Posts tagged "Hiroyuki Sanada"

47 Ronin

47 Ronin

47 Ronin
2013
Written by Chris Morgan and Hossein Amini
Story by Chris Morgan & Walter Hamada
Directed by Carl Rinsch

47 Ronin

Oishi looked and saw a horrible edit job that brought dishonor to his clan


47 Ronin becomes the final financial disaster of 2013, schizophrenic mess of a picture that manages to be offensive on several levels while not having the simple decency to be entertaining (either good or bad) and sits mired in the muck of mediocrity. An untested director was suddenly given stacks of cash to make a big budget effects movie, and quickly things fell apart. After the studio stepped in, things somehow got more confusing. In the end, the only people happy are people who get happy when dumb things happen.
47 Ronin

Michael Jackson!


The 47 Ronin is a classic tale of true Japanese history that has enough events going on that a straight adaptation would easily work as a mainstream film, and has before. In fact, the 47 Ronin has be adapted so often there is even a term for genre that is the various adaptations of the work – Chushingura. Due to censorship laws, the original plays featured altered names and events, and some retellings are stylized adaptations that mix myth and history. A 300-style adaptation is not out of the bounds of accepted reality, and I do not fault the film for trying that angle, it could have been interesting had it been applied correctly. Dragons, strange beasts, golems, witches, bird people, ogres, and magic swords are elements of many successful films. But it is not to be.
47 Ronin

Good thing Kai and Oishi tricked those trolls into staying out until sunrise!


Reeves plays a half-Japanese half-British character who is raised by the Lord Asano, Kai is entirely made up and shoehorned into the story. From the narrative it’s clear Reeves wasn’t the original star and has had scenes added on, while Hiroyuki Sanada’s character Oishi is either ignored or suddenly the focus during random scenes. That disrupts an already cluttered tale simplified down for mainstream audiences, gives no characters enough development to give them dramatic weight, and many things simply happen for reasons never explained. The official story is new director Carl Rinsch originally had even less of Keanu Reeves, and was forced to do reshoots to beef of the role. The hints of studio interference are obvious – Reeves’ Kai suddenly had a love interest (the Princess Mika), was inserted into the final battle fighting a dragon (more on this in a bit), and spends a lot of the running time looking at other events.
47 Ronin

At least she takes good care of her teeth!


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Posted by Tars Tarkas - December 31, 2013 at 12:33 am

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

Legend of Eight Samurai (Review)

Legend of Eight Samurai

aka Satomi hakken-den

1983
Directed by Kinji Fukasaku

A classic Japanese tale gets a reworking and then is dubbed and imported into America. Like many Asian epics, there are a lot of characters and a complicated plot, which is made more confusing with the bad dubbing. Even worse, this is an adaptation of an epic tale that is condensed into a film so huge chunks of back story are either disregarded or glossed over in less than a sentence. Any movie boasting giant centipedes is worth a look. Unfortunately, the 80’s soundtrack does a wonderful job of dating the film, despite it being a period piece. Originally I thought that the songs were added by the American importers, but with the release of the Japanese language original since I originally wrote this review over a year ago, it has become known that the songs where already added in the original version. It’s a deadly blow, imagine the worst of hair bands and love ballads, more deadly than any martial art. The film loses some of the fun factor as the emotion turns to hating the soundtrack. This version of Legend of Eight Samurai that we are recapping is the full screen original American dub, one day we will try to get a hold of the Japanese widescreen version for comparison.

The story is a Japanese mythology that originated in China (like many things Japanese, including the Japanese writing scripts (the kanas are simplified versions of the kanji they “borrowed” from China.) The story of a princess, the last of her clan, given eight warriors to protect her, selected without their knowledge. Magic crystals are found by those selected, the crystals created by a dog (thus giving the story its name:Hakkenden or “Dog Warriors.”) Each crystal has a different Confucian virtue, which is only used in this film as the kanji symbol on each crystal (we have gone through the trouble of translating each one.) Takizawa Okikuni (also known as Kyokutei Bakin or Takizawa Bakin) created the version used in this film from 1814 to 1842 (Edo era) a 106 volume story called Nanso Satomi Hakkenden that took 28 years to complete. Almost as long as the Wheel of Time series is taking. The serial was then updated in 1982 by Toshio Kamata in a novel called Shin Satomi Hakkenden. Many of the stars are part of the Japanese Action Squad, a group founded by Sonny Chiba that practiced martial arts and seemed to star in many movies together. In fact, they previously starred in a futuristic version of this very same tale called Message From Space over here (Uchu kara no messeji in Japan) that even featured the same director!


These are the eight who have Confucian Virtue Jewels:

Daikaku (Minori Terada) – (Gi – Duty or Justice.) Loyal sidekick to Dosetsu, hides Princess Shizu at his mother’s house, only to find his mother has been replaced. Killed in the final battle.
Dosetsu (Sonny Chiba) – (Chuu – Loyalty.)Sonny Chiba gained massive fame from the original Streetfighter film, and had a long career before and after, with many ups and downs. His recent inclusion in the first Kill Bill rocketed him back to fame, and lead to many of his films being released again in better editions. Has been seen here before in Sister Streetfighter, which also stars another of this movie’s actors. Killed in the final battle.
Shino (Masaki Kyomoto) – Brother of his sister (well, duh!) who just happens to be in love with his sister (not blood sister) but as she is getting married it is impossible for him. Until her groom-to-be is killed, but then their forbidden love results in her death and his revenge upon his family. Eventually given a crystal and ends up dead in the final battle. (Kou – Filial devotion/piety.) Played Ryo in Cutie Honey.
Female Assassin Keno (Etsuko Shiomi) – An assassin who disrupts Shino’s sister’s wedding in order to kill the groom. Eventually gets a crystal as well. (Rei – Knowledge traditional/proper form. I think they may have altered her kanji character.) Killed in the final battle by a killer who was hounding her the entire movie. Etsuko Shiomi became famous after the Sister Streetfighter films, and was Japan’s only all-around female action star. She retired after marrying singer Tsuyoshi Nagabuchi and now runs marathons under her married name, refusing interviews about her action star career.
Soldier (Kenji Oba?) – A servent of the demons who kills for them, before given a crystal because of his disgust for what he is forced to do. Killed in the final battle. I believe the soldier is played by Kenji Oba (who is credited as Genpachi in the credits.) Kenji Oba was another Japanese Action Club member who also starred in Kill Bill recently. (Shin – Faith.)
Kid (??) – Some kid who lives in a cave with a Big Dude. He gets a crystal, making him awfully close to Kenny territory. Luckily he doesn’t say or do much at all. Killed in the final battle. (Chi – Wisdom.)
Big Dude (??) – A Big Dude who lives in a cave, where there is also a kid. Both he and the Kid are basically tacked on and don’t do much. Not much except die in the final battle. (Tei – Brotherly affection.)
Shinbei (Hiroyuki Sanada) – Shinbei is a punk kid who goes around pretending he is a swashbuckler until he finds out the Princess has a reward on her head, then tries to capture her repeatedly. Eventually forced to be evil, then gets his own crystal after he dies but returns to life and has sex with Princess Shizu. You’ve heard of STD? Well, that was STC, Sexually Transmitted Crystal! Not killed in the final battle. (Jin – Sympathy, inclusive of all virtues. Jin is the top virtue in Confucianism, thus the main hero gets it.)

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - August 13, 2007 at 11:24 pm

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

The Promise (Review)

The Promise

aka Wu ji

2005
Starring
Jang Dong-Kun as Kunlun
Hiroyuki Sanada as General Guangming
Cecilia Cheung as Princess Qingcheng
Nicholas Tse as Duke Wuhuan
Liu Ye as Snow Wolf (Ghost Wolf)
Chen Hong as Goddess Manshen
Qian Cheng as The Emperor
Directed by Chen Kaige

Chen Kaige brings you the most expensive film in Chinese history, with a budget of 282,572,490 Yuan ($35 Million.) Does this increase in budget bring us a film far superior to many to exit China? The answer is sadly no. What should be an outstanding film with beautiful images instead becomes an example in mediocrity, a living example that more money does not make a better film, something that Hollywood should be learning for the past 10 years, but somehow isn’t picking up. The Promise reminds me of the lyrics of Linkin Park’s In The End: “I tried so hard and got so far, but in the end it doesn’t even matter.” Now before I scare all of you off with more Linkin Park lyrics, let me explain myself. This movie tries to be a great Chinese epic, and tries to be a beautiful film, and tries to be an international success. But in the end, all of that is for naught, because the film isn’t well written. The main weakness is with the story, and following that, the special effects the story tried to portray. I’m used to bad CGI in films, but in something that’s supposed to be a beautiful epic the results are jarring, looking cartoonish and pulling you out of the fantasy element into the world of Bugs Bunny.


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Posted by Tars Tarkas - May 17, 2006 at 12:15 am

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

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