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We here at JPFmovies hear a lot about Manga—though we have never read one they seem to be the basis for a lot of Japanese films. So let’s take a look at some more Manga that have made it to the big screen. Samurai Commando Mission 1549 (2005).

Yes JPFmovie fans by your request we are going to look at some more manga books that have evolved to the big screen.  This manga series focusing on the adventures of a modern-day Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (Japan’s army) unit that accidentally travels through time to the Warring States period of Japanese history.

 

The Japanese army unit is conducting an experiment which is meant to shield military equipment from the effects of solar flares with the use of electromagnetic shields. However, these shields open a time portal and all soldiers assigned to the test suddenly find themselves stranded on a battlefield in the Sengoku period (the year 1549) and under attack by a samurai army.  Initially a number of the soldiers are killed which was not a bight move by the primitive warriors as the soldiers retaliate with modern formidable arsenal.  Several hours later, a reverse effect occurs, and a wounded samurai warrior suddenly appears in the 21st century.

Following so far?  Fast forward a couple of years and black holes are starting to appear all over Japan—the result of a changing timeline as the modern soldiers live and operate in the past.  Well the Army needs to do something to prevent the destruction of what is modern day Japan.

Conditions are right to repeat the experiment and send a new unit back in time to bring back the stranded soldiers in an effort to stop the potential destruction of modern day Japan.  Well the samurai brought forward in time has been living here for a couple of years and after suffering some culture shock is chomping at the bit to go back to his own time and resume his place as a samurai.  Well we see the unit prepare to go back in time and set thing right, but some frustrating precautions are taken.  For instance, the soldiers are bringing non-lethal bio-degradable bullets in an effort to minimize their footprint.  Fools!  They are going into one of the most violent times in history and they are worried about biodegradable bullets?

 

When the newcomers first arrive back in time they are ambushed by a bunch of samurai just waiting to kill them.  It seems that the first bunch of soldiers have used their technology to take over with the unit commander killing the powerful warlord Oda Nobunaga and taking his place.  These soldiers have used their modern technology to not only survive but to conquer and have started building things like a refinery and a bomb that will destroy half of Mount Fuji since these guys want to rewrite Japanese history.  Also with their advanced technology they have been able to upkeep their equipment and weapons.

Long story short there is a struggle between the soldiers trying to conquer Japan and change history and our newcomers who want to restore the timeline.  With the window for the people to return to the future closing a battle of wits and new and old technology rages.  After destroying the oil refinery the base of operations for the soldiers bent on changing the timeline is destroyed and the people barely make it back to the future so to speak.

 

Yeah the movie is kind of predictable but it does look at one of the scenarios that probably everyone has thought at one time or another; that is, what would happen if somehow modern day military technology were transported back in time and used against primitive weapons.  The JPFmovies staff is currently researching this issue but there have been several American movies that have sent modern day aircraft carriers back to Pearl Harbor for instance and how it would change the outcome of history.  Besides it is also kind of fun to see modern day weapons devastate primitive “screw heads” as Bruce Campbell put it in Army of Darkness.

It is a lite film, predictable but not unwatchable.

 
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Posted by on May 1, 2019 in Movie Reviews

 

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Ok She said she hates Kill Bill. I say only little people hate and one should enjoy art for art’s sake.

JPFmovies does not take challenges lightly.  The gauntlet thrown down in the “review” of Kill Bill 1 must be dealt with as a matter of honor.  We will address with the issues raised by Bonnie seriatim.  Unlike the reviewer of Kill Bill 1, the film should be placed in context before simply spouting derogatory comments about the movie.  The evil Bill (David Carradine) comments, “You know I’m all about old-school.”  What makes this film interesting is that the same could be said for director Quentin Tarantino.  In this film, Tarantino pays homage to such great genres such as Hong Kong martial arts films, Japanese chambara films (my favorite), Italian spaghetti westerns, girls with guns and revenge.  Each genre gets to bathe in the light the director’s tribute and Tarantino gives substantial screen time to each of his favorite sources of inspiration.

Kill Bill was originally scheduled for a single theatrical release, but with a running time of over four hours, it was separated into two volumes (probably because American audiences don’t have the attention span to watch a four hour movie—they did the same thing to Red Cliff).  Kill Bill Volume 1 was released in late 2003 and Kill Bill: Volume 2 was released in early 2004.  The volumes follow a character initially identified simply as the Bride a/k/a Kiddo.  In Volume 2, the Bride (Uma Thurman) continues her revenge mission against Bill and her former colleague’s f/k/a the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad (DiVAS), seeking payback for their vicious objection to her wedding.  Thurman handles the film’s many physical challenges and she makes the Bride a believable killing machine—or as believable as necessary in a film that surfs through a gravity defying movie cosmos.  She makes the most of every scene by taking the viewer along into her struggling victories, defeats, for her savage attacks and counterattacks.

Volume II starts with the Bride flashing back to her wedding rehearsal.  Bill, her former lover and the leader of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, unexpectedly arrives to wish her well and during their discourse, it is revealed that the Bride has retired from the assassination squad and left Bill as his lover in the hopes of providing a better life for her unborn daughter.  Seconds later the other assassination squad members rout the wedding rehearsal on Bill’s orders.

Back in the present, Bill goes to warn his brother Budd (Michael Madsen also in Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs (1992)), a bouncer at a “gentlemen’s club” and former Deadly Viper member, that he is next on the list.  Here Budd (at least partially) takes responsibility for his actions confessing that she (the Bride) deserves her revenge and that they deserve to die.  It is interesting to note that the only character who acknowledges his culpability is the only member that is not killed by Kiddo.  Yes he dies a painful death, but not at the hands of Kiddo.  When Bill asks if he has been keeping up with his sword skills, Budd (untruthfully) also tells his brother that he pawned his priceless Hanzō sword in El Paso for $250.00. 

She arrives at his shoddy trailer and bursts through the door, expecting to ambush him, but Budd is waiting for her and shoots her in the chest with a double-barreled shotgun full of rock salt, then drugs her.  Budd calls Elle Driver (Daryl Hannah), another former Deadly Viper member, and offers to sell her Kiddo’s Hanzō sword for a million dollars cash.  He then seals Kiddo inside a coffin and buries her alive.

A flashback takes us to Bill dropping Kiddo off to be trained by the legendary martial arts guru Pai Mei (Gordon Liu).  After what looks like torture, she eventually gains his respect and learns a number of techniques, including the art of punching through thick planks of wood from inches away, and a skill taught to no-one else of killing using non-lethal touches to certain pressure points.  She uses the former skill to break out of the coffin, claws her way to the surface, and then asks for a glass of water.

Elle arrives at Budd’s trailer for their transaction but has hidden a lethal black mamba with her money.  The snake kills Budd.  Elle calls Bill and blames Kiddo for his brother’s death, and thinking that Kiddo is still buried alive, takes the credit for killing Kiddo.  As she exits the trailer, she is ambushed by Kiddo, who had arrived there soon after Elle.  In the middle of an all-out melee in the trailer, Elle taunts Kiddo with the news that she poisoned Pai Mei out of revenge for his snatching out her eye after she called him a miserable old fool.  In return, Kiddo then plucks out Elle’s remaining eye and leaves her screaming and thrashing about in the trailer with the pissed off black mamba.

Now all that is left is Bill.  Kiddo finds him deep in the Mexican countryside, and is shocked to find her four-year old daughter B.B. (Perla Haney-Jardine) alive and well.  She spends the evening with Bill and B.B watching “Shogun Assassin II.”  After B.B. has gone to bed, Bill shoots Kiddo with a dart containing a truth serum and questions her.  A flashback recalls Kiddo’s discovery of her pregnancy while on an assassination mission, and her resulting decision to call off the assignment and leave the squad.  Kiddo explains that she ran away without telling Bill in order to protect their unborn daughter from him and his life.  Though Bill understands, he remains unapologetic for what he did, explaining that he’s a murdering bastard and there are consequences to breaking the heart of a murdering bastard.  They fight, but although Kiddo loses her weapon, she disables Bill with Pai Mei’s super fatal pressure point technique, which he secretly taught her.  Bill, aware of the technique and that he will shortly die, makes his peace with Kiddo and dies.  Kiddo departs with B.B. Later they are seen watching cartoons in a hotel together.

A long movie, yes.  A good movie, yes.  The complaints that it is too violent I think are unwarranted as the violence is reminiscent of the over the top martial arts films of the late 1960’ and 1970’s.  Like the martial arts films of the 60’s and 70’s, the violence is to over the top is comical.  When Kiddo chops off a limb what is obviously thick red paint spews from the victim like a fountain—just like the movies Tarantino is emulating.  There is little attempt at realism here instead it borders on the absurd (which is fine by me).

As for Carradine playing a jerk, let us not forget this film resurrected his career and proved that he could play roles other than is most famous Kwai-Chang Kane character  from the 1970’s series Kung Fu as well as bringing Sonny Chiba back to the silver screen.

 
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Posted by on December 31, 2011 in Movie Reviews

 

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Here is an another She said-He said format about Quentin Tarantino’s Kill films (2003). Here is the Bonnie’s “review” of Kill Bill 1.

Here is an another She said-He said format about Quentin Tarantino’s Kill films (2003).  Here is the Bonnie’s “review” of Kill Bill 1.

Okay, first the disclaimer: me reviewing Kill Bill is sort of like JPFmovies reviewing Mary Poppins.  This is not my kind of movie.  It’s too much of a bloodbath (did I say one bloodbath? better make that plural) and even director Quentin Tarantino admits that the movie has NO moral.

On the other hand, as JPFmovies keeps pointing out, this film does belong in the genre of “girl power.”  Well, that’s nice.

Here are all the things I hate about Kill Bill:

  • the violence
  • David Carradine playing a jerk, instead of someone who has learned something from the meditative side of his art (as he did in the original Kung Fu series)
  • The portrayal of martial arts as being all about violence (okay, plus determination, but I’m still not seeing any ethics or values here)
  • Um, did I mention how much violence there is in this movie?  Kill Bill is so violent that the word “violent” is really sort of tame to describe it.  NOT ONLY THAT, but the violence in Kill Bill is almost all the fake cartoon “let’s scatter blood all over the place and call it art” violence that I’ve come to expect from Quentin Tarantino.  Even the anime violence in this film (and JPFmovies, if you want to use the anime scene or any other horrific violence, you can find that clip yourself, thank you!) is way way way too much for me.

And yet I do appreciate Kill Bill v 1 for some of what it does:

  • Uma Thurman’s portrayal of one woman’s ability to use sheer grit and determination to pull herself out of a coma and to keep going no matter how badly the odds are stacked against her
  • The Hittori Hanzo scene with Sonny Chiba (might as well just include that as a clip – see below)
  • The scene with Lucy Liu, for several reasons.  First, as I mentioned in the Hero review, I like the cinematography of this scene.  The snow, the blue light, the starting/stopping of the sound track to match the action, the wood fountain piece that keeps filling up and emptying itself out prosaically as if there were no swordfight going on right next to it.  Second, I like the moment when Uma has been injured and says to Lucy Liu, “Come at me with everything you’ve got.”  Why?  At that moment, it’s not her grit and determination I admire.  It’s her character’s ability to see her one chance and simply go for it.  Because the fact is that her one chance to get out of that swordfight alive is precisely for her opponent to come at her with everything she’s got.  Uma (I refuse to call her character The Bride just because she begins the movie in a wedding dress) at that point is supposed to be exhausted from the fight with Liu’s Crazy 88 bodyguards, and she’s just been injured.  Does she have the energy to even bridge the gap to reach Liu and attack her?  No.  So she marshals the energy she does have, instructs Liu to do the work of bridging the gap, and watches for the opening that must be there if she can spot it fast enough to use her last reservoir of strength to exploit it.  There’s something about that moment.  It’s that “all you have to do is do this right just this one time, and by the way, this one chance is all you get” feeling.  Doesn’t that give you chills?  Am I the only one who finds that not only is this scene, in its cinematography, reminiscent of many of the scenes of Hero, but it also exactly parallels Miyamoto Musashi’s response to his injury in his fight with Inshon in the Japanese television series recreation of Musashi’s life.
  • Finally, I respect Tarantino’s desire to pay homage to the Hong Kong action films that shaped him as a filmmaker.  I just wish he could have found a less bloody way to do so.  After all, they did.

There’s Kill Bill Vol. 1 for you, JPFmovies – I dare you to review Kill Bill Vol. 2 and find a bit more redemption of Tarantino in it for me.  Uma doesn’t need to redeem herself – training for and filming a martial arts movie three months after having a baby, while still nursing and trying to lose her pregnancy weight, is enough to leave me in awe of her for all time.  Tarantino, on the other hand, still has some explaining to do!!

 
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Posted by on December 28, 2011 in Movie Reviews

 

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