last Summer-like plotline, dont hold up very well, and are executed in clumsy fashion. The deaths, the suspicion, and the finale, fall too far into b-movie territory. The script, direction, and cinematography, likewise, are poor. Its the kind of movie you watch and end up being entertained by seeing all the flaws and figuring out how the film could have been better.The DVD is not good. It looks very low budget anyway, but the muddy, scratchy transfer doesnt help."