Little Known Asian Movies Watched
2 4 5.21. Uniform SurviGirl I (2008)
17 year old schoolgirl Sakura visits a Samurai theme park called Survival Land with her friends where they’re supposed to go up against some cosplayers dressed as samurai but things go horribly wrong when one of the cosplayers gets infected after finding a strange flower in the theme park’s grounds and cutting it with his sword. Some black liquid sprays him in the face and the next thing we know he’s infecting the rest of his colleagues as they turn into zombies. Soon the game turns deadly as the undead cosplayers start attacking the girls with real weapons. They need to find a way to escape from the place and fast. Quite a disappointing movie. Poor acting, shitty storyline and the special effects was crap. There’s hardly any blood and guts and what little there is isn’t very good. Don’t bother with this unless you’re desperate.
4 6 5.12. The War In Space (1977)
The year is 1988. Aliens from the Empire of Galaxies establish a base on Venus and launch a surprise attack on Earth. As the invaders’ spaceships quickly defeat the world’s armies and destroy New York, Moscow, Paris, and London, a United Nations Space Bureau team led by Professor Takigawa manages to finish construction of Earth’s last line of defense, the space battleship Gohten. The Gohten makes short work of the alien fleet, and the crew decides to take the battle to the enemy but not before Takigawa’s daughter Jun is kidnapped by the aliens and taken to their flagship which is based on an old Roman sailing ship complete with oar-like laser guns. Can they rescue Jun and defeat the alien ship? OK, so this movie is cheesy and the special effects not on a par with Star Wars which came out at the same time but I really liked it. I found it exciting and it ticked all the right boxes for me. Overall, The War In Space is a good old fashioned space opera which is entertaining and enjoyable.
1 6 7.13. That's Cunning! Shijo saidai no sakusen (1996)
A funny Japanese comedy about a bunch of chemistry students in a university. A corrupt Professor announces plans to demolish Sigma House on campus due to the slackers that live there and build a hotel. The only way to prevent this is that all of those that live there must get an A grade in their next exam. Therefore the students get together to plan the ultimate scam and cheat on their exam so that they’ll win. The brilliant singer Namie Amuro stars as one of the students of Sigma House. She acted in this movie near the start of her music career so she’s young but still looks incredibly beautiful. I liked this comedy, plenty of laughs to be had. Think of it as a Japanese version of Revenge Of The Nerds.
1 7 6.84. Superkid (2006)
A quirky children’s movie from Hong Kong about a boy genius escaping from his prison of sorts in a top secret facility and meeting up with his female internet friend as he wants to understand what makes a family happy. Along the way, they get up to all sorts of scrapes as the female boss of the secret facility Chloe sends her goons out to get her top student back. Hong Kong isn’t that well known for producing kids movies. Although tagged as a kids movie, it does have some scenes that might disturb them involving hypodermic needles and even referencing to a notorious HK Cat III horror! Thankfully the majority of the movie is light stuff with some slapstick comedy and lessons to be learned in life aimed squarely at the kids. The leading characters are OK, at least they’re not annoying. It’s a good movie to watch on a rainy afternoon.
3 6.7 05. Super Gore Girl (2009)
This movie is set in the suburbs of a major city, where a certain group of students reign over their catholic girls school with an iron fist. Despite the outward appearance of beauty and grace, students of the school are quite proud to be aggressive and violent in the fight against evil. Looking for a more quiet and peaceful experience than her new classmates, freshman Sachiko joins the silent bible reading club headed by senior Yukie, but the school’s harsh, dictatorial leadership system soon gets in the way of their studies. I only took a look at this short 43 minute movie as former AKB48 member Sayaka Akimoto is one of the leading characters. Super Gore Girl is a very misleading title to be honest, it’s more of a super lame short movie. There’s hardly any gore in it except for a brief 5 minute spell. Sayaka is the only good thing about it to be honest. The last 10 mins which feature her blasting away the male students with a massive high powered rifle is great to see. Overall though, I was very disappointed with this movie.
8 7.3 5.76. Muay Thai Giant (2008)
Ex WWE wrestler and 7 foot giant Nathan Jones is Barney, a docile man who after a drunken night out finds his passport has been stolen in Pattaya, Thailand. He befriends two sisters who will help him find his passport. At their mothers restaurant they find that Barney goes crazy when he eats a spicy dish called ‘somtum’. He destroys the restaurant but vows that in order to make it up to them he’ll do whatever it takes to rebuild the restaurant. Meanwhile some bad guys get a precious diamond stolen by one of the sisters and want it back. The paths of Barney, the sisters and the bad guys are about to converge but who will come out of the melee intact? What an incredible Thai comedy/action/martial arts movie this is. You don’t really need to watch it with subtitles as half of the dialogue is in English and the plot is easy to follow. It’s such a good light-hearted movie with some awesome fights throughout. The stand out star is 14 year old Sasisa Jindamanee who is just an amazing martial artist. If you love Thai action movies, there’s no doubt you’ll enjoy this one.
10 6.3 6.97. Rape! 13th Hour (1977)
A gangster and serial rapist named Crimson takes on a young protege who works at a local gas station. Crimson teaches the young man how to rape women into submission by attacking a ballerina at her home one night. The young protege’s feelings about rape soon begin to overwhelm him and he strikes out on his own by going into the woods where several young couples are having sex. The only problem is he can’t seem to climax but that doesn’t seem to stop him and Crimson as they embark on a series of nasty rapes. Crimson is also being chased by a trio of homosexual gangsters whose effeminate leader wants Crimson to pleasure him or he’ll tell all about his rape exploits to the police but after Crimson beats him to a pulp inside a toilet cubicle and escapes through a window, the gang are soon in hot pursuit.
This is probably one of the most controversial of all of the Nikkatsu rape movies (there was a series of these kind of movies released in Japan during the mid/late 70′s) which is not helped by the fact that the women being raped in the movie seem to enjoy the experience and give money for the rapists to come back and do it again!! It does push the boundaries of decency especially during the final quarter when Crimson gets a dose of his own medicine. Despite the blatantly un-PC storyline, it does have some good acting, tense scenes and a great baroque/classical soundtrack. If you're easily offended it's best you stay away from this movie.
1 6 08. Queen's High (1991)
Siblings Kwanny & Chung are left in charge of their father’s empire after he is assassinated by rival Chau Yung. After a series of tit-for-tat killings and a bloody massacre at Kwanny’s wedding, she is left as the sole heiress to her late father’s business. However, this means that she must now deal with an ambitious and ruthless family member who orchestrated the massacre and is planning to take over the business for himself.
This is the movie which features the iconic moment when Cynthia Khan in her bloodstained wedding dress grabs a machine gun and starts mowing down the villains like the bad ass chick that she is! The 1st half of the movie is dare I say dull but the action picks up in the 2nd half. It’s certainly not Cynthia’s best movie but there’s enough here to satisfy any HK action fan.
8 7 5.89. Power Kids (2009)
A group of 5 street kids live and teach Muay Thai in a temple with their master. One of them has a heart problem and during an incident his condition worsens and is rushed to hospital. His only hope is a heart transplant. By sheer luck, one is found in a hospital many miles away and is due to be transported. But the hospital finds itself under attack from a terrorist group called the Tealaw Party who demands some concessions from the Thai government. With the hospital unable to transport the heart and unless it is safely transplanted into a patient’s body in 4 hours it will be deemed useless. The kids cannot stand by and watch their friend die so they take it upon themselves to go to the hospital, take on the terrorists and get the much needed heart. But can they survive taking on such a group who are armed with machine guns?
From the team behind Chocolate and Raging Phoenix comes this very good action movie. It might sound on paper like it’s a family movie and whilst at times it does act like one, you soon find out it’s not with people being shot at point blank range and plenty of swearing coming from the kids themselves! The child actors are so endearing with 2 of them displaying incredible martial arts ability. The action is short but great and as with all Thai movies such as this one is creative. I really enjoyed Power Kids and it entertained me a lot. It might not have the ‘wow’ factor that Tony Jaa and Jeeja Yanin movies have produced but it’s still a lot of fun. Definitely worth checking out.
48 5.9 5.910. Mutant Girls Squad (2010)
Rin is a normal high school girl, but on her super sweet sixteen her body starts changing and the special forces (armed with nose-mounted machine guns) bust up her birthday party and kill her parents in front of her eyes. It turns out that Rin is one of the reviled mutants, known as Hiruko’s, who are the latest inferior race slated for extinction. But Rin runs, and discovers a resistance movement made up of other mutants. Not only are they dangerous, but they’re also armed, only their arms stick out from the sides of their heads. Other weapons include swords which shoot out from nipples, a chainsaw that shoots from somebody’s arse, a deformed face growing on a belly and metal claws erupting from wrists. But these deformities are the weapons they’ll use to tear down straight society.
From the men that created Tokyo Gore Police, The Machine Girl and Vampire Girl vs Frankenstein Girl comes this gore-soaked dark comedy. Those familiar with their work will know what to expect from this movie. I love these wacky movies and the more gore the better! The slicing and dicing is there to amuse you for anything else not to make you gag. I found this movie really funny with a lot of sexual innuendos, the girls are really cute especially Idoling!!! member Morita Suzuka as the nurse Yoshie, the storyline is very OTT and blood is sprayed around like there’s no tomorrow! It’s just a lot of fun to watch and I really enjoyed it.
3 7 6.111. Drucker in the Dugout (2011)
When her best friend Yuki is hospitalised with an illness, high school girl Minami Kawashima helps her out by taking over her job temporarily as manager of Hodokubo High School’s baseball team. The team has many talented players but they’re indisciplined and chronic underachievers. Minami goes to a bookstore to buy a book on management to aid her in her task and is recommended to get Peter Drucker’s Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices book which has suddenly become popular in Japan. She begins to implement some of the strategies in the book in order to turn the team around as Minami has set a goal to get the team into the Koshien National Championships. As the team begins to make progress and team members start to trust each other out in the field, Yuki’s health deterioates and Minami is told the truth about her condition. Will Minami’s dream of reaching the Koshien National Championships come true?
Appealing to both AKB48 and baseball fans, this movie about a young teenage girl managing a baseball team was rather good and much better than I expected it to be. Considering that this was Atsuko Maeda’s first time in a leading movie role she did pretty well. The plot of Moshidora is nothing you haven’t seen before in sports movies – the usual zeroes to heroes scenario. It’s a charming enough movie with likeable characters and it does get you involved in willing the team to victory. This isn't an idol movie despite having two of them in the starring roles. A very interesting movie which was very enjoyable.
1 4 012. Kokkuri-san: Gekijô-ban (2011)
A man out walking in some woods discovers human bones and it is found to be that of a young boy with a drawn ouija board on a piece of paper close by. Young schoolgirl Eri Oshima is woken up at 3am to find her mother sitting in the lounge with a blank expression on her face. She’s been acting strange ever since watching a news report on the discovery of the bones in the woods. When Eri wakes up the next day her mother is dead with her eyes and mouth looking like it’s been burnt.
I only watched this because AKB48 member Mariya Suzuki has the leading role as Eri Oshima. o be perfectly honest it isn’t that good of a movie with hardly any scares, thrills or blood. It’s just your average low budget asian ghost story. I found it to be fairly dull and was very disappointed with the whole production. There’s nothing new that you haven’t seen before. Mariya Suzuki was OK in her debut acting role but with the material she was given to begin with she didn’t have to do a lot except to look frightened and scream a little. I thought the story was going to be interesting but it doesn’t really develop to anything that makes you sit up and take notice of it. The ending was such an anti-climax with a twist you could see coming a mile away and even then it was crap. I wouldn't really bother with this movie.
1 8 013. Kêtai deka 3 the movie: Môningu musume. ky... (2011)
The nation’s idols are in danger so who you gonna call? Mei, Kai and Yumi are high school students but are also secret police detectives. A threat has been made against the idol group Morning Musume through a letter sent to the police so Mei and her detective sisters are given the task of guarding them.
The Keitai Deka (Mobile Detective) franchise has been ongoing since 2002 with 8 TV series so far and 3 spin-off movies. I had low expectations before watching this movie and I was in fact expecting a silly teenage girl comedy movie but it turned out to be quite a serious detective thriller. It does have it’s silliness at times but mostly it’s played dead straight. What I liked most about the movie was it shows the girls using their reasoning and intelligence to solve clues and piece things together, even showing up their superiors at times. This isn’t an idol movie at all and Morning Musume only have around 15 minutes screen time and 7 minutes of that is shown of them performing onstage. They only have a smattering of dialogue given to them. The plot is lightweight fare but even so it’s still an enjoyable movie. I was surprised how much I liked it. I thought it was great fun.
24 8.5 7.114. Jeans Blues: No Future (1974)
Bored bar girl Hijiriko steals some cash from her workplace and a car. Across town, gangster minion Jiro is helping his boss and his cronies kill somebody when they turn on him. He manages to take off in his boss’ car along with 5 million yen. Both Hijiriko and Jiro crash into one another but instead of arguing about whose fault it was, they take off together in another stolen car. As they start blazing a trail of crime across the country and succeeding in pissing off every person they meet, they mistakenly get locked inside a steel container. After being released when the container arrives at it’s destination, Jiro and Hijiriko nab a pump action shotgun from a hunter after killing him. They begin a murderous spree which not only attracts the local police but also the gangsters that have been after Jiro from the start of the movie. Realising that Jiro is heading to his sisters place in the town of Tango near Kyoto, the gangsters set up a trap in a lonely wooden cabin up in the mountains. Will Hijiriko and Jiro manage to evade the trap by the gangtsters and escape from the police?
This isn’t a well known movie for Western viewers even though it’s got 70′s exploitation queen Meiko Kaji in one of the leading roles. Don’t make the mistake of thinking because of that it’s not any good because you’ll be missing out on a brilliant movie. With it’s Bonnie & Clyde storyline, this is a fantastic action thriller which motors along at a cracking pace. It has a hint of dark humour running throughout even though the story is serious and has quite a bit of excessive violence. Director Sadao Nakajima manages to keep the movie interesting and entertaining with hardly any let up in the action right through to it’s bloody climax. As a big fan of Meiko Kaji, I can thoroughly recommend this to anybody that may have only seen her in the Female Prisoner series and wants to expand their viewing experience of her. It’s well worth seeking out.
5 8 7.115. Fireflies: River of Light (2003)
A great family movie about a rookie teacher and his class of kids who embark on a project to bring back fireflies to a river. The kids learn about looking after the environment, teamwork and watch as the fireflies grow, mature and eventually fly on a warm Summer’s night. Risako from the Japanese idol group Berryz Koubou plays the main child character Hikari in this movie and she looks so young. She’s all grown up now of course. This movie has got a wonderful ending which gives a warm glow in the heart. Thoroughly enjoyed it.
4 8 7.716. Control Tower (2011)
In a remote area of Hokkaido, two lonely high school students meet and connect through a shared love of music. Takeru, a bit of a loner lives an alienated and directionless life, drifting through school. He doesn’t mix with anybody and spends his lunch time alone in the school hall. That all changes when he meets serial school-transferee Mizuho who immediately takes a shine to him. She is of a similar nature and in her Takeru finds someone with whom he can connect through a shared love of music. They quickly become friends. Discovering a guitar belonging to his father in storage at his house and borrowing an electric keyboard from a friend of his father for Mizuho to play they decide to form a band and try and enter a national radio competition by writing an original song. But as their friendship becomes stronger, something happens to tear the two apart.
Sometimes a movie comes along that you don’t know anything much about it. You’ve heard on the grapevine it’s really good but that’s all you know. You have no idea what to expect out of it but when you watch it, it turns out to be an incredible experience that lingers long in your mind afterwards. Such was the feeling I got after seeing this superb movie. It is so amazing. The movie which is all about loneliness, friendship, music and feelings of first time love is carried by two excellent actors in teenagers Kento Yamazaki and Ai Hashimoto who are perfectly cast in their roles. Hashimoto is really cute and endearing! The chemistry between both is brilliant. You only have to see the glances between them to know the love between them is strong. Not only is the storyline wonderful and well written but so is the cinematography and soundtrack.
Control Tower might not be a well known movie outside of Japan but it is certainly worth checking out if you have a chance to do so. It’s one of those movies which touches your soul on many levels.
2 8 5.717. A Tale of Legendary Libido (2008)
This Korean comedy involves a young man whose penis is set on fire accidentally by his brother as a teenager so it doesn’t work properly and is a laughing stock to all the women in his village. But thanks to a monk who tells him to drink a concotion Byeon gets the power of a million viagra tablets – a never ending erection!! Soon the women are flocking to the new village sex god for his personal services!! This is a very funny crude sex comedy with plenty of laughs on show such as a physician that pisses with the power of a fire hose! On saying that, this movie does go on for far too long and it should have been cut by a good 20-30 mins. Still very enjoyable.
17 6.2 618. 4th Period Mystery (2009)
Han Jeong-hoon has an argument with one of his classmates Tae-gyu who is soon found dead in a classroom by him. A shy female classmate nicknamed “Curtain” who’s a fan of detective novels believes Jeong-hoon didn’t commit the crime and soon the pair are on the case as to who’s behind the murder before 4th period comes to a close. It doesn’t help that there’s a school inspection taking place at the same time. A suspect is found soon, but as time goes by, more and more evidence appears and the case is soon turned on it’s head.
However far fetched this movie might seem about 2 school pupils trying to solve a murder case at their school, it does have an interesting mixture of being a thriller and a high school drama. It’s tense and captivating at times with some great adrenaline moments peppering the movie. Running at a tight 90 mins, this might not be one of the best Korean movies of 2009 but it’s so entertaining and it does have an edgy style which does make it stand out a little bit from other thrillers. Give it a go and see what you think.
1 8 5.919. Bee Bop highschool; Koko yotaro elegy (1986)
This is the 2nd of 6 movies that came out during the mid to late 80′s. A drama series also came out at the same time. It’s a very funny comedy drama centering on 2 rival high school gangs who like nothing else than pound each other senseless, do some outrageous posturing, have stupid hairstyles and swagger around with exaggerated gaits. Welcome to Be-Bop High School! The plot what little there is of it is the 2 gangs chasing each other with weapons and such, making the girls swoon with their manliness and try and impress the local yakuza……and basically that’s about it!! It’s just fight, fight, fight!!
I really enjoyed this movie due to it being so over the top. It’s all quite ridiculous and very amusing. I was laughing through most of this movie. Every 10 mins or so there’s a skirmish of some sorts happening. The climax is incredibly funny where the 2 gangs literally destroy a cliffside beach diner to nothing during a massive brawl. Seriously there’s nothing left of it after these guys have trashed the place apart. You just know this movie is so OTT when characters survive being electrocuted and a vehicle full of thugs fighting drives off a cliff top only to miraculously land on a platform at sea where they just carry on scrapping as if nothing has happened! If you want to disengage your brain and just watch an all out 90 min brawl then this movie is the one for you. Loved it.
5 7 6.320. Bury Me High (1991)
Two people experiencing bad luck think it's linked to the burial site of their ancestors and along with an astrologer friend who’s an expert in geomancy and feng shui travel to the country to locate their burial sites. It seems that because an evil person has also been buried in that area the tomb must be destroyed for the bad luck to disappear. However there are complications for the trio when they arrive in the country as the President’s top military general stages a coup and kills the leader. He has plans for world domination using the powers of geomancy, astrology and feng shui. The general’s sister isn’t too happy about this and assists Anna, Wisely and the astrologer with their quest but when the general finds out he goes crazy. Can the trio complete what they originally set out to do and also stop the mad general’s plan with their lives intact?
This is an action packed adventure (a bit like an Indiana Jones style movie) which also contains a mystical element to the story too. It’s to do with feng shui and geomancy which is divination by means of lines and figures or by geographic features. As the movie assumes that the viewer knows something about geomancy in general, this could be why many Western viewers are a little bit confused about the story. The biggest draw in Bury Me High is the superb well staged action scenes with some tanks and heavy weaponry being used. A lot of explosives go off, more than what is usually seen in HK movies. The martial arts is fantastic – fast, brutal and exciting which is topped off by an amazing three way fight between Moon Lee, Yuen Wah and Chin Kar Lok.
Despite a bit of a slow start, once Bury Me High gets going you won’t find a better action movie. It’s possible that you may get confused with the storyline. All I can say is just pay close attention to the first 10-15 minutes, take it all in and perhaps then you might understand what’s going on. I loved this movie and I hope you will too.
18 8.3 7.121. Panic in High School (1978)
After a boy commits suicide because of falling grades and a harsh Maths teacher refuses to let a discussion about the incident take place and displays a lack of sensitivity, a disgruntled male pupil runs away from school, steals a rifle with plenty of ammo and goes back to school to kill the teacher at point blank range. Injuring a female classmate and with the police called, he tries to sneak away from the premises but finds the exits and his escape routes blocked. After a chase through school buildings, he is finally cornered in a room where he takes some classmates hostage. With his behavior becoming more erratic, can the tense stand off between himself and the police come to a peaceful solution or will the Special Armed Police Response Unit have to take him out?
A gripping school drama about the failings of the Japanese high school system and it’s effects on pupils. The system places high importance on pupils gaining a university place. They are relentlessly drilled that if they don’t cram up and get into university their future is bleak. The fear by the pupils in failing drives some to kill themselves. Every year there are many suicides in young pupils because of the pressure and still the Education Ministry never learn. The storyline has some foreshadowing of the terrible shootings in Columbine, Ohio that would take place in the US 20 years later. For his directorial debut, Sogo Ishii created a cult gem that’s well worth checking out.
10 7 7.222. Black Tight Killers (1966)
A male war photographer Hondo who goes on a date with a female air stewardess Yoriko in Tokyo gets caught up in a wild adventure when she gets kidnapped by a gang of go-go dancing ninja women who use chewing gum to blind their opponents, razor sharp measuring tapes and 45 rpm records as their weapons. They’re seeking a treasure trove of gold that the kidnapped girl’s father stole from Okinawa during World War II and want it to be returned to the island. But the female gang aren’t the only ones interested in this stash. A yakuza gang also wants to get their grubby hands on the gold. Hondo gets caught slap bang in the middle of this conflict but seeing as he’s fallen for Yoriko he’s determined to rescue her.
A parody of sorts of a spy action movie which is very camp but hugely enjoyable. Using a mix of vivid colours, weird camera angles, sexy female assassins and lots of action sequences, this movie has plenty to keep the viewer more than entertained. Even though it may be somewhat of a parody, this movie is played straight with a high body count. The action is pretty exciting and come thick and fast. Akira Kobayashi is great who plays his role with a James Bond like flair. In fact there are several nods to 007 in this movie. Overall this is a great movie that’s a lot of fun to watch. Seeing some ingenious devices such as the bomb in a golf ball or the bamboo bazooka to get out of a sticky situation is only a part of what makes this crazy movie work so well. If you’re in need of a brainless diversion on a rainy day this movie could be what you need.
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