Saturday, June 12, 2004

DVD Review -- The Returner (2003)

Quite a find in the Makati Cinema Square DVD utopia :) Good thing my pirate friends are wisening up to the markets demands and are selling more and more of the 'specialized' DVDs instead of just the mainstream movies.

I'll probably post a lot more of the more obscure DVD finds you can get in greenhills, makati cinema and Quiapo.

Do you like ID4? How about ET? The Matrix? Starship Troopers? Stargate? Terminator? Well, im sure you'll like The Returner as well.

In the movie, Milly (Anne Suzuki), a mysterious girl from the future, teams up with Miyamoto (Takeshi Kaneshiro) a mysterious vigilante with a long black leather coat and killer instincts, and the apothecarist, a mysterious old woman with enough ammunition in her little herb shop to arm a private army, to solve the mystery of the mysterious aliens who caused the end of humankind.

Oh, and by the way, they will be facing Mizoguchi (Goro Kishitani), Miyamoto's psychotic archrival and hordes of gun-toting aliens with forcefields, transforming ships and colossal motherships.

Cliche enough?

But then again, this movie is not about WOWing us with an original story, nor drama, and not even emotional dilemmas. It is about cool costumes, kick-ass special effects and excellent fight scenes. It is about overly abused movie-logic where the arch-nemesis of the hero turns out to be the overall antagonist of the whole movie and where ET just wants to go home.

This is Japan's answer to all the American sci-fi flicks of this generation. Yes, there are a ton of ideas, but this movie puts them all seamlessly together. And makes it sometimes better even: whereas Matrix Revolutions bored us to death with their overabuse of the bullet time concept, The Returner uses it sparingly, and only because the heroes have a nifty little gadget that can temporarily slow time.

Come to think of it, despite the number of ideas it shamelessly ripped off at least fifty other big budget hollywood sci-fi movies (who by the way, shamelessly ripped them off from lesser known smalltime japanese flicks), the only thing missing from the plot is a drop-dead gorgeous leading lady in black body-hugging leather.

Despite that despicable oversight though, id say the movie is still pretty much fun to watch, if only for the excellent action sequences and the cool graphics :)

Special effects : 10/10 (Does the word Transformers ring a bell?)
Overall Acting : 7/10
Storyline : 8/10
Babe Rating : 6/10(the leading lady's a kid, but since she looks like KC Concepcion...)
Bloodshed : 10/10 (There are basically 4 major characters... everyone else is fresh meat)
Overall : 9/10

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