Sunday, August 9, 2009

Quick takes #4

Anthony Wong and Jo Odagiri in Plastic City.

Plastic City (Yu Lik-Wai, 2008) - Strange gangster story about illegal immigrants in Sao Paolo, Brazil, played by Anthony Wong and Jo Odagiri. When the government wants to show the US that they are cracking down on crime, they ask Yuda (Wong) to cooperate and give up a few truckloads of merchandise and then he'll be left alone. Instead, Yuda is framed and sent to prison, leaving Kirin (Odagiri), Yuda's adopted son, to take care of business. Starts off gritty and somewhat engaging but is marred by Wong and Odagiri not really speaking Portuguese and being, I think, both dubbed and speaking phonetically and some weird CG enhanced environments and a voodoo ending that really takes you out of the film. Disappointing.

The Masked Girl (Isao Kaneko, 2008) - At 45 minutes in length, originally a double bill with Hard Revenge, Milly (Takanori Tsujimoto, 2008), there is not much plot to talk about in The Masked Girl. Hoshino (Yuki Shimizu) is kidnapped by an organisation called Clown and transformed into a martial arts expert with super strength. While she tries to figure out why, the same thing happens to her friend Yumi (Shizuka Nakamura), only Yumi is also brainwashed into believing that Hoshino is a traitor to the organisation. The fighting begins.

To compare The Masked Girl to films like The Machine Girl (Noboru Iguchi, 2008) and Tokyo Gore Police (Yoshihiro Nishimura, 2008) might not be the best way of describing the film since The Masked Girl is more like an episode of a kid-friendly tokusatsu show while The Machine Girl and Tokyo Gore Police are nothing but gore fests. But since they are all films that are made with only one purpose in mind, they are somewhat alike, The Masked Girl going for some harmless tokusatsu action and The Machine Girl and Tokyo Gore Police going for getting as much blood and guts in the frame as possible. Where The Masked Girl succeeds and the others fail though, is in its short running time, it never slows down and doesn't have any unnecessary scenes to make it an overlong bore fest like Tokyo Gore Police. Entertaining low budget nonsense.

Shizuka Nakamura and Yuki Shimizu in The Masked Girl.