Dead Sushi

Dead Sushi

aka デッド寿司 aka Deddo Sushi
Dead Sushi
Written by Noboru Iguchi, Makiko Iguchi, and Jun Tsugita
Directed by Noboru Iguchi

Dead Sushi

Summing up Dead Sushi in one picture!

Dead Sushi combines two of my favorite things from low budget Japanese cinema – Rina Takeda and Noboru Iguchi! While I wish these two combined to make something amazing, Dead Sushi turns out to just be above average. While certainly a lot better than either of the prior Iguchi and Takeda films I have seen (Zombie Ass and Kunoichi), Dead Sushi suffers from trying to be too many things. Sure, it’s got zombies, killer sushi, and face kicking, but there is also a big lecture on the proper way to make, eat, and appreciate sushi. Dead Sushi takes as much from Jiro Dreams of Sushi as it does from Machine Girl or High-Kick Girl! Unfortunately, they drag the movie down to a more average range.
Dead Sushi

Finally a movie that isn’t afraid to spit the truth!

The two main attractions to Dead Sushi are the gore effects and the choreography. First – the gore effects are okay, but not so different from what we’ve seen before. The humor comes from the instigators of this gore, living sushi pieces that talk gibberish and fly through the air, skeletonizing people. After the gimmick wears off, Dead Sushi gives us zombies to allow for some actual fighting against something other than CGI and puppets. While zombies are overused and boring (despite these zombies spitting up rice!), the occasional fights against CGI sushi have their fun, and remind me of Birdemic.
Dead Sushi

Why you should never eat cheap take-out rice!

The choreography is less disappointing, and is what you should seek out Dead Sushi for. Rina Takeda’s Keiko is a sushi apprentice to her father, the sushi chef skills giving her karate skills because that’s just how it works. There is some kicking and punching of sushi pieces out of the air, and later some battles against ineffectual zombies. Dead Sushi then shakes things up with Kentaro Shimazu running around with a giant fish head and a gianter axe to battle Rina Takeda, while the one good piece of sushi – Eggy – does battle with a giant CGI sushi battleship. The fights keep you entertained, whoever the stunt guy for Kentaro Shimazu is matches well with Rina Takeda’s moves, giving us nice fighting to entertain the people. Bread and circuses. Or Sushi and Zombies.
Dead Sushi

Shaming the shameless

Keiko (Rina Takeda) – Daughter of a great sushi master, who is angry that she was a girl and thus inferior at making sushi. She runs away in anger, taking a job as a hostess at a hotel. The years of practice at making sushi has honed her skills at fighting, and also given her admirable sushi skills that are recognized by Mr. Sawada. Keiko is also known to lecture on proper sushi etiquette, showing she was paying attention to all her father’s teachings.
Yamada (Kentaro Shimazu) – What seems to be just a homeless guy is actually the former head of new medicine development at Komatsu Pharmaceutical, the company that comes to dine at the hotel for their famous sushi. His project on bringing dead sea life back to life was cancelled, but not without the side effects of turning him into a zombie lord, and he unleashes the infection at the hotel. Evolves into a fishhead form.
Nosaka (Takamasa Suga) – A good guy who isn’t that good, secretly knows what’s going on as the whole outbreak is part of his own sick experiments for Komatsu Pharmaceutical. But the worm will turn…
Yumi Hanamaki (Asami Sugiura) – Hostess at the hotel who worked hard to gain her position, and also married the new owner. Is cheating on her husband Mr. Hanamaki (Takashi Nishina) with arrogant sushi chef Tsuchida.
Mr. Sawada (???) – Nice guy at work, was an arrogant sushi chef at the inn until he accidentally stabbed his wife and became knifephobic.
Eggy (himself) – an egg sushi that is spurned by all the seafood-based sushi, Eggy turns good and uses his acid egg juice squirting ability to aid Keiko and Mr. Sawada.

Dead Sushi

Better than the movie Battleship!

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Kunoichi (Review)


aka Kunoichi Ninja Girl

Directed and written by Seiji Chiba

A woman working the fields and tending to her baby is ganked by a neck rope thrown by an unseen kidnapper. Thus is the world of Kunoichi!

As you probably know by now, TarsTarkas.NET is a fan of martial arts films, particularly female martial artists. And as Rina Takeda is one of the up and coming women taking the films to the new decade, we’ve been following her career closely. From High-Kick Girl! to KG – Karate Girl, Takeda has matured as an actress and martial artist. And Takeda has taken on more and more projects, keeping herself busy. But Kunoichi is a step back in the quality department, and I was disappointed at the final project.

Kunoichi is marketed as a period martial arts piece. We know it won’t be a giant spectacle, and I fully expect a low-budget affair. It’s set in the woods, a familiar place for fans of low budget films, as that way they have an excuse for no extras running around. And permits are easier to get for running around in the middle of nowhere (if they even bothered!) But Kunoichi is surprising in how low budget it looks and feels. It’s a martial arts film with barely any martial arts. That’s not what I signed up for! The only decent fight is around the 40 minute mark, and is over with 10 minutes to go on our hour-long film. Besides a few teases of fighting and some kicking, there is little else, and nothing that is choreographed for more than one move. Disappointing is an understatement.

Stop for me, it’s the CLAW!

Director Seiji Chiba has put out numerous low budget films in recent years. Alien vs Ninja garnered some praise, and probably made funding of Kunoichi easier. But while Alien vs Ninja was a mix of comedy and action, Kunoichi is stoically serious in tone. You don’t get the sense that anyone is having fun here, and that hurts the film as well. I don’t expect Giggles Ninja Girl, but one or two goofy things wouldn’t have hurt.

And once again, we don’t need no stinking subtitles!

Kisaragi (Rina Takeda) – She’s just a Koga clan ninja getting kidnapped and then killing the kidnappers after a while. No hurry.
Shimotsuki (Mitsuki Koga) – The serious Iga clan kidnapper who is good at martial arts and dressing for his gig on The Black Pearl. Mistuki Koga is an accomplished martial artist who has appeared and done stunt work in many films, including Godzilla, Mothra, Mechagodzilla: Tokyo S.O.S.
Hizuki (Masanori Mimoto) – An Iga clan braggart and annoying kidnapper, who gets kicked in the head many many many times until he is dead. DEAD. Spoilers.
A Mysterious Man (Yuichi Sato) – This guy just shows up and frees the women, then starts goofing around and giving women to some Leprosy Guy. He’s like an internet troll in real life. What a jerk! There is frustratingly little about Yuichi Sato the actor online, except he might be part of a boy band called PureBoys. That name sounds too perverted to be used in the States, even though it’s probably the most vanilla thing ever.
Leprosy Guy (Kentaro Shimazu) – This crazy Leprosy Guy just gotta hump! Doesn’t matter who or what. OF course, he turns out to be B-movie mainstay Kentaro Shimazu. Why wouldn’t he be? See him also in Machine Girl, RoboGeisha, and Mutant Girls Squad.

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Mutant Girls Squad (Review)

Mutant Girls Squad

aka Sento shojo: Chi no tekkamen densetsu

Directed by Noboru Iguchi, Yoshihiro Nishimura, and Tak Sakaguchi

Is that all you got, movie?

So I’ll just copy the background of this pretty much directly from the ad material: Tak Sakaguichi (star of Versus), Noboru Iguchi (director of The Machine Girl and Robogeisha), and Yoshihiro Nishimura (tons of effects work and director on Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl and Tokyo Gore Police) got together in 2009’s New York Asian Film Festival, got drunk, and vowed to combine their efforts Voltron-style into one super movie. And here is the fruits of their blood-splattered loins. As those three are masters of the hip new subgenre of Japanese Ultragore, one expects this X-Men-ish flick to be the reddest thing under the sun. Imagine the worst oil spills known to man, only the black crude is instead red goo, and you know what to expect. And Mutant Girls Squad delivers on that effect.

But besides the blood spurting out like the lawn sprinklers at the local driving range, does Mutant Girls Squad deliver on the one thing I want, which is an entertaining film. And I declare that yes, Mutant Girls Squad is entertaining! I actually like it the most of all the gore flicks I have seen so far save The Machine Girl. The characters are more developed than usual, the storyline is a bit more detailed, and it looks like the three directors decided to try to outdo each other with fancier, technical shots.

Trumpy, you can do magic!

At this point having seen movies with girls with machine gun arms, girls with machine gun butts, swords coming out from butts, missing limbs being used as boomerangs, characters turning into mechanical monstrosities, every adult male being insanely perverted, and side characters being simply yelling people in wacky costumes, it takes a little more to make me take notice. Sure, you have a chainsaw coming out of your butt, but as you aren’t fighting a woman with flamethrower breasts I am not jumping for joy. Some of the characters are imaginative, including the girl with a weird mutant head best friend (which is sadly barely touched on) and the not-so secret final form of the Astro-Mutant.

There will be spoilers below, but we’ll not reveal every little detail, though probably enough that if you care you should hold off. We’re not going to point out every cameo and reused actor and actress from previous outings by these directors, as not only would that double the length of this review, it would be embarrassing when I missed like 4 or 5 of them. So we’ll only point out the highlights and let you know now there is plenty of interesting things to see if you pay attention.

Yeah, yeah, we’ve all gone through that phase of life where we have a giant cannon arm and was turned into a robot.

Rin (Yumi Sugimoto) – Our heroine is just a girl who a mutant arm who slaughters dozens of people because normal humans hate and despise her. Then she gets involved with the Mutant Underground and has to fight them as well. Yumi Sugimoto is a model, singer, and actress in such work as the tokusatsu series Engine Sentai Go-onger
Rei (Yuko Takayama) – Rei was sold to a freakshow as a child, and a boy loved her, but he was killed. She can grow a bird carapace and is a good fighter and tough girl. Yuko Takayama is a model and actress who also has a part in the tokusatsu movie Masked Rider Den-o Trilogy The Movie Episode Blue
Yoshie (Suzuka Morita) – The sweet member of the Mutant Girls Squad who breaks out the tentacles when duty calls. Usually dressed as a nurse. Why? Why not! Suzuka Morita has also gone tokusatsu in the series Samurai Sentai Shinkenger. It must be a requirement to be on a tokusatsu show if you’re a model.
Kisaragi (Tak Sakaguchi) – Kisaragi is the Hiruko (mutant) leader who cross-dresses (or is supposed to be a girl, I am not sure) and worships almighty Izanami. Mr. Director! How do all you Versus fanboys like this? I’m not sure this character could get any creepier. Actually, he could if he was a member of Fred Phelps’ church…
Astro-Mutant (Maki Mizui) – Maki Mizui is an AV star and has been Noboru Iguchi’s assistant since at lease The Machine Girl. Fanatical member of the Hiruko group who supports her leader. Miki Mizui’s AV films are some sort of disturbing genre that I don’t know the name of, but since it’s Japanese you can be assured it is both incredibly gross and a result of deep cultural repression.
Okay, movie, you have redeemed yourself!

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The Machine Girl (Review)

The Machine Girl

aka Kataude Mashin Gâru

Directed by Noboru Iguchi

One day people will be able to detect awesomeness with a Geiger counter type device. When this Awesomeness Detector is used to measure DVDs of The Machine Girl, it will overload by so much, the explosion will destroy half the universe. This film simply rocks. It is beyond cool. We have a girl with a machine gun for an arm, evil ninja yakuza, and more blood than a Red Cross warehouse. There will be blood. Lots and lots of blood. Blood that sprays forth at like a firehose. Let’s just say that if any woman in this universe ever had her period, the force of the blood exiting her body would cause her to launch up into the air like a rocket and she’d crash into the moon. There’s that much blood.

Much of this film is beyond description, only pictures and video will be satisfactory. It’s an explosion of visual images and over the top-ness that will make your jaw drop and your pants moist. A low-budget original film from Fever Dreams/Media Blasters, hopefully the first of many awesome productions. It was actually released in the US before Japan, which is a first I can get behind. The DVD has both subtitles and an English dub, so of course we will jump right to Japanese with subtitles. Because we are out and proud geeks.

Ami Hyuga (Minase Yashiro) – A normal basketball-playing girl becomes the instrument of vengeance known as The Machine Girl after her brother Yu is murdered by the son of Yakuza. After losing her arm, she is aided by fellow victims and given a machine gun as replacement, which allows her to blast her way to total vengeance. Ami’s parents killed themselves when they were framed for murder.
Miki (Asami Sugiura as Asami) – Miki was in a biker gang with her hubby. Her son Takeshi was killed by Sho, and afterwards helps Ami on her quest of vengeance. Married to Suguru. Asami is an AV actress, for those of you who don’t speak Japanophile, that means she’s a porn star (Mosaic only.)
Yu Hyuga (Ryôsuke Kawamura) – Ami’s little brother, who is killed by Sho Kisuma, son of a Yakuza boss. Appears as a ghost helping Ami and applauding her efforts. Thankfully, not as a scary long-haired ghost like most Asian horror films.
Sho Kimura (Nobuhiro Nishihara) – Killed Yu and Takeshi for kicks. Snotty and sarcastic. Has a flair for wearing outfits that make him look like a gay pimp. He and his mom are almost like they share brains…
Ryuji Kimura (Kentaro Shimazu) – Dad Kimura is head of a ninja clan that is the Hatori Hanzo clan, which now is yakuza. Crazy. Wears his hair in demon horn style. Uses the flying guillotine, mouth masks, swords, and intense praying powers.
Violet Kimura (Honoka) – Mom Kimura is formerly of the Kanto Beasts, this woman beats her husband for being soft, kills maids as punishment, makes a chef eat “finger food”, and wears metal undergarments. Just your average Japanese woman!
Suguru (Yûya Ishikawa) – Takeshi’s dad, Miki’s husband, mechanic, and builder of machine gun arms. The son of a surgeon, and a former biker gang member (where he met his wife.) He doesn’t seem to have the temperament of a biker gang member, unless they are much calmer in Japan, which I doubt based on their many other depictions in movies. He’s a nice guy, so of course he gets killed violently.
Abraham Lincoln (???) – Abraham Lincoln is alive and well, living as a Yakuza bodyguard in Japan. Until he’s killed in the movie, so I guess he is dead. Damn you, Japanese John Wilkes Booth!!!

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