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The H-Man (1958)
An interesting movie by Toho about the city of Tokyo being terrorised by a transparent green liquid radiated being called the H-Man. It's similar in some ways to The Blob. Very good special effects for the day of people dissolving after being attacked by the H-Man. The movie has a creepy atmosphere and a fair amount of suspense. For those that have only watched Ishiro Honda's Godzilla movies, you might want to check out some of his other work such as this as it's quite entertaining.
Megazone 23 Part II (1986)
The exciting Megazone 23 storyline continues and finds our young hero Shogo now a member of a biker group called Trash who are at war with the police and the military. There is a marked improvement in the anime with this sequel, it doesn't look so dated as the first part. The story though is just as compelling with the blood and violence going up a notch. It all ends on a very satisfying conclusion. One of the most brilliant anime movie double bill from the 80's. Go and check it out.
Megazone 23 (1985)
Classic 80's anime and it's obvious where The Matrix took it's ideas from as the storyline has a young biker finding out that the world he lives in is fake and has been created by a super computer called Bahamut and everybody is in fact on a ship in deep space after the Earth was made uninhabitable. Cue an exciting fast paced plot where the biker gets a transforming mecha to find out the truth but the authorities wants to keep everything a big secret from the population. The anime looks a little dated but that's to expected from something from the 80's. The story ends on a cliffhanger so it's onto Part II for me to see what happens next. A great action packed anime.
An Autumn Afternoon (1962)
This was Yasujiro Ozu's last movie. I usually like his work but for some reason I just didn't really like this one at all. It just felt like a rehashed story from one of his other movies about a man trying to marry off his daughter. It was just too ponderous and dull to hold my interest.
Ace Attorney (2012)
Takashi Miike surprises us once again with this interesting court/detective drama even though it does get a bit too complex for it's own liking by the climax. The movie is based on the video game Ace Attorney though I have to confess to never having heard of the game! I did like how the story unravels itself to reveal more clues and sub-plots in the court case. There's a little bit of comedy involved in the story as well. Great acting from the entire cast. It all leads up to a satisfying conclusion at the end. Very enjoyable.
Wangan Midnight The Movie (2009)
Based on a popular manga and anime, this movie for petrol heads is about a supposedly cursed racing car nicknamed "Devil Z" because it causes accidents to whoever drives it and has caused the death of it's previous owner is an exciting and fast paced ride. It's more akin to the live action movie Initial D rather than The Fast & The Furious. The story is more or less about the Devil Z going up against a black porsche called The Blackbird driven by a charismatic doctor who wants to see the Devil Z destroyed as he was friends with the car's previous owner and he is also dating the dead man's sister. His reasoning is the car has caused enough pain and heartbreak and should be consigned to the scrapheap but the Devil Z exerts a mysterious power over it's new owner who spookily enough has the same name as the previous owner and he is determined that the car will beat The Blackbird on the long stretch of road on the Wangan district of Tokyo. There's plenty of head to head car action if you love that sort of thing. The acting is good from all the cast. A great car racing movie.
Passing Fancy (1933)
Yet another of Ozu's early classics with the story revolving around a poor factory worker who takes pity on a young woman who has lost her job. This silent movie speaks volumes about family, about hopes but it is Ozu's light comic touch which makes it another great movie of his. It is completely silent but it is compelling, actually a story that could be retold and remade in any corner of the globe. The acting is excellent all around, but the factory worker's young boy deserves special mention. His antics and facial expressions are very funny. Well done and worth seeing.
Based on a popular manga, this is as controversial and politically uncorrect as you can get in a movie! The story concerns a small company where customers can arrange for a woman to be raped for a small amount of money usually the person targeted has cheated on their husband/boyfriend. A man dressed all in black and wearing a hockey mask called Rapeman (a school teacher by day and rapist by night) then does the dirty deed. Job done and customer satisfied. The motto of the company is 'righting wrongs through penetration' with the money being used to maintain the upkeep of a local orphanage. Before you think this movie is all sleaze and very offensive it's far from that. Production values are high and the plot is well written concerning Rapeman being involved as a political tool for a corrupt Senator involved with the yakuza. The so-called rapes are quite mild compared to other Japanese movies I've seen. The combination of drama and light comedy gels well together. I was surprised by how enjoyable it was.
Japanese Girls at the Harbor (1933)
A great Japanese silent movie about 2 schoolgirls who are best friends and how that friendship changes when a man called Henry starts a relationship with one of them. It's not as good as the other Hiroshi Shimizu movies I've seen. The story has elements of lust, love, betrayal, hopelessness and regret. At only 71 mins long it's quite a short movie which means it never outstays its welcome.
Evil of Dracula (1974)
The last of Toho's Dracula trilogy finds the Count masquerading as a school Principal and turning some of the female pupils into vampires. Comparisons between the trilogy and Hammer's Dracula movies are inevitable and whilst this movie never matches the quality of the Hammer movies. Despite the flaws of this movie, it's still good gory fun.
Tokyo Chorus (1931)
A silent family comedy from Ozu about an insurance worker who's fired for standing up to his boss after he dismisses an older worker. Having to feed his large family and with Japan at the start of the Great Depression the man has to look for work which isn't easy with Tokyo dubbed in this movie as 'the city of unemployment'. This movie is a fascinating portrait of a man, of a time, a place, a culture, that all seem so foreign yet so instantly recognisable. Ozu paints the Depression as being an awful situation for a man to be without work. Still, it's not all doom and gloom and this is a comedy after all so there's plenty of laughter to be had in this movie. It might not be up there with Ozu's best but it's still very enjoyable.
Burmese Harp (1956) (1977)
One of the most powerful and moving anti-war movies you'll ever see. It is expertly directed by Kon Ichikawa. The storyline is one that touches you deep in your soul and there are several memorable scenes such as when the leading character Mizushima comes across a pile of dead Japanese soldiers bodies. The horrifying expression on his face says it all. The song 'There's No Place Like Home' is heard many times over the course of the movie and accompanied by the beautiful melody of a Burmese harp and sung by the Japanese soldiers I found it an overwhelming experience which nearly bought me to tears. If ever you need to see a movie about the futility of war this is it. Highly recommended.
Tiger Cage 3 (1991)
A great HK action movie as 2 cops James & John use one of their girlfriend to try and implicate a corrupt businessman Mr Lee but things go wrong which ends up with one of them being badly burnt in the face and the other being disgraced and thrown off the force. 6 months later both men come back and try to kill Mr Lee but is James' former girlfriend Suki who now works for Mr Lee as nice as she seems. The storyline whilst giving the viewer nothing new or original has plenty of action and shootouts. The 2 cops must be invincible as they are shot many times but still come back for more punishment. Still it's a good mindless action movie which I enjoyed very much.
I Am Sono Sion! (1985)
An early Sion Sono short features him pissing about with his female friend Koko in a shrill voice, flirting with statues, screaming his head off whilst his eyebrows and hair are shaved off and playing about with various experimental camera techniques. To be honest this isn't that good unless you're a very big fan of him in which you'll see this as a work of a genius. I got bored of this quickly.
Tian zhan (1971)
One of the most preposterous martial arts movies I've seen and apparently banned in 34 countries due to the ultra violence. I don't know if that violence was removed from the hilarious dubbed version I saw but there was nothing too gory in it.....well apart from seeing a body cut in half and a beheading! The movie appears to have been cut to shreds and not very well either. The martial arts is ridiculously OTT with many rubber dolls being thrown off the top of cliffs! This is seriously one of those movies that is utterly bad and unintentionally funny but yet you'll be compelled to carry on watching it. A very bizarre movie indeed.
A brilliant yet simple tale of a bus journey from rural Izu to a train station across the Japanese countryside with the driver dubbed Mr Thank You as he's so kind and polite to people and the passengers he picks up on the ride. The cinematography showing a bygone era of Japan is fantastic. The story which is set during a bleak time in the 1930's depression has it's share of light comedy and some sadness. The main story involves a mother and her 17 year old daughter on the bus. Times are so hard that she is forced to take her daughter to Tokyo and sell her into prostitution. One of the best films made by director Hiroshi Shimizu. Highly recommended.
Mo gui ke xing (1980)
An enjoyable movie with some excellent martial arts especially in the final 2-On-1 fight between 2 of the heroes taking on the Big Boss.
Gammera the Invincible (1966)
The debut movie of the flying mutated turtle Gamera where an atomic bomb going off in Arctic wakes him up. The angry turtle heads over to Japan to start smashing things up! These kind of movies are best enjoyed with an open mind. The special effects for the year this movie was made are actually very decent. It's a good, silly and entertaining Japanese giant monster-on-the-loose fun but the later Gamera movies are better.
Love For Beginners (2012)
A typical Japanese teenage romance movie about two teens who start a relationship and the ups and downs that happen during their time together. It's a formulaic story that's been told countless times in Japanese movies. Whilst the plot might not be original it's still a pretty good movie though. Tori Matsuzaka and Emi Takei are great in their roles. The movie has enough appeal to make sure the targeted demograph will enjoy it.
The Bare-Footed Kid (1993)
A fairly good martial arts movie by Johnnie To with Aaron Kwok in the title role. There's plenty of great action scenes but I felt the movie got bogged down too much in it's sentimentality. It's enjoyable enough and the cast which includes Maggie Cheung are fine.
The Tower (2012)
This exciting Korean disaster movie borrows heavily from The Towering Inferno but with enough differences in the plot to show it's not a complete rip-off. The story builds very nicely and the incident that sparks the fire is unusual to say the least. The special effects, both CGI and real, are something to be marveled at. The cast give fine performances especially those in the firefighter roles. It might not be original but it sure is entertaining and it's definitely one of the better modern-day disaster movies I've seen. Recommended.
My Neighbors the Yamadas (1999)
Unlike anything else you'll see from Studio Ghibli, this animation revolves around a series of vignettes involving a typical Japanese family. The computer animation looks like a water-coloured comic strip, with far less detail than usual; this might make it sound inferior but it actually works surprisingly well for the subject matter. It's packed with a huge amount of hilarious gags and situational jokes that will certainly make you laugh. Overall this movie is a funny yet purposely clever and lighthearted yet sometimes deep anime that will provide great entertainment for the whole family.
The Cave of the Silken Web (1967)
The 3rd movie from Shaw Bros based on the Journey To The West finds the Monkey King trying to save his Master from the 7 Spider Sisters. The Sisters are clothed in sexy, colour-coded lingerie-style costumes and are portrayed by a line-up of stunning Shaw Bros beauties. Don't come into this expecting loads of martial arts action as there's hardly any but there's quite a lot of dancing and singing. The acting on the whole was pretty good. I wouldn't say it's a very memorable movie but it was entertaining.
I Am Keiko (1997)
I think this is the worst movie from Sion Sono I've ever seen. It follows the dull life of a 21 year old girl just as she is turning 22. Apart from the vibrant use of colours in many scenes, this was a very boring and frustrating movie. Nothing of any interest happens. Don't bother with it unless you like art-house/experimental movies.
Don't Look Up (1996)
This movie sparked off the 'ghost girl in white dress with long black hair' horror genre in Japan. Seen as a percursor to The Ring, director Hideo Nakata puts in some ideas in this movie which he would expand upon in The Ring i.e using the media as a source of something supernatural. It's a very atmospheric movie which is well acted and it builds the tension very effectively to a terrifying conclusion. Just a shame it only runs to 73 mins, you're left wanting to experience more. Definitely a worthy J-horror movie to take a look.
The Human Bullet (1968)
This story is about a Japanese soldier in the closing days of WWII who becomes assigned to a suicide squad training for the Final Fight, the desperate plan and huge manslaughter prepared by unyielding Japanese generals against an Allied land invasion of Japan. It's told through dark humour and biting satire so this isn't a doom and gloom movie at all. Overall an interesting take about the fall of Imperial Japan.
Destiny's Son (1962)
Underrated samurai movie by director Kenji Misumi who is most famous for his Lone Wolf & Cub movies. It follows the life of a wandering ronin after members of his family are murdered and he finds out he was adopted after his real mother was beheaded. Its complex story line mirrors the main character`s internal struggles and leads to an incredible final sequence, all in 70 minutes. Raizo Ichikawa plays the leading role extremely well. Well worth watching.
Nerawareta gakuen (1981)
An interesting movie directed by Nobuhiko Obayashi about a young schoolgirl who discovers she has psychic powers. Along comes a new transfer student to her school who also has powers and turns the students into Nazi-like fascists. This puts the 2 girls on a collison course. As per usual with Obayashi's movies there's an eccentric element to them and this one is no different. Great acting by Hiroko Yakushimaru whose next movie role would catapult her to superstardom in Japan.
Thai martial artist Jeeja Yanin is back in yet another comedy/martial arts movie. Her character Jukkalan is a bike delivery girl where she regularly transports "items" probably drugs to various crime bosses. This movie is more about the comedy rather than martial arts though there are a great couple of fights (one involves Jeeja using a bicycle). The comedy is OK and the majority is about the camp characters in the story. Overall the movie is fine but those expecting something along the lines of Chocolate will be disappointed. It's best to wait for Tony Jaa's The Protector 2 to see Jeeja at her kick ass best!
The usual standard movie of 2 Ranger units teaming up to defeat the respective villains from their shows. Predictable it may be but good fun nevertheless.
Bicycle Sighs (1990)
The breakout movie from Sion Sono which made the Japanese movie establishment take notice of his talents. It's a tale about 2 young men who are too lazy to enter university and are content with earning a living delivering newspapers and trying to finish a movie they started 3 years previously. A very stylish movie with a good story from a filmmaker still trying to find his feet and being experimental at the time.
Korea's first ever kaiju movie is similar to the debut of Godzilla in that it's a creature woken up after a testing of a nuclear bomb. It's standard stuff but very quaint and amusing in it's production. The special effects aren't up to what you see in Japanese kaiju monster movies. There's also a bizarre moment of seeing Yongary dancing!!! It's only worth a watch if you're into kaiju flicks.
The Drifting Classroom (1987)
Awful Japanese sci-fi movie about a school that's transported during an earthquake to another world. The premise had potential but the filmmakers botched it up big time. It's not helped by the terrible acting of the entire cast especially the Westerners. The special effects look horribly out of date. I'd give this a wide berth. Useless.
Touted as one of the best old school martial arts movies, the story of a one armed boxer being hunted down by a blind master and his flying guillotine is thrilling and exciting. The blind master is relentless in his quest to avenge the death of his 2 pupils and with some Terminator-like music whenever he appears seems to be deadly accurate with his formidable weapon. The fights are well choreographed though a little bit short apart from the final confrontation. Quentin Tarantino loved this movie so much he paid homage to it in Kill Bill. Great stuff.
Did you know that the space terrapin Gamera can do gymnastics? Well you'll see him take to a parallel bar between buildings and do a perfect dismount in this movie!! It's quite ridiculous the story as Gamera and a couple of annoying kids are transported to a distant planet where our hero terrapin takes on the saw headed Guiron. Quite a violent movie for kids as blood is seen spurting from a wound on Gamera thanks to Guiron's shuriken stars. Overall it's a rather silly movie but I suppose kids will love it. Keep an eye out for Gamera go-go dancing!!!
Pantyhose Hero (1990)
In order to catch a killer of homosexual men, Sammo Hung and Alan Tam go undercover as a gay couple. Although some people will no doubt find it offensive, I thought it was a hilarious comedy with some good fight sequences even though they're too short for my liking. A fun martial arts comedy.
A nice crossover movie featuring the Dekaranger and Abaranger team joining forces to thwart the forces of evil. The plot is something you've seen in other Super Sentai crossover movies. Two teams dislike each other at first then find out they've got something in common before helping each other to wipe out the villains in order to save the day. Good fun.
Attack the Gas Station! (1999)
A very good comedy about 4 disaffected youths who hijack a gas station. Serving as both a parody of siege/hostage movies and a camp action extravaganza in it's own right, ATGS moves at breakneck speed, leaving not a dull moment as the quartet of luckless youths try to avoid detection and learn running a gas station isn't as easy as it seems. Excellent performances from all the cast and it's certainly one of the best Korean comedies I've seen.
This controversial movie has been banned in Japan for over 30 years due to some scenes which to Western viewers may seem tame but it offended survivors of the Hiroshima/Nagasaki blasts. An international cut have been released on DVD but this only runs for 90 mins. The original Japanese cut ran for 115 mins and it is this version that I've seen. It's a depressing disaster movie which is still relevant to this day about looking after the environment or we face a catastrophe in the future if we don't. Some may find the movie a little bit preachy in getting the message across that mankind is going down the wrong path. There are many scenes such as the world being destroyed by nuclear weapons and even showing the Fukushima nuclear plant blowing up which I'm sure terrified viewers when it was released but thankfully Nostradamus' prophecy about everybody dying in 1999 failed to materialise. If you're after a disaster movie that pulls no punches in it's depiction of the last days of Planet Earth this is a good one to watch.
A rather bland and boring sci-fi tale which uses a number of American actors such as Cesar Romero (Joker of TV Batman fame). The movie got off to a good start but it drags during the middle section before picking up again in the final third. The monster scenes (flying lion and giant rats!) and human characters were dull. It does have some action in it, but it is just a far departure from the usual Toho stuff. It just doesn't have the zest, originality, plot lines, and inspiration of a Toho kaiju movie. In the end I got completely bored watching it.
The Human Vapor (1960)
A great little movie by legendary kaiju director Ishiro Honda. On paper the plot might sound like it's a bad movie but it's quite the opposite. The story shares some elements with HG Wells' The Invisible Man but the protagonist in this tale robs banks to finance a Noh dancer's concert. It's quite a moody, suspenseful movie and there is a haunting sense of impending tragedy that is maintained throughout. A good thriller even by today's standards, and a suitable addition to any Toho movie fans.
As Tears Go By (1988)
This was Wong Kar Wai's directorial debut and what some critics said was the Chinese equivalent of Scorsese's Mean Streets. And what a debut it was from him, of course greatness would come in his other movies but the viewer sees the promise that would come in this movie. It's a great compelling story with a tragic end to it. Excellant performances from all three leads and I loved the Chinese version of Berlin's Take My Breath Away sung by Sandy Lam.
What a cool Japanese movie this was. It's got a complex plot, fantastically choreographed fight scenes and great special effects. The movie throws everything at the viewer from supernatural head swapping to an acid-vomiting monk to a love potion made from the tears of a virgin plus there's also a fair bit of outrageous gore and female nudity. All in all, an enjoyable martial arts/ninja movie.
Lady Terminator (1989)
An Indonesian ripoff of The Terminator featuring an unstoppable Western female possessed by the evil spirit of a dead South Sea Queen. It's a wild, sex-filled and violent action movie in which the female Terminator nearly wipes out the entire Indonesian police force!! Several scenes and dialogue are copied directly from the original Terminator movie. Barbara Castle is one badass woman in the lead role. It's one of those movies that's so inept it's good and it's certain to entertain action fans. Great fun.
This controversial Japanese horror movie has quite a reputation for showing the viewer some vile and sickening stuff. The plot revolves around a beautiful female reporter investigating the underground sex industry. As she delves deeper into her investigation, certain people aren't happy with her snooping and decide to take action against her. Be prepared to witness some truly disgusting scenes which will repulse you. Despite the nastiness of the movie there is a fairly good plot to it. I did not expect the twist at the end. For Asian gore hounds only!
In this special release, the Super Sentai teams from 1998 and 1999 - Go Go V (rescue heroes) and Gingaman (galaxy warriors) join forces to try and stop the Darkness King Gil from awakening the Hell Beast. A fast and exciting movie with enough thrills and spills to please any Super Sentai fan. Hell Beast is truly an impressive foe for the 2 teams - it's more or less Satan himself. A great action movie, I liked it.
Below average kaiju movie revolving around a giant space jellyfish which attacks the Earth draining it of carbon. The monster itself isn't onscreen for all that long which is a shame as it looks great. The main plot is about some thieves stealing some diamonds with the cops on their tail. A pretty bland story if I'm being honest. If this movie had more Dogora destruction I would have been happy but as it is it's not the best kaiju movie that Ishiro Honda has done. Kudos to him for trying something different though.
Terror Beneath the Sea (1966)
Sonny Chiba before he became known as a bad ass in Japanese movies starred in some atrocious productions and this is one of them. The plot involves himself and some Western guys investigating reports of a mysterious humanoid creature swimming in the ocean which turns out to be a rip-off of the monster from Creature From The Black Lagoon! It turns out that the creature and many more like it have been created by a devious ruler of an undersea base who can change human beings into them. The movie does have a rather silly storyline and the only plus points is the special effects. Apart from those that like to see rare and bad Japanese sci-fi movies I wouldn't recommend it to anybody.
An absolute bonkers Japanese movie involving Frankenstein's heart being transported from Germany at the end of WWII to a lab in Hiroshima. The atomic bomb goes off making the heart radioactive where 20 years later a vagrant boy eats it! He starts growing at an enormous rate until he becomes a giant where he has a fight with the kaiju Baragon. Frankenstein looks like an overgrown caveman, and Baragon is effectively established as a leading kaiju. This is a silly, cliched, stupid, pointless movie but you will still have fun watching it.
Gamera vs. Gyaos (1967)
The flying turtle Gamera battles the reptile bat Gyaos who can slice things in two with his laser. Gyaos has proved to be Gamera's no.1 nemesis over the years and in this movie it's easy to see why. He's a tough mean opponent for Gamera who is difficult to kill. The effects are on a par with the Godzilla movies around the same time. This is the first movie for Gamera to be on the side of good. I liked this kaiju movie, it was great fun to watch.
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The latest Asian movies I'll have watched from October 2012 - August 2013. The latest Asian movies I've seen will continue in Part 7.
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