Stephen reviews: Sin: The Movie (2000)

sin_1Starring Kouji Ishii, Kikuko Inoue, Kaori Yamagata, Akio Ohtsuka, Ayako Kawasumi, Hiroya Ishimura, Masako Katsuki

Directed by Yasunori Urata


Sin is one of those most dreaded of cinematic experiences, a video game adaptation. Oh, dear god! But wait! this one doesn’t completely suck. In fact it’s better than most video game movies I’ve seen. All right, that’s still pretty insulting, especially when you take into account that I generally avoid video game movies in the first place. Still, Sin manages to be entertaining at times, especially at the beginning when the generic plot hasn’t revealed itself yet.

It opens with a surprisingly compelling sequence that splices together a scene of the main character attending a funeral, with one featuring the final moments of the dead guy’s life. It actually worked really well at making me care about the situation and wonder about the reasons why the shit went down. Of course it helps that the dead guy was infected with some weird goo monster that took over his cells and turned him into a monstrous… um… thing. In fact, the monsters in this film are pretty good and creepy looking. They’re probably one of the film’s strongest points.

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Stephen reviews: Bremen 4: Angels in Hell (1981)

bremen4_1Bremen 4: Angels in Hell [ブレーメン4 地獄の中の天使たち Bremen 4: Jigoku no Naka no Tenshi-tachi] (1981)

Starring Mari Okamoto, Hiroya Ishimura, Kei Tomiyama, Naoko Kyooda, Makio Inue, Chikao Ohtsuka, Kousei Tomita, Nachi Nozawa

Directed by Hiroshi Sasagawa & Osamu Tezuka


That Angels in Hell subtitle makes this sound like the next entry in a long running action series, possibly starring Arnold Schwarzenegger or Bruce Willis. Nothing could be further from the truth. It’s actually another Osamu Tezuka children’s film made for the 24 Hour TV specials, so expect some early ’80s made-for-TV quality animation. The movie is based on the German fairy tale, The Bremen Town Musicians (or Band of Bremen depending on how you like to translate it). As I am a big fan of folklore adaptations, I got pretty big kick out of this one.

The film clearly exhibits Disney’s influence on Tezuka’s style. There are several scenes in the wilderness that look like they could have come right out of Bambi. Likewise the humor is a more Western style of slapstick that doesn’t carry the same absurdist tone that most comedic anime use. Where it seriously departs from Western animation is in its blunt depiction of warfare. No American TV station would ever allow bullet-riddled corpses in a children’s time slot, which rather misses the point. G.I. Joe can glorify war for children all day long, but a film like Bremen 4 that depicts war as a terrible tragedy would probably cause a nationwide scandal. I, however, think it would make a fine children’s film (because we all know how much children love watching subtitled foreign films).

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