Day 2 (10/04)
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Cyborg She simply was a wonderful surprise. A very pleasant mixture of sci-fi, comedy, romance, action and drama. And a most effective one, I might add. It has the power to both entertain and move the audience, also featuring a crazy story, fine performances and good special effects. The two leading characters are irresistibly charming, and have great chemistry together. Jiro is somewhat a nerdy loner who always celibrates his birthday alone, every year in the same restaurant. But this year, a cute and hot-looking girl walks into his lonesome festivities. Even better, she appears to have a crush on him. Head over heels, Jiro falls in love with her, but then… she reveals herself to be a cyborg from the future. By that point, the film must have won you over already, and you’ll be sucked into a strain of events featuring laughs, thrills, awe and… tears. A package deal not to miss out on.
Admittedly, Mutant Chronicles has a title a tad bit too ambitious for its own good. You’d expect global mutant battle sceneries in a movie with this epic a title. And while the set-up to such events is there, the essence of the film quickly boils down to a motley group of highly trained members of The Brotherhood going underground to stop this mutant invasion. But once you get over this idea, there’s a lot to enjoy. What are these Mutants the Chronicles speak of? Apparantly, deep down in the earth, a mysterious machine is hidden. A remnant of an ancient – perhaps alien – civilization. It has the power to transform humans into hideous necro-mutants. Fierce beings, with bone blades instead of arms and out for world domination. In the year 2707, human warfare still rages on planet earth, and an errant bombshell manages to break the ancient stone seal, thus activating the Machine again. Mutants are created once more and run amok. Enter the elite human fighters of The Brotherhood. Their mission, simply put: Destroy the Machine and save the human race. Despite being a less epic picture than it promisses to be (being for 3/5 of the film confined to an underground location, albeit a huge one), Mutant Chronicles does succeed in delivering more than enough action, thrills, tension and bloodshed. Plus, the visuals and special effects are decent. Especially the ‘retro-industrial’ look of the aircrafts are great eye-candy. John Malkovich‘s part adds up to very little screentime, but Ron Perlman gets to tag along for the rest of the ride. Sean Pertwee really seems to be making a career out of dying terribly painful deaths in every movie he’s in. And fans of Sin City‘s most sexy and vicious female assassin Miho should be pleased seeing Devon Aoki kicking butt again in Mutant Chronicles. At the end of the ride, it’s a rollercoaster worth its money.
You’ll have to be in a very undemanding mood when you decide to step aboard Yoroi: Samurai Zombie, a low-budget splatter-comedy with a limited cast and limited locations. Yes, it’s pretty crazy. Yes, it’s sprinkled with gory bits and bloodshed. But after an amusing start, it becomes rather dull in the mid-section. A gangster couple hijacks the car of a family on a holiday, and makes them flee together with them. They end up in an abandoned settlement – a ghost town, if you will – where samurai zombies have just been awakened. The tedious middle section could have used a bit more original, blood-spraying jokes to keep the pace going. Of the climax at the end – that tries to be amusing, but fails due to a decreased interest of the viewer – only the silly, evil twist was worth it. Maybe Samurai Zombie is just good enough for a splatter-horror night with friends, beer and pizza.
Onward to Day 3 (11/04).
Mini-reviews by Vomitron.