RE:BORN リボーン Dir: Yuji Shimomura (2017)

Re: Born   Re Born Film Poster

RE:BORN リボーン 「RE:BORN Ribo-n

Running Time: 115 mins.

Director:  Yuji Shimomura

Writer: Benio Saeki (Screenplay),

Starring: Tak Sakaguchi, Orson Mochizuki, Yura Kondo, Issei Ishida, Mariko Shinoda, Takumi Saitoh, Hiroko Yashiki, Hitomi Hasebe, Masaya Kato, Akio Otsuka, Makoto Sakaguchi, Kenta, Rina Takeda (voice),

IMDB Website

Re:Born stars Tak Sakaguchi, a fighter, action-director, director and actor. Since his debut in Ryuhei Kitamura’s 2000 zombie action film Versus, he has been a staple of the cult cinema scene. Even if the films he acts in are comedic gore-fests from the likes of Yudai Yamaguchi (Deadball) and Yoshihiro Nishimura (Tokyo Gore Police) he tends to make an impact because he has the charisma and martial arts skills needed by a good action hero. He can act and has shown this in works that stretch across genres with Osaka Snake Road: Snake of Violence, Alive, Shinobi: Heart Under Blade and Meatball Machine: Kodoku. His best role was as a failed-actor given one more shot in Sion Sono’s Why Don’t You Play in Hell? which, if you had to watch one performance, is the one I’d recommend. Re:Born gives him the stage he deserves to show his martial-arts skills. 

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Tak Sakaguchi’s “Re:Born” to get its UK premiere at The Fighting Spirit Festival, September 16th

Eureka recently announced their slate of newest acquisitions and it included two Japanese fims – Tag (2015), Sion Sono’s carnival of chaos as Japanese schoolgirls take part in epic death-games, and Re:Born (2017), the recent return of action-man Tak Sakaguchi (Versus, Deadball) where he plays an ex-special-forces soldier fighting for his loved ones. Re:Born will have its UK premiere on September 16th as the main film of The Fighting Spirit Festival which takes place at the Boleyn Theatre in London.

The Fighting Spirits Festival is a relatively new event which is in its second year of operation. It celebrates and promotes Martial Arts Culture and those who have made martial arts as a careerthrough films and demonstrations. The films screened range from feature-length titles to shorts, classics like Shaw Brothers titles like The 36th Chamber of Shaolin (1978) to more modern takes such as Herman Yau’s 2013 movie Ip Man. It has support from the Chinese Visual Festival, East Winds Film Festival, Arrow Video and Eureka so it’s guaranteed a lot of great films. Show some love for East Asian movies and take a look at the festival.

It’s pretty exciting to see a Japanese martial arts movie take the top spot, especially with Tak Sakaguchi in the lead role which is what drew my attention to it. Here are more details:

Re: Born   Re Born Film Poster

RE:BORN リボーン 「RE:BORN Ribo-n

Running Time: 115 mins.

Director:  Yuji Shimomura

Writer: Benio Saeki (Screenplay),

Starring: Tak Sakaguchi, Yura Kondo, Issei Ishida, Mariko Shinoda, Takumi Saito, Hitomi Hasebe, Masaya Kato, Akio Otsuka, Makoto Sakaguchi, Kenta, Rina Takeda,

IMDB Website

RE:BORN stars Tak Sakaguchi. Even if the films he is in are gore-fests where the main highlight are the special-effects and humour, he tends to make an impact because he can act and he has the charisma and martial arts skills to make a good action hero. He has been making horror and action movies for a while as an action director (he worked on High & Low: The Red Rain (2016) and Sion Sono’s movies Tag and Love Exposure, Himizu) and an actor (Osaka Snake Road: Snake of Violence, Tokyo Gore Police, Alive, Shinobi: Heart Under Blade and Meatball Machine: Kodoku). He was fantastic in Sion Sono’s (yes, him again,) Why Don’t You Play in Hell? which, if you had to watch one performance, is the one I’d recommend.

He is working with another prolific action director named Yuji Shinomura (Library Wars, Strayers Chronicle, I Am a Hero) and the fight choreographer Yoshitaka Inagawa, a former close combat instructor for U.S. Special Forces and other international commando units. The film showcases Inugawa’s Zero Range Combat System – a technique focused around extremely quick and efficient movements at close range.

The action in the trailer looks breathtaking and Tak Sakaguchi looks focused and cool in the lead role. Hardcore action films like this seem to be in short-supply from Japan and so it’s great seeing this on the big screen in the UK!!!

Synopsis: Toshiro (Tak Sakaguchi) is a seemingly normal guy who runs a convenience store in a small town. He lives a quiet life with his young niece Sachi but in the past, Toshiro was known as “Ghost” and was a lethal member for a special covert forces unit. He thought he had left that life behind but when his ex-comrades kidnap Sachi, he has to be reborn as a beast to get her back!

Mutant Girls Squad 戦闘少女 血の鉄仮面伝説 (2010)

Mutant Girls Squad   Mutant Girls Squad Film Poster

戦闘少女 血の鉄仮面伝説 「Sento shojo: Chi no tekkamen densetsu」

Release Date: May 22nd, 2010

Running Time: 90 mins.

Directors: Tak Sakaguchi, Noboru Iguchi, Yoshihiro Nishimura

Writer: Jun Tsugita, Noboru Iguchi

Starring: Yumi Sugimoto, Yuko Takayama, Suzuka Morita, Kanji Tsuda, Maiko Ito, Tak Sakaguchi, Asami, Chiharu Kawai,

Splatter outfit Sushi Typhoon (a subsidiary of Nikkatsu) was founded in 2010 and one of its earliest releases was Mutant Girls Squad (2010) which features three of the company’s biggest talents directing individual chapters of the film. The first part is orchestrated by action star/fight choreographer Tak Sakaguchi, and special effects maestros Noboru Iguchi and Yoshihiro Nishimura follow him up in parts two and three. What starts out as an outrageously silly splatter-tastic tale of kick-ass girls taking on corrupt authorities in a tidal wave of blood and mutant body-parts falls apart by the end as Nishimura over-indulges his fetish for splatter special effects.

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Deadball デッドボール (2011)

Deadball       

Deadball Film Poster 2
Deadball Film Poster 2

Japanese: デッドボール

Romaji: Dedoboru

Release Date: July 23rd, 2011

Running Time: 73 mins.

Director: Yudai Yamaguchi

Writer: Yudai Yamaguchi, Keita Tokaji (Screenplay),

Starring: Tak Sakaguchi, Mari Hoshino, Miho Ninagawa, Miho Narita, Mickie Curtis, Ryosei Tayama,

Baseball is, for some odd reason, one of the most popular sports in Japan. It would take zombies and bloodshed to truly make it interesting for me. Enter the rather short-lived film label, Sushi Typhoon, a gang responsible for the movies a series of splatter films like Cold Fish (2011), Mutant Girls Squad (2010), Hell Driver (2011), and Yakuza Weapon (2011). They bring their over-the-top action and special effects to a boring sport and liven it up with mass killings, androids and more craziness for an audience than is healthy.

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Why Don’t You Play in Hell? 地獄でなぜ悪い (2013)

Why Don’t You Play in Hell?           

Why Don't You Play In Hell Film Poster

Japanese Title: 地獄でなぜ悪い Why Don’t You Play in Hell?

Romaji: Jigoku de Naze Warui Why Don’t You Play in Hell?

Release Date: September 28th, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: 119 mins.

Director: Sion Sono

Writer: Sion Sono (Screenplay),

Starring: Jun Kunimura, Shinichi Tsutsumi, Fumi Nikaido, Tomochika, Hiroki Hasegawa, Kotou Lorena, Gen Hoshino, Tak Sakaguchi

This has been a long time coming. I saw Why Don’t You Play in Hell? at last year’s BFI London Film Festival and I had huge expectations. In the months leading up to the screening I had posted trailers and made posts full of Gifs. It was my final festival film of the year and walking into the cinema I was tingling with excitement. Why? Because Sono is one of my two favourite Japanese directors and this looked awesome. I can confirm that it was God-tier awesome. 

The film opens on a teenage director named Hirata who, along with his amateur film crew The F*ck Bombers, is busy shooting a gang fight between some Yankees. The main ambition of The F*ck Bombers is to make the most miraculous movie ever with realistic action! These guys will come into play later as the film switches to Muto (Kunimura), a yakuza crime boss who is the top target of a rival gang.

 Genki-Why-Don't-You-Play-in-Hell-Jun-Kunimura

A hit-squad from the rival gang head to Muto’s home. Except he’s not there. His wife Shizue (Tomochika) is. What results is a bloodbath as Shizue defends her home from the gangsters… 

Genki-Why-Don't-You-Play-in-Hell-Muto's-Wife-Tomochika

Meanwhile, as mother dearest is chasing one of the few survivors of her rage, Muto’s daughter, the angelic child actress Mitsuko, arrives home to find herself wading in a sea of blood. Lying on the kitchen floor and bleeding out is lone survivor Ikegami (Tsutsumi) who is charmed by Mitsuko so much that he develops a bit of an obsession. He stumbles out of the crime scene where he runs into Hirata and The F*ck Bombers who realise he is an honest to God blood-covered yakuza and begin to film him.

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Why Don’t You Play in Hell? Gif Version

I posted the trailer for Sion Sono’s latest film Why Don’t You Play in Hell?  last week and Tired Paul suggested I make some Gifs for the film… Little did he know I was already doing it! Well, I posted them on my Tumblr. Some are so large I need to post them here because of the file upload limit on Tumblr.

So, here’s the film done through the power of Gifs (I expect this post will take ages to load due to the size and number of the things).

Why Don’t You Play in Hell?           Why Don't You Play In Hell Film Poster

Japanese Title: 地獄 で なぜ 悪い Why Don’t You Play in Hell?

Romaji: Jigoku de Naze Warui Why Don’t You Play in Hell?

Release Date: September 28th, 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: N/A

Director: Sion Sono

Writer: Sion Sono (Screenplay),

Starring: Jun Kunimura, Shinichi Tsutsumi, Fumi Nikaido, Tomochika, Hiroki Hasegawa, Kotou Lorena, Gen Hoshino, Tak Sakaguchi

Muto (Kunimura)

Genki-Why-Don't-You-Play-in-Hell-Jun-Kunimura

and Ikegami (Tsutsumi)

Genki-Why-Don't-You-Play-in-Hell-Ikegami-(Tsutsumi)

are rival gangsters who despise each other but there’s a catch for Ikegami… he loves Muto’s actress daughter Mitsuko (Nikaido).

Genki-Why-Don't-You-Play-in-Hell-Mitsuko-(Nikaido)

Continue reading “Why Don’t You Play in Hell? Gif Version”

Sion Sono Season

Sion Sono Season Banner

It’s a short season and it features a silly banner but I don’t care. This is a quick biography of Sion Sono and I hope to review some of his works in the coming week. I want to write about a number of directors and since this is Sion Sono Season he goes first.

Sion Sono has had a varied career starting as an avant-garde poet before ditching a course at Hosei University for a career in underground filmmaking although he never turns his back on poetry which will recur in his early films. In 1987 he won the Grand Prize at the PIA Film Festival (PFF) for his film A Man’s Hanamichi. The PFF is designed to discover and support new filmmakers and following his win he received a fellowship with PIA and wrote, directed and starred in numerous films which contained underachievers, serial killers and other outsiders. These films regularly toured the international festival circuit and helped establish his name.

It wasn’t until the 2001 film Suicide Circle when he truly became a well-known cult director. Suicide Circle (which has special effects by Tokyo Gore Police director Yoshihiro Nishimura) is a satirical film dealing with pop culture, mass suicides, and a bewildered middle aged police detective played by Ryo Ishibashi (Audition) trying to understand it all while being assailed by deviants and horrific sights that challenge his perceptions. Following this success he expanded on the film’s world by taking it into different mediums such as novels and manga and a belated sequel named Noriko’s Dinner Table which was made in 2006.

Noriko's Dinner Table

Suicide Circle was a massive success and has set the tone for the rest of his films. Despite trying a gangster film (Hazard – 2005) and comedy-drama (Into a Dream – 2005), both starring Joe Odagiri (Adrift in Tokyo, Bright Future), he has continued to explore the darker side of modern Japan with a series of extreme titles including the ero-guro film Strange Circus (2005) which features sexual and mental abuse and incest, the aforementioned Noriko’s Dinner Table which deals with alienation and suicide, Exte: Hair Extensions (2007) which stars Chiaki Kuriyama (Battle Royale, Shikoku, Kill Bill) and is a far more mainstream J-horror title and then Love Exposure (2008) which stars Hikari Mitsushima (Sawako Decides) and can only be described as a religio-psycho-sexual mindmelt.

Love Exposure's Interesting Ride

Continue reading “Sion Sono Season”

Tokyo Gore Police 東京残酷警察 (2008)

Police Announcer in Tokyo Gore Police

Director Yoshihiro Nishimura has a background in special effects and make up and Tokyo Gore Police shows off his love for these elements.

In near-future Japan the Tokyo Police force have been privatised and have to meet a new threat bringing violence to the streets: Engineers. These are genetically altered humans who can withstand excessive violence and sprout weapons from wounds. Leading the Engineers is the mysterious Keyman (Itsuji Itao). Leading the police fight back is ace Engineer hunter Ruka (Eihi Shiina), daughter of a murdered policeman who was against the privatisation of the police. Little does Ruka know the connection between herself, her father and Keyman but it will rock the foundations of Tokyo and its new police force.

The Privatised Police in Tokyo Gore Police Tokyo Gore Police is a wonderfully trashy film but very undisciplined. The world created is an extreme future where everything including compensated dating, suicide and extreme violence are privatised and made commercial as demonstrated by the numerous satirical ads throughout the film like this amusing wrist-cutting one.

Continue reading “Tokyo Gore Police 東京残酷警察 (2008)”