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Recently seen movies #103

December 14, 2008

The Kamikaze Adventurers (Japan, 1981) – 3,5/5

Shinichi Chiba and Hiroyuki Sanada star in an enjoyable romantic caper adventure. A temptation to rob a money transportation brings Sanada’s guitarist and Chiba’s pilot character together. Kumiko Akiyoshi is the charming lady in between. Action fans may be disappointed as there isn’t all that much action going on, and practically no martial arts. However, Sanada and Chiba’s flawless tag team play is perhaps more enjoyable than ever before. The leads are placed in front of the camera together in most scenes, both scoring 90+ minutes screentime. At times, the film feels almost like Kadokawa Idol pic gone JAC mode.

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Roaring Fire (Japan, 1981) – 4/5

Masashi Ishibashi as a noble karate master. Hiroyuki Sanada learns axe throwing from indians. A monkey steals a girls bra and she chases the poor animal topples. A gigantic black wrestler fights Sanada in a pool. And that’s just the first 15 minutes. Before Shinichi Chiba appears. Before Etsuko Shihomi fights. Before some of the craziest action scenes in contemporary Japanese cinema are seen. It does slow down a few times, and the story and structure are a mess, but it is considered a deformed holy grail for a reason. 1980’s Hong Kong film makers took notes from this film!

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The Blazing Valiant (Japan, 1981) – 2,5/5

Hiroyuki Sanada star as a man returning from Africa to Japan in first time director Toru Dobashi’s ”youth action film”. Sanada’s character settles down in a small city but finds out a company run by Toru Abe is terrorizing the locals. The Blazing Valiant provides service for Sanada fans, but compared to many of his other films of the same era it feels a bit sub-par. The action is sparse and mostly unmemorable – although there’s a couple of nice stunts – and the drama doesn’t rise above average. Many individual scenes, Sanada’s song, and solid supporting cast – Tomisaburo Wakayama, Hiroshi Katsuno, idol Kazue Ito and even Asao Koike and Noriko Hayami in very small roles – are the film’s strongest assets.

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