Review by Chastity Campbell
Starring: Takeshi Kaneshiro,
Anne Suzuki, Goro Kishitani, Kirin Kiki
Director: Takashi Yamazaki
Video: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Audio: 5.1 Dolby Digital
Studio: Columbia Tri-Star
Features: See Review
Length: 117 Minutes
Release Date: February 10, 2004
running out of choices, goÖGO, the future is in your hands!Ē
On October 21st, 2002 aliens
descended on earth. Their mission
was to destroy everything in their path, human or otherwise.
One woman sent back in time to prevent the invasion holds the future fate
of the world in her hands.
Can anyone say TERMINATOR!
I couldnít help myself, from the moment I popped this DVD in until the
very end the same litany kept running through my mind, Terminator, T-2,
and T-3: Rise Of The Machines. Now,
no one is saying this movie is a rip off of the Terminator series, but it
is so very close on so many levels that you cannot deny the resemblance.
I have not had the pleasure of
watching the actors in this film anywhere else on the big screen that I am aware
of. Though I have had no exposure
to them it, doesnít mean I cannot tell a good performance from a bad one.
Iím happy to say that both Takeshi Kaneshiro, and Anne Suzuki performed
Takeshiís character Miyamoto
is the typical bad boy with a big heart. Milly,
played by Suzuki, is very determined, and easy to like.
The chemistry between the two actors worked to their advantage on an
action film like this.
An out of this world experience
forces these two people to work side by side.
This creates a lot of friction, which adds to the suspense of the movie
The one problem I had was that
this filmís primary language was Japanese.
Considering my Japanese is a bit rusty (uh hum), I opted to view this
movie with the English language feature turned on. Unfortunately the levels were low, and whoever did the voice
over spoke quickly as well as softly. This
forced me to turn on the English subtitles, and this is where things got really
A subtitled movie is no problem
I watch them all the time. Switching
to the English version of a foreign film I can handle that too.
Turning both features on together, now that was an experience I donít
want to repeat anytime soon.
The lips didnít sync up to
what was being said, but that was to be expected.
Anyone whoís ever watched Godzilla knows that the lips will
never match up to the dialogue. It
was when I turned on the subtitles that I noticed what was being spoken was not
what was being written on the screen. For
the most part you could read and listen and things made a decent amount of
sense. Then there were other
times where nothing made sense. I
would suggest using one or the other, not both at the same time.
Reading subtitles may not be fun, but the low dialogue levels of the
English version may make reading more fundamental than ever before!
The special effects were very
nicely done with a decent level of believability.
The fight scenes were very stylized and modern.
The choreography was tight, and gave the film that extra layer of
believability needed when exceeding the boundaries the human body is capable of.
The camera work was very modern
with quick cuts and odd angles. This
helped the over all look and feel of the film.
The story was interesting, and
the effects were cool to watch. That
is enough to bring me back around for a second viewing, so give it a shot; the
worst thing that could happen is you return the Returner!
The 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
transfer of this DVD was a bit dirty despite being a newer movie.
I was surprised at how texturized the picture looked, but different
filming standards were used on this film and that definitely played a major part
in how this print looked.
The colors were bright, and the
lighting was used to good effect during the nighttime scenes. The shading gave more sinister characters a level of
depth that they wouldnít have had otherwise.
This Dolby Digital 5.1 mix was
very disappointing. The audio over
all sounded hollow, and tinny. The
levels were like a bullet in a metal room, all over the place.
Also, it didnít seem like they took much time putting the language
dubbing, and subtitles together considering they didnít match up very well.
This DVD may have had only a
couple of extra features, but comparing it to some discs being released today,
at least it had some.
The Production Diary featurette
brings Director Takashi Yamazaki and the movies female star Anne Suzuki right
into your living to explain the making of this movie. The voice tracks can be turned off so that you can watch how
things unfolded behind the scenes without any distractions.
Trailers for Cowboy Bebop,
Returner, So Close, and Cyborg 009 are included, as well as audio
options in Japanese, English, and French. There
are subtitles available as well in English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese.
Scene selection and some very cool looking still frame menus bring this DVDís extra features full circle.