A band of smugglers reluctantly gets back together to do what they do best (and what makes them the most money)…i.e. extract and sell human organs on the Asian black market. They accomplish this task via their preferred method of arranging for an unsuspecting organ “donor” to take a cruise ship from Korea to China. During the journey, the gang harvests what they need from the unlucky target, disposes of the evidence, sell the goods in China, then return home for the payday. Things don’t always go as planned though, and this trip will clearly not be without serious repercussions for many of those on board.
The movie begins with a short flashback scene that somewhat explains why these smugglers got out of this nasty business in the first place. Then, the rest of the movie takes place in the present where the main characters are slowly introduced & expounded upon through the first part of the film. The story does its best to make you identify with these people and those around them as best it can, and, it does this fairly well actually (although, at the end of the day, it is awfully hard to root for people who are killing other people in order to slice & dice them up for profit). For better or worse though, the ship has soon set sail, and we’re underway towards the business end of this flick.
I guess you could say this film is somewhat graphic, but you’ll see/probably have seen far worse. There are no explicit scenes of organs being ripped out, but the blood does occasionally flow…and, there are a couple of boobs + perversion shots here and there. This is not a horror/gore film though, as it squarely has its sights on belonging to the suspense genre of films. It also contains a number of twists and turns as it goes along (some of which are predictable and some unexpected) until, and long after, it reaches is climax. In typical Korean movie making fashion for a film of this nature, things probably aren’t going to end very well for most of the characters involved with this story when all is said and done.
This whole endeavor is helped considerably by the main cast members; there’s a good deal of recognizable talent in front of the camera, and they all put in the solid work you would expect. The story is not half bad either, and, this movie is indeed entertaining and does quite a number of things well. Somewhere in all of this is a really, really good flick to be had. Alas, there’s ultimately just too much emphasis placed on playing up every conceivable story angle possible to make this a streamlined MUST SEE film…cut that stuff down by 50% or so though, and this thing would have been near awesome. Nevertheless, I often love me some suspenseful melodramatic brutality and this movie certainly delivers on that front.
Yes, the inspiration for this anime movie was a video game that was basically a “Street Fighter” clone that for me was not the most entertaining fighting game ever made. Here you have character from that game in a fight with a madman that is after the armor of mars, which of course makes its wearer very strong. During the course of the adventure you get to see the fighters display their various moves and even have an appearance by a character in a castle whose part in the movie makes him nearly pointless. You get to see two of the characters fall in love and you get a somewhat bittersweet ending. They do a bunch of moves to where they yell out their special attack which is sort of like a Dragonball Z show which also helped me enjoy this one more even though I was not particularly fond of the game. The character are rather interesting too, as they add much needed depth to the characters as opposed to just a bunch of dudes fighting in tournaments. So all in all a nice anime based on a not so nice video game.
The plot is about Terry Bogard falling in love with a girl named Sulia who’s brother is wrecking havoc all over the world searching for a suit of armor that will make him a God. Sounds like something from an Indiana Jones movie but it works well and there’s enough humor and pathos mixed in with all the mighty kicking-of-ass to keep others interested who do not like martial arts. Of course the story could be stronger with more developments but at 95 minutes you’ll be darned if you can find another animated movie or even live action that crams in so much adventure, color and light-hearted thrills into its running time. The fighting and animation are the draw and they work well. The action is fast and dazzling with a flow not seen in American films. The animation is detailed, not as much as Akira or Ghost in the Shell but very well done. I believe some of the graphics are made using the same technique as in Golgo 13, the Professional but I could be wrong.
The love scenes are hilariously overblown– the scene in which Sulia “heals” Terry is obviously intended to be a tender moment, but it’s virtually impossible to not be thrown into spirals of giddy laughter by the sheer ludicrousness of it. And of course, Fatal Fury is not without the obligatory cartoon T&A– this is supplied gratuitously by the huge-breasted Mai Shiranui. And since Fatal Fury IS based off the video game series of the same name (oh boy), we’re treated to numerous pointless cameo appearances by popular characters with little or no relevance to the plot whatsoever (they go through all the trouble of introducing Kim early on, only for him to disappear from the movie totally after that point). This mess of a movie reaches its climax with the unintentionally farcical final battle, in which all the main characters engage the all-powerful main villain in one-on-one combat in turn. That’s some thing that’s always amused me… even when battles in animes AREN’T taking place in a tournament, they always happen as if they were, regardless of the fact that it makes no sense whatsoever!
Otakus always rave about how anime movies should be treated as MOVIES as opposed to merely cartoons, and a disturbing portion of those same people love Fatal Fury. So would Fatal Fury have been good if it wasn’t an anime? The answer is an emphatic “no”– all of this movie’s charm, what little of it there is, resides in the actual drawings. Had Fatal Fury not been an anime, it would have been worthy of an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000, if the show was still on the air. That’s the key– this is nothing more than a laughably bad B-movie in the guise of an anime epic.
A young man and his sister learn that the man that they’ve always thought of as their grandfather was in fact the second husband of their grandmother, and that their biological grandfather was a kamikaze pilot who died during the war. They decide to find out more about him but get conflicting accounts from his former comrades-in-arms about what kind of man he was and how he ended up in a kamikaze squadron. Thus began the investigation of Kentaro Saeki (Haruma Miura) and his older sister, Keiko (Kazue Fukiishi) upon discovering that their real grandfather was no other than Kyuzo Miyabe (Junichi Okada), the said fighter pilot.
Visiting many war veterans, the brother-sister team felt humiliated for having their grandpa branded as a weakling. But insisting on getting more information about the case of his death and why he joined the special forces, they soon discovered more clues as to who he really is – is he really a coward or was he a genius who can outsmart the best fighter pilots from Japan’s enemies? What are the reasons behind his seemingly strong desire to continue living and not getting shotdown on air? What really happened during that fateful day when he was listed as one of the special forces to attack a US carrier with no chance of survival?
One scene particularly strains credulity. Kyuzo opposes an officer’s attempt to shame a trainee, who crashed during a training flight, as a traitor for destroying the valuable plane. Kyuzo is badly beaten, but keeps his position and earns the respect of his colleagues for speaking out. Insubordination is not tolerated in any military apparatus. Such a lax approach in the Japanese imperial army to opposition from the ranks, especially in one of its most fanatical units, is to whitewash the methods used to instill fear. Moreover, what exactly enabled Kyuzo to withstand the military indoctrination and drove him to actively stand up to it? The issue is never explained or explored. The audience is simply expected to go along with it. The scene in which Kentaro, Kyuzo’s grandson, tries to argue the righteousness of “tokkotai” with his largely disinterested young friends is completely contrived.
The special effects – the dogfights and the bombings at sea were quite realistic, and offer lots of excitement. It may not be as awesome as the previous Michael Bay film, Pearl Harbor, which coincidentally also dealt with the deadly attack at the same US military base. We are often bombarded with war movies from Hollywood which almost always have Germans and Japanese portrayed as villains. In The Eternal Zero, we get to see a different perspective of the Second World War, from the eyes of the Japanese. While there was never really any direct justification of why Japan invaded her neighbors and entered an alliance with America’s enemies, the last part where Haruma Miura saw the fighter plane flew across his neighborhood – it felt like the movie is convincing viewers to be more sympathetic rather than cynical or apathetic to Japan’s war cause.
A professional poker player falls deep into underworld when he takes an unexpected wager from a mysterious high roller. Eads is Jack, a professional gambler and expert at just scraping by. His talents also include constantly disappointing his ex-wife and daughter, as well as running up huge debts to the wrong people. Jack’s primary debt is to Carl and the amazingly named Paulie Trunks. These two barely-in-the-film heavies could have been uninteresting stereotypes, but the casting of Jones and Seagal livens them up immeasurably – even just because they become amusing. Carl is an MMA trainer who calls everyone “son”, while Seagal play his mob boss as some kind of guru. Think Brando if he grew a ponytail and took yoga too seriously.
And while we’re learning about Jack and his lifestyle the film manages to keep your attention with a likable performance from George Eads. Jack may not be the most dependable person in the world but behind the wide-boy image and cheeky banter is a heart of gold and Eads manages to sell us on Jack very easily and quickly, and once he meets up with Duffy the film steps up a gear and the heart of the story is revealed.
However, once the the pivotal moment occurs the film slows right down and begins to lag as the aftermath of Jack’s actions plays out. Ted Levine is introduced as Lewis, another part of the criminal gang Jack has crossed, and adds a little bit of off-kilter menace but the story seems to fall back on convention as Jack mooches around trying to figure out his next move. Even the late-in-the-game second appearance of Steven Seagal doesn’t do much to shift things along, his generic mob boss voice providing a little humor but whether that was intentional or not isn’t quite clear. Vinnie Jones is always better when he does his quiet intimidation act rather than shouting and swearing his way through any given scene and that’s what he does here, although if he wasn’t in the film at all it wouldn’t really make that much of a difference.
For the most part Gutshot is entertaining enough and having Steven Seagal and Vinnie Jones in supporting roles instead of being in the thick of the action was a wise move. Production-wise the film looks great with some slick and colorful visuals, the acting is pretty good and the story set-up is fantastic and really draws you in, but the final act really feels like a slog to get through, especially as the end result is fairly predictable and unremarkable. Nevertheless, if stylish crime thrillers are your thing then Gutshot isn’t the worst example you could invest 85 minutes of your life in.
This anime (specifically season 2) is great in the sense that it incorporates many myths and legends into a modern twist kind of story. It focused on many mythological beings and Japanese folktales; stories like a child being spirited away or doll making or Princess being cursed. The first episode caught my attention and I wanted to keep watching. The suspense and unusual yet unique plot brings a pack load of excitement. You feel like your in the show yourself wanting to find the answers like Shino, the main character. You’ll see once you get into the series. It’s not your common supernatural anime with just ghost and demons but something far more greater and exciting. The fact that Shino stays under the appearance as 13 year old because of a curse and has a monster living inside him is probably one of the most strangest yet amazing plot out there. I love the fact that even though Shino is suppose to be 18 years old yet acts like a child being afraid of ghost and cockroaches while containing a big appetite for food. It’s quite cute if you ask me. By far one my favorite characters. He can be both rash and respectful.
In the second season, the series focus a little more on the plot and detail and brings the characters together Shino met from Season 1. They do still have to go to another town or village but it was a little more in depth. One thing that appeals a little more in Season 2 is a little more focus on the characters. They spent two episodes each for Daikaku and Yana and surprisingly two and a half to three episodes focused on Shinobu. It’s a great twist on an old myth (I’m a sucker for Japanese folk tales and the like), and the characters are so engaging. There’s quite a bit of action, balanced perfectly with deeper storytelling and emotions. The relationships between some of the characters are just beautiful (regardless of whether you see it as friendship or as light shounen-ai). I really wish the manga would be released faster so this could have more than just two seasons, though I will say, they did tie it up really pretty well considering they were working with an ongoing manga.
This anime is pretty much standalone though since I think the manga was inspired by the epic. You don’t need to be familiarized with the epic to enjoy this anime. However, it does help to know a bit about it. The reason is because the anime started out a bit confusing. The storytelling is a bit disorganized with the anime starting out on an already established status quo with no explanation of it. The story just flowed by itself without any narration to let the audience catch up. It just opened with the three survivors and an apparent threat from the Imperial Church. It will most likely not catch your attention immediately. The supernatural element was intriguing but the story was a bit intimidating starting out. The anime took three episodes to actually make sense so a little bit of patience is required. To be honest though, you’re staring at a lot of pretty people during the first three episodes and that basically made me watch.
And for the last episode. I’m really upset at the rushed ending. I normally have these ‘feels’ at the end of most anime but this one, it wasn’t as impact-fully because it was rushed so much. You kind of expect for a rushed series especially after watching Episode 4 from Season 1. The ending was kind of predictable to in my eyes. However, there was a lot of cliffhangers and mysterious questions that allows Hakkenden: Touhou Hakken Ibun to go for a third season. Despite a ‘The End’ in Episode 13, the ending they left allows a possibility for a third season if they desire. I don’t think the manga has actually ‘ended’ thus another positive side for those who want a Season 3. Other than the rushed ending, it was still a comforting and warmth ending. Everyone seems very happy and I loved that they did scenes of each character. Even the characters that only made a small debut made a cameo. In the end, it was a nice series with a unique turn on supernatural like genre. I loved the protagonist Shino as he is a very cute boy. It was an enjoyable series and I would recommend it but it wasn’t the best anime.
It’s a slow pace and if you like bells and whistles and CGI rather than real life and emotions then don’t bother with this… it’s a gripping, sad, heartbreaking and heartwarming tale or triumph over adversity, courage and strength of spirit with an ending that if you don’t have a tear in your eye then you are dead inside. The story is unique and interesting, and is told with a series of flashbacks to Eric Lomax, our protagonist’s (Firth), experiences of WW2. As the film is set in fairly dreary locations (prison camps and drab apartments), it’s not the most visually exciting thing to watch, and the edit/pacing leaves a bit to be desired – at several points, we find the present-day Eric Lomax (Firth) suddenly transported back to his POW camp in Asia without anything to clue us off as to whether he travelled there (a single plane shot would’ve done it) or, as in at least one case, is hallucinating.
It’s during a train ride that he meets Patricia Wallace, a recently divorced and well-read woman. During their marriage, Patricia soon discovers that he still suffers from his traumatic past and is still haunted by his Japanese torturers. A gripping story, subtly and respectfully filmed. There’s no use of a lot of action-packed scenes or terrible horrifying images of tortures. It’s rather the lack of it that causes an oppressive feeling and that gives you an idea of the terrible conditions in which these POW’s were living. The nightmares Eric had sometimes and his comatose state of mind was performed in an impressive way. The story jumps back and forth between the past and the present, and delivers sometimes real postcard-images: like the loving couple on the beach with an umbrella flying away or the images at the end of the movie with the finished railway in Burma. These beautiful images are in stark contrast with the sordid and degrading images of the shown Japanese camps. The hopeless situation, the emaciated bodies of the dead tired workers who succumb during heavy forced labor, inhuman conditions and the constant torture and punishments they faced. A tarnished image of the Japanese: cruel, callous, ruthless, extraordinarily hard and sadistic. A black page in their history they seemingly got away with easily. It is as if they torn that page, burned it and tried to forget about it as soon as possible.
While it might look like a romance, this is only a small portion of the movie and viewers should be warned–there are a few intense images you see in Eric’s flashbacks–imaged of the ghastliness of war and war crimes. This is why the film is rated R, though I really think it is appropriate to show to teens provided you watch it with them and discuss what you’ve seen. All in all, a great example of a film with a bigger budget and some very big name actors who managed to impress me–though it somehow failed pretty miserably in the box office. Perhaps it wasn’t marketed well, perhaps folks were put off by the idea of a man suffering with PTSD…all I know is that for Firth and Kidman, it’s among the best work they’ve ever done and is an incredibly moving film.
What I saw was a well written, directed, acted true story that did not stray from the path of the woven tale that it was telling. Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth are well cast together, they bring this strong story to life sympathetically that only they can. As a northerner it was lovely to see many scenes of Berwick and Lindisfarne which was a bonus because now a days some films are shot in another country and try to fool the viewer that it was shot in the original place. This film touches on some strong areas that may be taboo but it does not shy away from them but handles them sympathetically that only this story can. A credit to all parties involved may you receive the accolades that you deserve from this excellent tale of forgiveness that highlights a 360 degree view of this war and it’s impact that resounds through the decades and generations.
The film centers on a police detective investigating a series of gruesome murderers. As the case pulls him deeper, he soon realizes that he may be a prime suspect. MURDERER is an example of a film that tries too hard to be unique and different from every other film with a similar plot. In fact, it tries too hard that the film falls apart. Let’s start with the good: The first half of the film is interesting and captivating. The film lays out the puzzle pieces while our protagonist tries to put them together.
Aaron Kwok plays a police detective in charge of an investigation into a string of serial murders, who suffers amnesia apparently as a result of an incident shown in the opening sequence of the film (and in which another police detective was seriously injured). The first half of the film shows his state of mental decline as he gradually succumbs to paranoia when he (re)discovers clues and evidence that seems to finger him as the murderer. This part of the film is very well done, minus the grizzly murder scenes and the opening sequence, which are clearly gratuitous. Kwok makes a convincing performance as a detective who is simultaneously convinced that he is being framed but unable to deny the trail of evidence that confronts him. The uncertainty over his role in the murders is compounded by his amnesia and his personal conviction regarding his innocence, which compels him to conceal damning evidence from his colleagues while trying desperately to hunt down a killer that he believe is still “out there.” “Western” audiences are most likely to compare this segment of the film to Memento given the amnesia component and the gradually unfolding clues that lead the main character to question his starting assumptions.
Then comes in the dreaded second half. Whatever good was built up in the first half is now broken down, stomped upon, and lit on fire. Stupid and unbelievable things happen here. For example, our protagonist seems to be framed for some murders. Well, the easiest way to find out is some DNA testing, right? Nope. Somehow, nobody in this film ever thought of that. It’s as if the film took place 50 years ago when there was no technology or DNA testing. The lame script aside, we have to admit that the build-up is rather tensed and suspenseful – thanks to Kwok and co-star Cheung Sui-Fai who plays his cop buddy ‘Ghost’. Kwok gives his Detective Ling the requisite touch of outrage and paranoia that help to sustain our curiosity. Cheung, on the other hand, plays a man of reason and logic – until he is overwhelmed by them. Ning Chang is solid as the long-suffering wife but it is Josie Ho who livens things up as Minnie, Ling’s younger sister who arrives from the States. The movie collapses when the ‘truth’ is revealed. Director Roy Chow (who also wrote the screenplay with To Chi-Long) seems to have spent so much time on the build-up that he has to rush through the ending. Instead of explaining the plot (or mystery), he makes the ending more ridiculous, opening up lots of questions on the minds of viewers. A very unfortunate debut for director Chow
Dae-Ho is an unproductive bank clerk who is late to work every morning and the object of his manager’s frustrations. He was a fan of TV wrestling as a child, but can’t get out of a headlock. He finds a local wrestling trainer and through a series of events eventually starts to train. He is slowly transformed as he begins his second job as the cheating villain wrestler known as the Foul King. He starts to stand up for himself in odd ways that are not really in his own best interest. Events get out of hand as conflicting influences come together. For a film about a masked wrestler, there is surprisingly little cheesiness to this film. We follow a downtrodden banker as he invests his self esteem in the sport, and first see it treated in a very realistic, everyday way, without dramatic music or camera angles and are allowed to see the inherent ridiculousness of it. As the film builds up, and becomes more stylized, it hasn’t made a grand statement about wrestling, but allows it to be seen as reality. With this, the fight sequences become one aspect, while the real heart of the movie are the Mr. Bean like physical comedy bits where the main character tries to get respect in his everyday life. While a few key scenes take place in the ring, the best bits are in the office, on the street or in the park.
I don’t disagree that when the comedic elements are present – they work well. However, and this is a big however, they are few and far between. The movie fails for me because of its pacing. There is nothing really fantastic going on between the comedic moments. It’s just filler material that tries to tell a story about the blandness of a man’s life, and his interactions with his environment. It succeeds in showing why he would go into wrestling, but also succeeds in putting the viewer to sleep. I watched it once myself, and watched it again with friends. During the second viewing I had multiple requests to fast forward through dull, drawn-out scenes. It was funny at the same time. Unfortunately, it is not the humor that I especially enjoy. If there was an American remake, it would easily feature Adam Sandler – not a great recommendation.
But though the film does everything right, from an explosive finale to great comedy and a cute romance, there’s always the lingering sense that it is not quite enough. It’s definitely a testament to Kim Ji-woon’s success that we are left wanting more of what he presents, but it still leave may leave viewers unsatisfied. I wanted more from the teasing bit of romance between Dae-ho and his coach’s daughter. I wanted more of those moments where wrestling helped in his real life. I wanted more humor from his dead-end job. They were minor focuses of the film, but even in a film full of gorgeously stylish slow-motion wrestling moves, these were still the moments that really mattered.
God abandoned the world on Sunday. As a result, nobody in the world can die or have kids. A little girl – Ai – is the grave keeper for the village and is tasked with helping the would-be dead try and find peace. However, one day a boy who identifies himself as Hampnie Hambart – the Man-eating Toy – appears in the village killing everybody and disturbing the balance of things. Upon their first encounter both Ai and Hampnie come to realize shocking truth. This anime follows a young girl named Ai Astin, as she continually states throughout the anime to the numerous, yet seemingly unimportant, characters throughout the show. To some people’s dismay, and other’s entertainment, this anime has no real plot that can be seen besides the fact that this girl’s father tells her to keep living and I think he implied, fulfill her dreams to save the world through gravekeeping. (yeah, it’s an adjective) In case you didn’t know, Gravekeepers are the only people who can kill the walking dead (although not what your thinking, they are not zombies, they’re just not alive, and not very pretty looking and sometimes go insane).
Anyway, so that’s it. It’s just this 12 year old girl spreading her philosphies around this godless world. And although it is just a stream of arcs, one after another, it does hold up the idea (somewhat) that Ai is trying to accomplish her dream. It’s entertaining to say the least. It really is, with each arc being unique in some way that’ll leave you wanting to finish the anime. So after these few episodes of strong build up and introduction, this show takes a huge misstep and turns itself into a drama filed road trip with shallow and meaningless characters along the way.
I will give an example of one of these ‘pit stops’ which contribute little to the main story and lack in more than a few ways. Ai, the main protagonist, finds herself taken by a random group of men who throw her into a van and lock her into an apocalyptic high school prison camp essentially. Here she meets a group of students with different powers who have been stuck in the school for some time. What happens is a typical escape plan made by the group. What the show COULD have done here is made each student’s power contribute to the escape plan while they fight tooth and nail to escape this prison. Instead what happens is a hole is made in an underground waterway and the kids all climb up a ladder and leave… What?? Then what was the point of introducing these characters with special powers? They might as well have been normal kids, it wouldn’t have made any difference to the story at all. Also, where was all of the school security the entire time? This group would have escape plan meetings in broad daylight and no one would bat an eye, no one would notice them leaving each night to enter the underground sewer, and only one teacher actually tried to stop their escape, but quickly gives up and lets them leave….. Afterwards, this group of kids gets dropped off at some random house and you don’t see them again…
In the end, this is an anime that takes some patience. It has a slow start, but if you can get past it, you’ll experience a decent anime. The whole series is made up of Arcs. Whether it be about a city full of deceased or a high-school academy that won’t let it’s students escape, the series manages to explain everything for every arc, while at the same time, adding to the horrible world the characters live in. The way they explain many aspects about God abandoning the world and what else He granted to people besides the Gravekeepers, plays a big role in every arc. The animation is absolutely gorgeous. It manages to pull off everything fantastically. From 3-D looking cogs to the characters themselves, everything is superb. If this show has anything at all going for it, it’s definitely the music. The soundtrack is beautiful and fits in to every scene no matter if it’s a happy moment, or a sad moment, or a scary one. The opening and ending’s are nothing we haven’t heard for an anime with a moe main character yet a serious tone before, yet, I can’t seem to get them out of my head. They’re pretty catchy, if nothing else. If you’re looking for a light hearted anime to fill out your time, give this anime a good once over.