Posts tagged "Akihiko Hirata"

The Last Gunfight (Review)

The Last Gunfight

aka 暗黒街の対決 aka Ankokugai no taiketsu
 暗黒街の対決 The Last Gunfight
1960
Written by Shin’ichi Sekizawa
Based on the book Chi no Wana by Haruhiko Oyabu
Directed by Kihachi Okamoto

 暗黒街の対決 The Last Gunfight
The Last Gunfight is basically Toshiro Mifune coming to a town besieged by warring yakuza and taking them all down in that time honored fashion that we all know and love from various samurai, western, and yakuza movies.

Detective Saburo Fujioka (Toshiro Mifune) is accused of corruption and transferred to Kojin, a city run rampant with crime. Fujioka inserts himself in the middle of the city’s gang troubles, and we don’t know initially his motives, which gives him a sort of Man with No Name vibe. He gets into several fights by way of not saying much of anything while figuring out the lay of the gangs, seemingly showing that the best way to know these enemies is to make them start fights with you. He does most of this without bothering to tell the Kojin police anything that he is doing.
 暗黒街の対決 The Last Gunfight
The Ooka gang is the one causing much of the problems in the city. Kyuzaburo Ooka (Seizaburo Kawazu) doesn’t follow the unwritten rules of honor for yakuza gangs, leading to strife with factions like the Kozukas. But Ooka does know how to throw money and violence around, meaning his slices of the pie keep getting bigger without all that honor stuff holding him back. Kozuka’s group represents the status quo, but their old fashion rules threaten to leave them in the dustbin of history as Ooka gains more and more territory. Kozuka believes in the old way of the yakuza having a sort of honor (let’s leave the arguments about the realities of this romanticized view aside for now) and tells a tale about how he spent money fixing the sewage system of the town at a loss just to help the people, and Ooka predictably mocks him for that.
 暗黒街の対決 The Last Gunfight
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - January 25, 2016 at 8:20 am

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Ironfinger

Ironfinger

aka 100発100中 aka Hyappatsu hyakuchu aka 100 Shot, 100 Killed
Ironfinger
1965
Written by Michio Tsuzuki and Kihachi Okamoto
Directed by Jun Fukuda

Ironfinger
The world of 1960s spy films is a crazy place, filled with all sorts of local infusions of the James Bond formula. Jun Fukuda drops a pair of flicks that take inspiration from the jet-setting spy and the local Japanese yakuza and crime films. Like all good 60s spy flicks, things aren’t taken 100% serious, and Ironfinger is practically an action comedy. The era wardrobe and locations give flavor that can’t be reproduced any more, and our hero Andrew Hoshino runs around from country to country on his own agenda, that’s not as innocent as it first appears.
Ironfinger
Ironfinger is a movie of the world. It’s original title translates to 100 Shot, 100 Killed, but it’s given a James Bond-esque retitle for overseas release. Andrew Hoshino himself is a man of the world, French-born Japanese who speaks both languages, as well as English, with ease. His “vacation” sees him embroiled in an international weapons smuggling conspiracy that reaches all over the Pacific Rim, running from Japan to Hong Kong to the Philippines. Ironfinger speaks five languages, has characters who get angry because the wrong language is being spoken, yet the story is universal enough to be entertaining to everyone.
Ironfinger
Andrew Hoshino plays the innocent tourist caught up in crime and continually referencing his Mama. but it becomes abundantly clear that he’s more than he appears, but never so clear you understand just what he is. Secret agent, criminal, Interpol? Your guess is as good as anyone else’s. Even his name isn’t his own, he acquires it from the passport of a murdered friend. Hoshino has a string of running gags, beginning with where he’s constantly losing and getting back his hat (originally his murdered friend’s hat), the hat containing a concealed weapon. Hoshino is also constantly captured, spending the majority of the running time in custody of one gang or another. Yet he always manages to escape through the power of his mouth or his skills, falling upward and into the arms of beautiful women.

Ironfinger and its sequel Golden Eye were best known for the strong Godzilla alumni connection. Both star Akira Takarada and costar Akihiko Hirata had roles in the original film and many subsequent sequels, but Bond girl Mie Hama also pops up in a few Toho kaiju flicks. Director Jun Fukuda has long been connected to the franchise, even helming Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster, Son of Godzilla, Godzilla vs. Gigan, Godzilla vs. Megalon, Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla, ESPY, The War in Space, and episodes of the Zone Fighter tv series. These connections helped bump Ironfinger up the list for a Criterion release, and both Ironfinger and Golden Eye look fantastic and have nice subtitles. As these reviews are based on the streaming versions, I did not view any extras.
Ironfinger

Andrew Hoshino (Akira Takarada) – A third generation Japanese-Frenchman on vacation and caught up in a criminal conspiracy. Is constantly talking about his Mama and bumming cigs. But Andrew Hoshino is also a crack shot and adept at identifying and taking out dangerous people. He knows things about the arms dealer he’s hunting and his true affiliation is not revealed. But he gets the job done, does it really matter? In the universe of Ironfinger, not really.
Yumi Sawada (Mie Hama) – Contract bomber for the Akatsuki who recognizes the game has changed once Andrew is in play, so moves her pieces to his side of the board. Is having the most fun out of anyone in the cast.
Detective Ryuta Tezuka (Ichiro Arishima) – Blue collar detective who is sucked into this secret agent cool criminal underworld to track down an arms dealer. Always looks like he doesn’t belong, yet also is perfect for being in the middle of the action.
Komori (Akihiko Hirata) – Contract killer for the Aonuma family, who really works for the shadowy figure behind the arms dealing. Also is familiar with Yumi Sawada. Is ordered to take out Andrew Hoshino before he gets too close.

Ironfinger
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - September 26, 2013 at 8:55 am

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Terror of Mechagodzilla (Review)

Terror of Mechagodzilla

aka Mekagojira no gyakushu aka メカゴジラの逆襲

1975
March of Godzilla 2012
Written by Yukiko Takayama
Directed by Ishiro Honda

Titanosaurus, DirectTV pioneer

Terror of Mechagodzilla is a direct followup to the previous film, Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla. It’s also the final film of the Showa era, one of the few films to show direct continuity that would be used more in the Heisei films, and the final Godzilla work of some G-legends, Ishiro Honda and Akihiko Hirata. It also bombed horribly, helping lead to a decade-long absence of Godzilla in film form. Overall, Terror of Mechagodzilla is a mixed bag. The action sequences are some of the most violent and explosive of the older films, but they’re obviously trying to compensate from the lower budget (many scenes suddenly end up in the countryside) and the hectic explosions loose their danger after the 1 millionth giant boom.

Being a little mermaid sure is boring…

Ishiro Honda doesn’t sleep on the job, making up for the lower filming budget with some neat visual stylizing. A flashback to Professor Mafune’s descent into madness is shown via sepia-toned photographs while narration explains. Katsura’s lament that Titanosaurus is to be used as a murderous weapon is juxtaposed with other alien-controlled kaiju from prior films played on a quad-screen shot. Godzilla’s first appearance is one of the better introduction scenes in his history.

The alien command center is in some Trekker guy’s basement?

While Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla showed a trend towards more serious, Terror of Mechagodzilla straddled the edge of serious and silly. The action sequences were more destructive, but the alien villains were more comic book. The cyborg daughter is played for tragedy, but it is obvious from the beginning that it will end in a downer and we’re just running through the steps until the final act. I am willing to accept that some of the sillier aspects are unintentional, such as the alien helmets or the complete lack of concern for hunting down the aliens by Interpol even after they’ve been spotted multiple times in the same area. But I can’t deny that I feel it is there, and it clouds Terror of Mechagodzilla in a way that the prior film did not have.

Titanosaurus was tragically hit by a meteor during the filming of this scene…

メカゴジラの逆襲 (translation: Counterattack of Mechagodzilla) was first released in the US in theaters in 1978 under the title The Terror of Godzilla. The US rights were held by Henry Saperstein, who sold Bob Conn Enterprises the film rights, but also released the movie itself on TV in 1978 as Terror of Mechagodzilla. This cut is credited to UPA Productions of America, and features an additional six minutes of scenes taken from other Godzilla films and narrated to serve as an introduction to Godzilla (this sequence is detailed below), the only think cut was a brief shot of Katsura’s fake breasts during a surgery scene. By the mid-1980s, there was a new cut on tv that featured many of the violent scenes cut down, as well as not having the opening narration. There are some that say this was the theatrical cut, though I don’t know why the theater cut would have removed the violence when that seems more of a tv cut thing to do. That cut was the most widely available for decades, including the original version I saw before I got a tape of the original cut. I have still not seen the restored DVD, hence the screenshots are either from the old VHS tape or the earlier DVD.

For some reason, the humans won’t take us serious!

And as March of Godzilla 2012 continues, let’s get us to the Roll Call!

Akira Ichinose (Katsuhiko Sasaki) – Marine Biologist at the Ocean Exploitation Institute, which somehow qualifies him to have equal police rights as the rest of Interpol when he works with them to track down the mysterious dinosaur. Falls in love with a cyborg despite her repeated attempts to brush him off.
Katsura Mafune (Tomoko Ai) – Daughter of the famous Professor Mafune, who went mad. She covers for her father, telling the world he is dead. In reality, he is in league with the space aliens and is using his discovery, Titanosaurus, and his ability to control animals, against mankind for spurning him and his ideas. Katsura was rebuilt as a cyborg after she was injured in an experiment, and becomes more robotic the more the aliens due to her. Tomoko Ai went on to do a string of Nikkuatsu films.
Dr. Shinzo Mafune (Akihiko Hirata) – Akikhiko Hirata plays yet another mad scientist, except this one doesn’t have an eyepatch, he’s got crazy old man hair, mustache, and eyebrows. He hates mankind because they made fun of him. Good thing he doesn’t read YouTube comments, Dr. Mafune would explode with rage. Explode, I tell you! He teams with the aliens.
Interpol Agent Jiro Murakoshi (Katsumasa Uchida) – The main cop who is sort of in the film, though often the film forgets he’s there as it focuses more on Ichinose. But he occasionally shows up to save the day and to save Ichinose.
Alien Leader Mugal (Goro Mutsumi) – The new leader of the space aliens from the previous film. Mugal sounds like a name for a Gremlin or something. The greatest tragedy of Terror of Mechagodzilla is that the aliens never revert back to gorilla form.
Godzilla (Toru Kawai) – The biggest G of them all!
Mechagodzilla (Ise Mori) – Picked up from the ocean floor and rebuilt with human slaves, Mechagodzilla is back to fight his fleshy foe. And now he’s controlled by a cyborg lady! And he has some sort of head under his head! It’s all weird, but not enough to keep him from being turned into scrap metal.
Titanosaurus (Katsumi Nimiamoto) – Titanosaurus is a peaceful dinosaur used by an arrogant made scientist and aliens to attack humans, and is then brutally murdered by Godzilla for his crime of being brainwashed. Some people are really into Titanosaurus! If you are Japanese, you call him Chitanosaurusu. Rumor has it that Titanosaurus was originally supposed to be two smaller creatures called the Titans that fuse together to create Titanosaurus. This idea seems to have been recycled into Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah.
G is for Godzooky, that’s good enough for me!

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - April 11, 2012 at 2:10 pm

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Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla

Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla

aka Gojira Tai Mekagojira aka ゴジラ対メカゴジラ

1974
March of Godzilla 2012
Written by Jun Fukuda, Masami Fukushima, Shinichi Sekizawa, and Hiroyasu Yamamura
Directed by Jun Fukuda

Godzilla, if you take him out of his original package, he’s only going to be worth half as much!

It’s Godzilla time once again at TarsTarkas.NET, as March of Godzilla 2012 continues into April and stomps right up to the fabulous Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla! Yes, Godzilla fights his metal double, other monsters run around and help, and we find out what happens when damn dirty apes get their hand on robot parts!

Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla was one of my favorite Godzilla flicks growing up. I vividly remember buying the VHS tape with my own money (as the film was never shown on TV in my area) and the tape box had an awesome painting of Godzilla fighting Mechagodzilla. King Caesar was nowhere to be found on the cover, which did sort of make me sad. But the film totally made up for that, and this tape spent many days grinding away in the vcr, almost as much as my copies of Godzilla’s Revenge and King Kong vs. Godzilla (both taped off of tv the way nature intended!)

There are some who call me…Tim!

Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla is a classic Godzilla film and helps trend the trajectory of Godzilla films upwards from the children’s level entertainment Big G had been stuck in. While there is still a largely kid-safe feel to Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla, there are signs of the audience being treated as more mature. Sprays of arterial blood, torture, human characters being blown away onscreen…all things you would be hard-pressed to see with Jet Jaguar running around. Of course, the same year Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla was released, Godzilla was still running around with Zone Fighter violently murdering monsters to the delight of children across Japan. So maybe things aren’t so much mature as they are just bigger budgeted.

They had commercials for energy drinks in 1974 Japan?

Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla succeeds partially because the villain is memorable. It is inevitable if a series goes on long enough that evil doubles will show up. Toho even had their King Kong fight his own mechanical double early on, and it is about time Godzilla got into the mix. It also helps that Mechagodzilla just looks cool. He bristles with weapons and is a danger to the good monsters of Earth. Mechagodzilla worked so well as an adversary to Godzilla, he was later reimagined as a weapon to fight Godzilla in both the Heisei and Millennium film series. But here he is pure evil, a killing machine first seen as a disguised Godzilla brutally injuring Anguirus, one of Godzilla’s best buds. We know things aren’t right, the roar is different, Godzilla is mean. Mechagodzilla is fooling no one except the dopes who actually live in this movie world.

There are some weird contradictions in Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla. Most notably, Godzilla himself is an allegory about nuclear weapons and destruction, the hubris and violence. But now things get flipped and instead Godzilla is part of a prophecy of ancient Japan, to defend Japan against a technological monster bent on destruction, with the help of a monster that resembles classical Japanese artwork of a lion/dog. Godzilla is now part of the spiritual order of things, a protector spirit to help save Japan and the world. Just ignore all those films where he kill thousands. Godzilla does not escape his role as hero that has been cast upon him by the later films, and instead is integrated more as something that has always been meant to be a hero. His violent origin is hinted at in the film, when the characters sigh that “Of course Godzilla will be the monster to destroy the world…” but that is quickly thrown aside once the truth is revealed. This is probably the seed of how Godzilla would be treated later in the Heisei and Millennium series, as a force of nature and less of an evil or good monster. It is certainly an improvement over his prior films, where he’d be called in to go beat up the monster of the year.

Planet of the Herpes!

A change of direction was needed, as this was the 20th Anniversary film for the Godzilla franchise and something special should happen. It was also the last Godzilla film directed by Jun Fukuda, the man who helmed many of the films during Godzilla’s descent into children’s hero (and a few episodes of the Zone Fighter series!) Though he would still direct The War in Space and ESPy if you need some more Japanese scifi to track down.

By the time it showed up in the US in 1977, Cinema Shares International (who purchased the distribution rights) had renamed it Godzilla vs. Bionic Monster. That ticked off Universal, who said the title was too close to their TV show The Bionic Woman. Although laughable, Cinema Shares went the easy route and just retitled the film Godzilla vs. Cosmic Monster. By the time it showed up on VHS tape, the Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla name was reattached. And though I could drag out my old VHS copy from storage, instead take some remastered DVD action!

No matter how often they redesign the dollar coin, it will never catch on…

Keisuke Shimizu (Masaaki Daimon) – The elder Shimizu brother who helps defend Earth from those damn dirty space apes! Spends much of his time doubting that Saeko can do much of anything. Not afraid to fight aliens for long periods of time. Masaaki Daimon is also in 2009: Lost Memories and returns in Terror of Mechagodzilla as a different character.
Masahiko Shimizu (Kazuya Aoyama) – Zone Fighter??? What are you doing here? Okay, fine, I guess putting the actor in your monster TV series in your monster movie series makes sense. The younger Shimizu who spends time photographing things and finding space metal in caves.
Saeko Kanagusuku (Reiko Tajima) – A girl! She is not only a girl, but a woman who can translate archeological ruins (but not all the way!) and can’t be trusted to keep secrets. Because records of non-cult Japanese shows are dubious at best, Reiko Tajima seems to disappear after this film except for some anime voicework.
Professor Hideto Miyajima (Akihiko Hirata) – The actor who played Dr. Serizawa makes his required appearance in older Godzilla films. His pipe is partially made out of the fake metal astanopkaron (asutanopukaron if you’re Japanese!) because we needed to invent something weird to throw in that is barely used.
Professor Wagura (Hiroshi Koizumi) – Two brothers visit two different professors because that let’s us pack in many characters so we can shoot around their busy schedules! Professor Wagura can translate even better than Saeko, and that’s what he does. Hiroshi Koizumi also appears in Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S., Ghidorah the Three-Headed Monster, Godzilla vs. The Thing, Mothra, and Godzilla Raids Again
Godzilla (Isao Zushi) – You may have heard of this Godzilla guy…
Mechagodzilla (Ise Mori) – A Space Ape controlled mechanical double for Godzilla, with many powers and weapons, except the power to not lose to Godzilla.
King Caesar (Momoru Kusumi) – King Caesar lives in a cave and comes out every thousand years to beat up a monster. He’s really lazy.
Anguirus (Momoru Kusumi) – Anguirus shows up to get beat up by the evil fake Godzilla, to show he’s mean! Anguirus’s defeat is a message that this film ain’t going to be like Godzilla vs. Gigan or Godzilla vs. Megalon. No, this film will be a bit more darker, a bit more dangerous. And if any of you peeps think that Baragon was originally going to be in this film because Anguirus was digging, I hope you enjoy being wrong, because you are.
Space Aliens (Various) – People say these guys Space Monkey around! At least space monkeys are an improvement over cockroach aliens, but neither hold a candle (or a banana) to the Xilians.
Now hold still and pretend there aren’t wires attached to you!

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - April 5, 2012 at 2:51 pm

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Son of Godzilla (Review)

Son of Godzilla

aka Monster Island’s Decisive Battle: Godzilla’s Son aka Kaiju-shima no Kessen Gojira no Musuko

1967

Directed by Jun Fukuda

Hey, what the hell are you doing in my shower??

Son of Godzilla is a damn awesome film, but it is also a film that you pretty much need to see as a kid. Looking back on the film as an adult, there are plenty of things wrong, but there are plenty of things right. And as the waves of nostalgia wash over you, even the few problems you see melt away into the bliss of Minya. I can imagine people viewing this for the first times as adults, and much of the magic will be gone.

I still have the VHS tape of Son of Godzilla I bought with my own money as a small kid. I didn’t want to wait for the film to pop up on TBS’s Super Scary Saturday or the local station KLJB-TV which would sometimes show Godzilla movies during their Sunday “we gotta air SOMETHING!” programming. I watched that tape like crazy, it getting just as much play as Godzilla’s Revenge, Ghidrah, and a few other Godzilla flicks I watched religiously.

That’s right, baby. Not ten minutes old and chicks are lining up to serve me!

Minya was designed to appeal to kids, and it worked beautifully. He’s the ultimate lure to get kids even more excited to watch the monster films. It’s the same old gimmick as masked crimefighters having young kid sidekicks. Minya isn’t even the first monster kid, Kong had a son decades before Godzilla was even a reality. But Minya has stood the test of time and even survived a brief attempt to usurp him of his role as Godzilla’s son. Suck it, Godzilla Junior, you’re just a second rate extra from Dinosaurs!

Son of Godzilla features two other new monsters, Kumonga and Kamacuras, aka Speiga and Gimantis. Both are creepy bug monsters, preventing anyone becoming attached to them instead of Minya or Godzilla as the heroes. Sure, there are people who are into spiders and insects, and even Mothra is a hero, but the gut reaction of the bugs vs. the cute kid is obviously what they were going for.

Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!

Just FYI, I’m calling them Minya, Speiga, and Gimantis through the plot section. None of that Minilla, Kumonga, or Kamacuras crap. That’s because these are the names I grew up with. And this is my review, so I can do what I want! Nyeh nyeh nyeh!

The remote island location with the small science crew allows for some lower budget action. They realize they need a character to have everything explained to, so in airdrops the standard reporter character. Godzilla films need reporter and scientist characters, it is the peanut butter and chocolate on the kaiju bread. Despite many of the characters getting no lines and just wandering around in the background, some of them are pretty heavy hitters.

LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLadies!

So I did my best with the cast list, several of the researchers don’t really get names or personalities, so I played mix and match.

Maki Goro (Akira Kubo) – Goro has a stomach for news! He also has a stomach for picking up hot island chicks and getting in the middle of giant monster fights. I’ve meet Akira Kubo in real life because I’m awesome like that. Akira Kubo was also in such classics as Destroy All Monsters, Godzilla vs. Monster Zero, Matango, and Gorath
Reiko/Saeko Matsumiya (Bibari/Beverly Maeda) – Island girl Reiko has been alone on the island since her father, archeologist Tadashi Matsumiya, died years ago. She instantly takes a liking to Goro and about five minutes later has moved from jungle girl clothes to wearing Hawaiian shirts, white pants, and even a cute mod-inspired snow suit. Reiko is the English dub name and Saeko is the Japanese dub name.
Professor Kusumi (Tadao Takashima) – Professor likes his pipe, which would get him an R-rating in modern film. Dr. Kusumi is working on a plan to control the weather to help in food production. Tadao Takashima also appeared in 1993’s Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla, Frankenstein Conquers the World, Atragon, and King Kong vs. Godzilla.
Dr. Fujisaki (Akihiko Hirata) – Dr. Fujisaki is 2nd in command and Professor Kusumi’s friend. He comes up with most of the escape plans and fixes the radio. Akihiko Hirata has a history with Godzilla films all the way back to being Dr. Serizawa in the original Gojira. See him here in Godzilla, King of the Monsters!, Ghidrah, Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster, and Cozzilla
Furukawa (Yoshio Tsuchiya) – Furukawa is an angry guy who hates the island they are on, hates the hot weather, and hates everything ever that ever was or will be. He’s grumpier than Grumpy Smurf. Furukawa is also mentally unstable due to all the heat and later fevers he gets, which makes it odd that he’s running around armed most of the time. Yoshio Tsuchiya can be seen here in Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, Destroy All Monsters, Godzilla vs. Monster Zero, and Gigantis the Fire Monster.
Morio (Kenji Sahara) – Scientist who usually wears sunglasses and sees some of the important monster developments in the film. You can see Kenji Sahara in G History all the way back to the original Gojira to Godzilla Final Wars. See him on TarsTarkas.NET in Godzilla vs. The Thing, Ultra Q, Godzilla’s Revenge, Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla, and Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla.
Ozawa (Kenichiro Maruyama) – Kenichiro Maruyama is barely there in several films, including brief appearances as an islander in Godzilla vs the Sea Monster and as a Moon base employee in Destroy All Monsters.
Tashiro (Seishiro Kuno) – Tashiro has a brown shirt and shines a light on Reiko. That’s about it for his character. Seishiro Kuno is so barely in Godzilla vs. The Thing, you would think I am lying to you. But I am not and he is in it. Somewhere…
Suzuki (Yasuhiko Saijo) – Suzuki is another island member who did little and said less. Yasuhiko Saijo was Ippei in Ultra Q, also a henchman in Godzilla vs. Gigan. Isn’t it weird how 2/3rd of Ultra Q is trapped on this island? I’m just going to declare that Ultra Q takes place in the Godzillaverse.

Kaiju Roll Call!

Godzilla (Haruo Nakajima and Seiji Onaka) – Godzilla is the king of all monsters and the king of parental responsibility. When he isn’t taking a nap. Haruo Nakajima, who played Godzilla for years, was Big G during the first scenes done in the water, but later taller actor Seiji Onaka took over so Godzilla would look bigger than his son.
Minya (“Little Man” Machan) – Minya is the son of Godzilla who counts, unlike that other guy who sucks and we’re not going to mention his name ever again. But you know who you are. Try as I might, I can’t find any pictures of “Little Man” Machan, a little person wrestler who played Minya in all three movie appearances.
Gimantis/Kamacuras – Giant mantis who is mutated to be even gianter. Picks fights with Minya, Godzilla, and Speiga. Gets sucked bone dry.
Speiga/Kumonga – Spider monster that spends most of the film sleeping, the rest trying to eat the other monsters and people. Eventually learns no one messes with Godzilla.
Gimantis 2/Kamacuras 2 – Second Gimantis added for completeness sake. Gets burnt to a crisp.
Gimantis 3/Kamacuras 3 – Third Gimantis added for completeness sake. Gets fried to ashes.
I’m totally gonna Serve you, Gimantis! I see some haters grillin’ I see some ladies chillin’ I see that girlie I’ve been plottin’ to get She can hop in the whip And we can Pump p p Pump Pump it up

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - March 13, 2011 at 12:14 am

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Cozzilla (Review)

Cozzilla

aka Godzilla, il re dei mostri

1977

Directed by Ishiro Honda and Terry O. Morse (USA)
Italian rearrangement and direction by Luigi Cozzi

cozzilla
Godzilla, il re dei mostri (hence after known as Cozzilla) began life long ago as 1954’s Gojira. After becoming a box office hit in Japan, the film was recut for America with scenes added starring Raymond Burr (at that time relatively unknown.) Godzilla, King of the Monsters proved to be a hit in America as well. Sequels were spawned, a franchise was born, and new Godzilla films were being produced 50 years later. The US cut of Gojira is not the only overseas modified version. Another one has gained some fame for the many odd alterations done to it. Writer/director Luigi Cozzi is a big fan of Godzilla, wrote a book about Big G, and is even nicknamed Cozzilla by his friends. Cozzi is best known here for being the director/Writer of Star Crash, Contamination, and the Lou Ferrigno Hercules movies, as well as the writer of Devil Fish (featured on MST3K.) None of those films are known for their stellar plots or special effects, but instead their cheese and terribleness. Here, one finds that even with a great movie base to work off of, you can ruin a final product.

Cozzi set out to share with Italy the great monster film, but he knew he would have to alter it for Italian audiences. In 1977, no one went to black and white films, thus Cozzi set up an elaborate colorization process known as Spectrorama 70. Colored gels were set behind frames of the film, oversaw by Armando Valcauda. New music cues were put together by Alberto Moro to go with the altered length of the film. Scenes were chopped out, and much new footage was added, but mostly World War II stock shots of bombed cities, weapons firing, and dead bodies. Yes, actual dead bodies. Also, a shark fights an octopus from The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms towards the end.

The only known copy of this film is a VHS tape that had direct footage from a 16mm print (complete with reel announces.) As the tape was old, parts of it are choppy, and it appears to cut off abruptly at the end. wtfFILM got a hold of a copy of the tape and helped allow the world to see it, first by providing DVDRs and then uploading the film to Google Video. You can see the film here with their review. Some of the background information mentioned here was revealed there, and they even subtitled the movie themselves! As of this writing the store is closed, but hopefully it will be open soon, he has some other neat stuff around (including a trailer I saw for a restored version of Cozilla, which looks like it might be re-color-altered from Godzilla KOTM DVDs! Maybe that will get compelted soon and we can have a real treat!)

cozzilla
Godzilla has always been an allegory about the dangers of the atomic bomb, even when he was dashing out of a cave to save TV hero Zone Fighter (okay, maybe not then) but this version of the film takes that to an extreme level. It is so extreme, I was expecting the film to be chugging Mt. Dew and snowboarding out of airplanes into a volcano. It is a depressing kind of extreme, as Godzilla turns into an indictment of war and the human race in general. Thanks to the ample WW2 stock footage, we see far too many real dead bodies for anyone’s taste. Sure, the original film was about the horrors of the atomic bomb, but they didn’t make you want to go curl up in a hole and cry. Talk about brushing your teeth with a shotgun! Thankfully, the VHS quality and the Spectorama 70 color bleed takes the wind out of the sails on some of the images’ graphic details.

The overall use of the color does some nice work setting the atmosphere of the film at times. Godzilla’s attack and the Tokyo destruction are shown as bright red, and makes it violent, chaotic, and tragic at the same time. I enjoyed that choice of color, but at other times the random blues, greens, and yellows seemed to be chosen haphazardly. Some of the screenshots will just look odd because of that. I tried to make many of the shots identical to the ones in the Godzilla, King of the Monsters review, so you can flip between them and see how the color made them different (ignoring the obvious difference in video quality.) In addition, I threw in new shots of the older altered movie and the new inserted footage. As we go along the plot, I’ll point out what differs, and copy over some of the similarities, as the basic story is the same.

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2 comments - What do you think?
Posted by Tars Tarkas - April 24, 2007 at 1:57 am

Categories: Movie Reviews, Ugly   Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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