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.

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