Well, since I had written about some of the best musical talent from the land of the rising sun, I thought why not force my very biased opinion on the world of cinema on to you guys?!! So here it is, the list of films that I consider to be the best achievements in the world of Japanese film-making. If you’re interested in finding out about some seriously awesome films, read on!!
We start off with Zatoichi, Beat Takeshi’s take on the original story of a blind swordsman. Now I’ll be honest, I haven’t seen the original films so I have no idea how the compare to the new one, but what I do know is that the new one is totally awesome, Takeshi has definitely succeeded in making a very creative and engaging film 😉
This fuedal Japan action flick certainly isn’t Ryuhei Kitamura’s finest achievement but it is a pretty damn entertaining film – the storyline is anything but original, involving a group of young assassins who have been trained to kill warlords who plot to plague the land with war however you get to see one very hot Aya Ueto running around killing ninjas and fighting demented psychopaths… thats good enough for me! But I would say avoid the second film, it’s shite compared to the first one!
Nana has been hugely popular in Japan, originally a manga, which paved the way for an anime and finally 2 films were made. I haven’t seen the second one but the first one was thoroughly entertaining I thought. Essentially, and I do hate to admit it, it’s a chick flick and I think Nana was originally made for girls but anyway, I thought the movie was awesome. It’s about 2 women, that share the same name Nana, who randomly meet each other but end up becoming good friends, and also about their experiences both past and present when it comes to love life and such like, anyway, if you’re expecting action or stupid humour, this probably isn’t the film for you 😛
Versus… one of the most stylish action/horror films you will ever set your eyes upon.. fact! This, in my opinion, is Ryuhei Kitamura’s finest achievement so far, and its the movie that sent his career rocketing sky high when it was released. It’s apparently a low budget movie but you wouldn’t believe it if you see it because Kitamura has crafted such a tight and professional piece of work. Expect a lot of blood and gore and a hint of comedy thrown in for good measure! A second film has been rumoured to be in the works, but I doubt it will be able to surpass the awesomeness of the first one, this is one of my all time favourite movies and if you watch it you will see why!!
Survive Style 5+
‘Survive Style… what?!!’ is what you’re probably saying to yourself, right? In fact I tire of all the times when I tell people one of my favourite Japanese films is Survive Style 5+ and they have no idea what I’m going on about!! Well, this is one of the most entertaining films I have seen in a long time and I consider this THE most entertaining film of Japan right now. Well, what do you get when you mix a disturbed guy whose girlfriend keeps rising from the grave, a group of juvenile immature young adults, a father who has been hypnotised and eternally fooled into thinking he is a bird, an eccentric advertising director and an even more eccentric British hitman-for-hire who just happens to be played by Vinnie Jones?!!! Well, you get total frantic chaos!! You shouldn’t take this movie so seriously, its wacky, its weird and thats why its so damn good. Highly highly recommended, my top film of Japan!
Last word, also worth checking out are Tsubaki Sanjuro (I think it was originally a Kurosawa film but I haven’t seen that version) and Jigyaku no Uta. I saw these 2 films recently at the cinema and thought they were pretty good, but I guess it’ll be a while before they’re available in English, all films listed above except Nana are available in England 😉
Ok ok, this is the last note, I’ll be writing up a list of the best anime films to check out later, so be sure to check back for that if you’re interested 😉