Saturday, February 7, 2009
One constant problem is that they insist on using CG rats all the time. Only it seems like they only got about 10 seconds of CG rat footage to work with, so you just see the same CG rats running by over and over. Keep in mind, these are not dragons or giant fighting robots... they're rats, and real rats can be had for cheap. I just don't get it. The only real reason I could come up with for them to even bother was that in the few scenes they do use real rats for close-ups, and need them to look menacing, they can only seem to pull off looking cute and curious.
As bad as that CG rats clip is, it begins to become apparent that that took up the whole effects budget, as elsewhere we see characters seemingly attacked by brown fuzzy slippers and the like.
Not to mention the guy in a brown barney suit, which is nearly falling to pieces, who's supposed to be a giant rat.
In most cases, I'd probably find a lot of these little flaws endearing to a film if it was still somewhat enjoyable, but this wasn't even close. The story moves glacially, the characters are not interesting at all, you spend the movie hoping that they'll all just die as soon as possible. One of the best characters is the drunken janitor, who we are introduced to right as he passes through on his way to the basement to be killed by the rats.
The "hot-girl" character is annoying, but is a little more of a caricature than the other generic horror movie characters, and as such lends a slightly amusing meta-quality to the film. She spends the movie in a pair of very tight jeans which, as the movie progresses, sink lower and lower down her hips, while at the same time her thong straps creep higher and higher up her torso. This is actually sort of funny, and the sort of thing that could have made the movie more interesting if it had explored a little more, but in the end, everything else about her and all the other characters is just painful to witness.
One more thing, the DVD case states on the front, "Formatted from the original aspect ratio to fit your television screen," and then puts a picture below that showing exactly what the ratio changes would be to accomodate a regular television's ratio, and a widescreen television's ratio... But then below all that it says "Presented in the original 1.33:1 aspect ratio."
Thursday, February 5, 2009
The first notable thing about this film is the introductory montage, although the opening scenes give you an introduction to some of the important imagery for the film, for some reason they do it by having the cast reinact the intro of the Mary Tyler Moore Show.
This is a Japanese Pinky Violence at its best and happens to be one of the movies Quentin Tarantino drew from in making Kill Bill. Only 12 minutes or so into the movie you'll see a slightly smaller-scale Crazy 88 style fight, complete with lost limbs and blood that sprays out of their very high pressure circulatory system.
And when this infamous fight scene moves outside into the snow it's almost exactly the same as the O-ren Ishii fight setting... Except here the protagonist is completely nude as this was an assassination attempt which came while she was having a bath. This is quite the sexploitation setup, but somehow a long scene of a wet naked woman, violently killing a dozen or so assassins, is made into something quite tasteful and beautiful to see.
While it's hard to consider that there might be such a thing as a highbrow and artistic action/sexploitation film... it is what it is.
So keep that sort of thing in mind. While it is sexploitation, it's not quite something Russ Meyer could have come up with. There are a lot of very nice shots here, and some strange 70's music once in a while to mix it up. In fact, the last fight has a bunch of the characters dying to something that sounds very much like a some sort of Jimi Hendrix cover.
Also, oddly enough, the voices are all dubbed except for the one white girl in the movie (Christina Lindberg of the One-Eye series).
Only she's from Sweden, and doesn't seem to do the English thing too well herself either.
In spite of this little oddity, and the occasional story hiccup when some things just don't seem to make sense... this is among the best of Japanese sexploitation films you'll find.