It’s apropos and yet somewhat inexplicable that Hayao Miyazaki would end his career on one what is easily his most divisive film. Miyazaki has spent so much of his career delivering masterpieces of animation that discuss the horrible fall out of war, destruction of the environment, and war machines. So it’s absolutely confounding that Miyazaki takes a more objective approach to Jirô Horikoshi and his creation of what would become certified weapons of war.
This year “I Spit on Your Grave” was given a deluxe box set on Blu-Ray and 4K allowing fans a new vision for what is easily one of the most upsetting, polarizing, and controversial films ever made. The Meir Zarchi film that popularized the volatile sub-genre rape-revenge films has spawned dozens of cinematic carbon copies (along with infamous bile from Roger Ebert), and features one of the most notorious castration scenes ever depicted. In commemoration of “I Spit in Your Grave” being released to fans yet again, I thought I’d sound off five of some of the more grotesque movie castrations ever filmed.
Director Gabrial Soriano’s “Seis días en la Oscuridad” is yet another of the many commentaries on a society that’s dominated by kidnappings for the purposes of profit. In a land where employment is slim, kidnappings are almost a way of life there, almost mundane. And a way to use that method to pull someone out of hot water eventually snowballs in to endless bouts of shit hitting the fan.
The clear indicator that this is simply the lamest of the exports so far is the first twenty minutes where director Chalerm Wongpim asks us to enjoy the realism of the epic battle scenes, while also forcing us to swallow a scene of our hero Siang riding a large rocket in the air. He then takes part in one of the most boring fight sequences I’ve ever seen. Most notable is the choreography which is slow and clunky, while most of the scenes are so poorly edited that they look like rehearsals for actual scenes we’ll never get to watch. It’s the first time I’ve seen a flying knee kick and not gasp in amazement.
Kazuhiko Yamaguchi’s “Karate Warriors” (aka “Killing Fist and Child”) is a solid action film mainly because of Sonny Chiba, and because Chiba’s charisma makes up for the overall plot’s shortcomings. His mystique is often entertaining and there are also the pre-requisite great fight sequences. Chiba is a force of nature here, and like “Yojimbo” he plays the rival gangs against one another for his own personal sake.
Yutaka Kohira’s “Sonny Chiba’s Dragon Princess” (Or “Dragon Princess,” or “Lady Karate,” or “Assassin Woman’s Fist”) is a misleading title often being boasted as a Sonny Chiba film, even though he has nothing more than a glorified cameo. The actual star, Etsuko Shiomi headlines as a girl whose father Agaki (Chiba) is confronted by two martial arts masters who challenge him to a fight, intent on taking his position as top karate master.
It’s hard to re-imagine or re-think the zombie movie, especially in the times where just about everyone has thought of everything. Director Il Cho’s “#Alive” is basically the sequel that “Train to Busan,” should have been, “#Alive” is such a great mix of “28 Days Later,” “The Night Eats the World,” and “Dawn of the Dead ’04.” While it doesn’t re-invent the wheel it manages to offer a fun, exciting, and creepy movie about the pros and cons of modern technology and the value of human contact.