I only had a vague understanding of what I could expect with this film. Anyone in any way familiar with Ryuhei Kitamura and his unofficial muse Tak Sakaguchi should at least have an inkling of what they’re in for. Or, conversely, if you’re familiar with the cult films coming out of Nikkatsu’s production company Sushi Typhoon (responsible for such gems as Alien vs Ninja and Mutant Girls Squad), again, there should have been no surprise. In fact, what ultimately … (read more)
There’s an awful lot of biffo in ‘Death Trance’, which is to be expected from the Yuki Shimomura, the action director of the barking mad Versus making his directorial debut here.
And that’s pretty much the point of the film — there’s not too much interference from that pesky plot stuff. In fact, at one point, Grave, the vaguely androgynous anti-hero of the film, gets an explanation of back story from Ryuen (Takamasa Suga), the temple monk sent after him … (read more)
One of my friends likes to refer to this film not as Shinobi, or even as the clever and yet ridiculously literal subtitle, Heart Under Blade, but as – and this is a patented title you understand – the People With Shiny Eyes Movie. Now, that might sound ill-considered, but it’s much more descriptive than you’d think, because the main couple in this big-budget fantasy romance about warring ninja clans do indeed have very shiny eyes. Admittedly, … (read more)
Ryuhei Kitamura’s Versus is a frenetic, low budget, deliberately B-grade mix of some of the coolest movie madness you are ever likely to see. Passionate about films of the 70’s and 80’s, like Dawn of the Dead, Evil Dead and Mad Max, and influenced by filmmakers such as James Cameron, John Carpenter and Sam Raimi, Kitamura is not only a walking advertisement, but an outspoken advocate for the Hollywood pre-CG action film. Which accounts a lot for the … (read more)