Posts tagged "Akira Takarada"

Ironfinger 2: Golden Eye

Ironfinger 2: Golden Eye

aka 100発100中 黄金の眼 aka Hyappatsu hyakuchu: Ogon on me aka 100 Shot, 100 Killed: Golden Eye aka Booted Babe, Busted Boss
Ironfinger 2 Golden Eye
1968
Written by Jun Fukuda, Ei Ogawa, and Michio Tsuzuki
Directed by Jun Fukuda

Ironfinger 2 Golden Eye
Ironfinger 2: Golden Eye returns to the world of Ironfinger. We have international criminals, jet setting fun, and a hero who is invincible kicking butt. As usual, the title changed for overseas export. 100 Shot, 100 Killed: Golden Eye became Ironfinger 2: Golden Eye, though in some locales it was turned into Booted Babe, Busted Boss! Those poor saps… The “Golden Eye” of the title betrays more of the Bond influence, for the few who couldn’t figure it out from the Ironfinger part, or for the Japanese audience. This is the last outing of Andrew Hoshino, so cry your tears now and then read all about it.
Ironfinger 2 Golden Eye
The tone is slightly altered in that Andrew Hoshino’s organization is hinted to be more criminal in nature, though Andrew himself is given a few more noble things to do. He’s pulled in under the story of avenging the murder of a Japanese citizen upon request of his young daughter. It turns into a quest to find the missing rare Samanta Gold coin, though that is just part of a bigger economic criminal conspiracy.

Golden Eye features world locations,Besides Japan, the opening of the film is in Beirut! This may seem amazing to modern audiences that anyone would spend time in Beirut, but things weren’t always the way they are now. Another thing Ironfinger 2 has is sheiks in blackface (also seen in Yellow Line). The characters are played by Japanese actors, but are painted up dark brown and treated as if they’re foreign. Both a good police officer and several of the villains feature this treatment. Also both of the Ironfinger films feature big boss villains who are Caucasian, though both are European in origin. I would guess this is to show both that the Japanese hero can defeat anyone in the world, including what would be considered traditional Bond villains, and that Japanese people can’t be the big villain because they aren’t evil, and it’s people outside their culture affecting their life.

A highlight of these Ironfinger films is the killer 1960s clothing. Every outfit Bibari Maeda wears is spectacular. The cool clothes help make the fun lifestyle easier to accept, as they’re dressed just like cool people, so they would naturally do cool things.
Ironfinger 2 Golden Eye
Andrew Hoshino has a pair of women to deal with, though his darker affiliation is reveal again as bad girl Ruby is who he is paired with the most, Mistuko Saito functions as a catalyst to get the plot to the various locations, but she’s far too busy being a star to drop everything to run around with a playboy spy. Freelance bad girl Ruby easily slips into this role, her various connections with Andrew happening frequently

The far more complicated plot deals with economic problems of late 1960s Japan, hidden treasure, and even a hint of environmentalism thrown in. The whole thing hinges on a missing rare gold coin, but the real crime is wholesale precious metals smuggling used to hold hostage parts of Japan’s economy. It seems like it should be a modern film, the economic battle having played out in a modified form in real life. Golden Eye thankfully just uses that as backdrop and keeps the focus on the missing rare coin, giving audiences who don’t understand complex economic issues something to follow, while those who are aware have an insight into why the villains have so many high powered goons.

Andrew Hoshino (Akira Takarada) – The mystery man is back and just wanders into the big trouble this time. Little is explained of who he is or who the mysterious Mama is (and the subtitles didn’t realize it should be Mama and not mother!) If anything, less is known, because he’s still using the Andrew Hoshino identity that he picked up in the last film.
Ruby (Beverly/Bibari Maeda) – Information broker and knife expert hired by Stonefeller to assist, but she’s playing her own game. Continually runs into Andrew Hoshino. Beverly Maeda is best known in the West for her role in Son of Godzilla. She also put out albums and her son is Claude Maki, a surfer/actor/rapper.
Mitsuko Saito (Tomomi Sawa) – Singer and race enthusiast, returning to Japan in an attempt to gain fortune and glory. Instead, finds murder and rich killers, but somehow gets through it all with only a few scratches. Tomomi Sawa was a singer who was in a scattering of films and tv shows before disappearing into the ether.
Detective Ryuta Tezuka (Makoto Sato) – The good detective returns, now a member of an international police force and doing work in Beirut. Has been recast from Ichiro Arishima to Makato Sato, and he plays the part more as a tougher detective than the unassuming Tezuka of the prior film.
Stonefeller (Andrew Hughes) – The bad boss who in search of missing rare gold coin treasure in the midst of his other illegal activities. His precious mineral supply manipulation attracts the attention of international police, but it’s the rare gold coin that brings him down. Is blind, but uses a powerful microphone to know what is going on. Andrew Hughes pops up in more Japanese cinema than you would believe, including the amazing The Golden Bat.
Sinbad (A good doggy!) – Sinbad is Stonefeller’s loyal pooch, who is sadly left behind in Beirut and will have to find a new master as his meets an unfortunate ending. A sad tale for poor Sinbad.

Ironfinger 2 Golden Eye
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - September 27, 2013 at 9:53 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.

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

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Akira Takarada will be in Legendary's Godzilla!

Akira Takarada Gareth Edwards Godzilla
It has been revealed via Twitter that Akira Takarada will be in the new Legendary Picture’s Godzilla film! If you don’t know how Akira Takarada is, then you must not have paid attention to the many many Godzilla films he was in, most notably the original Gojira, as well as the last Godzilla film, Final Wars. Takarada’s scene was completed on the first day of filming, and director Gareth Edwards has said it will help thematically connect the new film to the original Godzilla films.

The new Godzilla film releases May 16, 2014, and stars Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Ken Watanabe, Elizabeth Olsen, Juliette Binoche, David Strathairn, and everyone’s favorite, Bryan Cranston.

via SocialNewsDaily

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - March 28, 2013 at 10:18 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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Posted by Tars Tarkas - April 24, 2007 at 1:57 am

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Godzilla vs. Mothra (Review)

Godzilla vs. Mothra

aka Godzilla vs. the Thing aka Mosura tai Gojira

1964

Starring
Akira Takarada as News Reporter Ichiro Sakai
Yuriko Hoshi as News Photographer Junko ‘Yoka’ Nakanishi
Hiroshi Koizumi as Professor Miura
Yu Fujiki as Reporter Jiro Nakamura (with egg and frying pan)
Emi Ito as Shobijin (Twin Fairy)
Yumi Ito as Shobijin (Twin Fairy)
Yoshifumi Tajima as Kumayama
Kenji Sahara as Banzo Torahata

Super Scary Saturday is in the HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOUSE! Not House, MD, your house! Our house! It’s a very very very fine house, with two cats in the yard… Seriously, it’s time once again for a Godzilla movie, as March of Godzilla heads to the penultimate recap, and it’s a Super Scary Saturday version once again, as Grandpa Munster is there to guide us through! This time Godzilla is fighting Mothra in a battle that is battle-ish. Or something. This is pre-good guy Godzilla. Godzilla is still bad, still stomping the people for a pastime. In this version, they ramp up his lizardness, redesigning his head to make him more lizard-looking and more sinister-looking. Mothra makes her first appearance since her own movie, and the Twin Shobijin fairies played by the Peanuts are along for the ride. This is the American dub, complete with a scene filmed only for the US version.



Super! Scary! Saturday! It’s Super Scary Saturday, in case you missed the dozen other times I mentioned it and the big pictures. Grandpa Munster opens singing Zippity do dah! before beginning the standard “It’s me, Grandpa!” Grandpa walks in, with a baseball glove in hand, suddenly stops in his tracks! He says “What is this?” All of his friends are lounging around sleeping and being lazy. Slim the Skeleton is lying down flat on his back. Grandpa tells him to “shake a leg” and he does.

Next up, Grandpa asks mannequin Deadra if she’s going to spend all day filing her nails, which are ten penny nails which she is filing down with a metal file. Explaining this pun takes all the life out of it. Grandpa skips over Fang, who’s also sleeping but just woke up, to see Igor the bat asleep on his bed. Grandpa says Igor was more fun during the Black Plague! “Actually, the Black Plague was a lot of laughs…” Finally, Grandpa says the group needs to “shape up or ship out!” Grandpa will introduce….Grandpa-cise! What’s Grandpa-cise? We’ll find out in the next host segment. Until then, it’s time for the main show…Godzilla vs. Mothra!!!


We open in a storm, like so many Godzilla films. Well, at least Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster. Instead of wrecking a boat, we gets lots of shots of model sets being blown over. It’s like Hurricane Katrina, Japanese Model Version! Look out, Newu Oreansu! Actually, it’s Hurricane Abe, as the dialogue will tell us later. Areas of Japan are ruined, and Reporter Ichiro Sakai and his rookie photographer Junko Nakanishi arrive to survey the scene. Ichiro Sakai is played by Godzilla favorite Akira Takarada, who starred both in the first Gojira all the way to the last one (but not all of them in between.) Photographer Junko Nakanishi is played by actress Yuriko Hoshi, who will be playing almost the same role in the next film Ghidrah, except as a stronger woman character. She doesn’t return to the world of Big G until 2000’s Godzilla X Megaguirus. Her character has the nickname Yoka, so that’s what we’ll be calling her in the synopsis. Reporter Sakai has made some enemies, most notably the loudmouth mayor of the coastal city that was trashed by the hurricane. He boasts that their development project will be on schedule despite what Sakai wrote, thanks to their industrial-strength water pumps. Mr. Loudmouth Mayor fails to reveal how much these things cost, or why he’s wasting money on that instead of providing aid relief. I’d like to think that in the US he’d get run out on a rail, but we still have 99% of the Katrina idiots in charge, so we’d probably give him a medal as people starve.



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Posted by Tars Tarkas - April 28, 2006 at 3:26 am

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Godzilla vs. Monster Zero (Review)

Godzilla vs. Monster Zero

aka Monster Zero aka Kaiju daisenso

1965

Starring
Nick Adams as Astronaut Glenn
Akira Takarada as Astronaut K. Fuji
Jun Tazaki as Dr. Sakurai
Akira Kubo as Tetsuo Teri
Kumi Mizuno as Miss Namikawa
Keiko Sawai as Haruno Fuji
Yoshio Tsuchiya as Controller of Planet X
Directed by Ishiro Honda


Celebrate! Celebrate! Super Station TBS! Duh duh DUH! It’s…..SUPER SCARY SATURDAY!!! Yes, once again, we got a blast from the past, a dust off of the Old School, to educate the New School of what was cool. Grandpa Munster is here to host us another Super Scary Saturday Edition of a TarsTarkas.NET review of a Godzilla movie for our March of Godzilla spectacular that’s in it’s second month. Previously, we had Ghidrah the Three Headed Monster as Grandpa hosted it for us. Now, the sequel is here, and Grandpa Munster is still there to guide us through. This hosting has a plot, several longer host segments, and doesn’t mention the movie by name. This could mean it was used on multiple movies, or for last minute changed movies, as the other Super Scary Saturday movies I have (or at least the other two I remember) both have skits involving the specific movie.

The main feature is Godzilla vs. Monster Zero, aka Monster Zero, aka Kaiju daisenso. The television version is full screen, and calls it GvMZ, while a DVD version I have is widescreen, and under the title of just Monster Zero. Try to guess which screenshots are from the TV and which the DVD, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Monster Zero was the first direct nod to the international appeal of Godzilla, where they just stuck an American in the middle of the film from the beginning, instead of waiting for the international distributors to do it for them. Said American is Nick Adams, or NICK ADAMS as he has a gigantic credit before the opening title. Nick Adams (born Nicholas Aloysius Adamschock — seriously!) went on to…drink himself to death! I mean he died of a drug overdose. Well, he was a big name, getting an Oscar nomination for Twilight of Honor, and spent a ton of money trying to advertise that he should win it, and was robbed. Then, he went to Japan to make some Toho films, and began an illicit affair with costar Kumi Mizuno, who later dropped him. And then he died, showing that Kumi Mizuno is that good of a woman. Oh, he was married at the time, and still married when he died. We’ll talk about the rest of the stars when they pop up in the film, as well as more Nick Adams information. What Nick Adams represents was paving the way for more Western actors in Godzilla films. It’s also interesting to see how he’s portrayed, giving you a glimpse of 1965 Japan’s impression of Americans.

So let’s sit right back and we’ll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip. It started on this wacky island, aboard this tiny ship. The mate was a mighty American, the Skipper, brave but Japanese. Two Monsters were passengers later for a two hour movie, a two hour movie. The space-weather started getting rough, and the tiny ship was tossed. If not for the courage of Godzilla, King Ghidrah would return, King Ghidrah would return.

Okay, sorry about that. Let’s get it on, Super Scary Saturday-style!

The monsters roar, the wolves howl, the aliens zap, and the lady screams…it’s the Super Scary Saturday logo commercial! It’s our introduction, and we start right away, with…Grandpa Munster! “It’s me, Grandpa!” I love Grandpa Munster. Grandpa is spraying his castle for bugs “I’m nothing if not thorough!” Grandpa asks Igor for the mail (Igor is the rubber bat on a string seen in several episodes) and Igor drops a whole pile of mail on Grandpa like tribbles raining down on Captain Kirk. “You’d think that just once he’d place it in my hand” Grandpa mutters. The first piece Grandpa opens is…a paper fan! Yes…it’s Fan Mail!!! HAHahahahahahaha!! The second piece Grandpa stumbles across is a letter from one of his “dearly departed wives,” it’s an invitation to a party. A party Tonight! “Igor! This is postmarked 100 years ago!” It seems Igor was using it as a coaster, “That Igor is going to drive me batty!”

Grandpa RSVPs via a cobweb covered phone. His departed wife is named Emma Baumy and she tells him it’s a costume party. Grandpa says he’d “love to drop in for a bite!” Grandpa knows what he’ll go as…the perfect man! But he needs help from his magic spellbook, so while he looks at that, we “look at this.” (No movie title given.) So we jump right in to..


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Posted by Tars Tarkas - April 18, 2006 at 3:46 am

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