Stephen reviews: Fumoon (1980)

fumoon_1Fumoon [フウムーン] (1980)

Starring Hiroshi Suzuki, Mari Okamoto, Minori Matsushima, Junpei Takiguchi, Chiako Ohtsuka, Ryoko Kinomiya, Kousei Tomita

Directed by Hisashi Sakaguchi


I’ve been having a blast with these Tezuka films, so I’m a little sad that this is the last one on my list. Hopefully more will become available someday. I’m also a little disappointed with this one because it doesn’t quite live up to the fun of the previous two.

The humor takes a back seat this time, so it didn’t leave as strong an impression as the others did. I think what really took me out of it was the obvious nature to its moral. It hammers home the anti-war, anti-pollution message a little too hard for me. Maybe that’s just a personal problem, but the same themes had already been addressed in Bander Book and Marine Express without losing any of the fun and charm. If you’re a fan of movies with a message, then you won’t find much to fault here, but I prefer it when the moral of the tale is not applied with a sledgehammer.

This isn’t to say that the film is bad by any stretch. It still sets up an intriguing premise and carries the plot along with ample new developments to keep things from getting stale. In fact, judging by the plot structure, the narrative arc is every bit as solid and gripping as the others, perhaps more so. It just felt like the whole time it was telling me, “Give a hoot, don’t pollute.”

Continue reading Stephen reviews: Fumoon (1980) →

Stephen reviews: Fist of the North Star (1986)

Fist of the North Star: the Movie [劇場版 世紀末救世主伝説 北斗の拳 Gekijōban Seikimatsu Kyūseishu Densetsu Hokuto no Ken, Fist of the North Star the Movie: Legend of the Century’s End Savior] (1986)

Starring Akira Kamiya, Chikao Ohtsuka, Kenji Utsumi, Toshio Furukawa, Kaneto Shiozawa, Mie Suzuki, Tomiko Suzuki, Yuriko Yamamoto, Junpei Takiguchi

Directed by Toyoo Ashida


I hope you’re ready for the most intense, hyper-masculine orgy of ultra-violence ever made, because I sure as hell am. I haven’t seen this movie since high school, and after watching Expendables 2 I was suddenly in the mood for cocky, musclebound men performing manly feats of impossibility. So I tracked down the DVD and found that Fist of the North Star has aged like a fine wine; its ridiculous violence and ’80s styling making it a savory delight even better than I remembered.

The DVD case proudly advertises Fist of the North Star as “the most violent and action packed animated film of all time,” and my first reaction when I saw the box was disbelief. There has to be something even more over the top. But I really couldn’t think of many examples. Maybe Berserk or Claymore, but even those didn’t seem to fit the bill. Now that I’ve watched the film again, I can say that no, there is nothing I am aware of that has more violence and more machismo concentrated into one package.

Continue reading Stephen reviews: Fist of the North Star (1986) →

Stephen reviews: Harmagedon (1983)

Harmagedon [幻魔大戦] (1983)
AKA Harmagedon: The Great Battle with Genma, Harmagedon: Genma Taisen, Genma Wars

Starring Tōru Furuya, Mami Koyama, Ichirô Nagai, Toru Emori, Yasufumi Hayashi, Junpei Takiguchi, Takanobu Hozumi

Directed by Rintaro


How can I not love an 80s movie called Harmagedon? As soon as I realized I had missed out on what could only be a supreme gem of 80s awesome, I had to rectify the situation. Once I popped it in the DVD player and realized that this was also a film by Rintaro, my expectations were through the roof. Now I have always had my issues with Rintaro’s films, but one thing is certain: the man can make a badass action scene. Even when his films as a whole aren’t that great, which is usually the case, there is always some part of them so amazing that I still can’t help but love them. Then I found out he was teamed up with Katsuhiro Otomo, the creator of Akira, and my mind was blown. And then there’s the inexplicable addition of Keith Emerson, of Emerson, Lake and Palmer fame, as music composer. Sure he only did about one-third of the film’s music, but there’s no confusing which it was when one of his tunes kicks in, synth ablazing. Do I even have to say more? This film is a total trip of epic proportions.

The bizarreness kicks in straight away with the narrator. Most films opt for a calm and objective narrator, but not Harmagedon. Its narrator is a crazed, black-robed fortune-teller prancing around the empty streets of Tokyo raving about the apocalypse. And mysteriously teleporting around. We mustn’t forget about that. If this doesn’t prepare you for some crazy shit, maybe the next scene will.

Continue reading Stephen reviews: Harmagedon (1983) →

Subscribe via Email!

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,593 other subscribers

Ongoing Series

Top Posts & Pages

The Films of Jackie Chan
Best Of/Worst Of Lists
Shaw Brothers Martial Arts Films
Four Riders (1972)
Stephen reviews: Wicked City (1987)
Hex After Hex (1982)
City Hunter (1993)
Virgins of the Seven Seas (1974)