ORBzine - Asian Horror 2007 Movie Reviews

TITLE & REVIEW

Battle Royale 2

Battle Royale 2 The survivors of the original film are now freedom fighters, out to topple the oppressive government that condemned them to the Death Game. Unfortunately, the government has discovered the rebels' hideout on a remote island. Instead of fighting each other, the next batch of school-children are used as the The Dirty Dozen. They stage a beach landing that resembles Saving Private Ryan, then fight their way into the ruins. Sort of like how the SEALs did in The Rock.

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  • Ju-On

    Ju-On This is the Japanese original that was re-made as the American film The Grudge . It seems that the US version was stretched over two films, with a much bigger budget. It has a lower budget (although it shows good production values), and effectively creates suspense.

    Basically, the film is about a haunted house. There are several story threads that each take place at a different time over a period of several years. Anyone who enters the house is affected by a curse - they are haunted by the ghosts of a woman and a young boy. Not only do the victims of the curse suffer an unnatural fate, but the curse can actually infect people they come in contact with!

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  • Oldboy

    Oldboy This is a wonderful example of Asian cinema, made in South Korea. An average man is kidnapped and imprisoned in an apartment for a reason nobody will tell him. While locked in the apartment he has nothing to do except watch TV, so he trains himself to fight. When he gets out, fifteen years later, he goes after whoever was behind his abduction.

    There is a romance subplot as he falls for a young waitress. There are some great fights, and a twisted ending.

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  • Thirst

    Thirst This is a much-vaunted Vampire movie from Korea. A Priest volunteers to work in a clinic that treats patients who have E.V., presumably some form of Ebola. He gets an experimental treatment there, as well as a blood transfusion. Strangely, neither the Ebola not the experiment are the source of his later Vampirism - it is a blood transfusion, apparently from an anonymous but civic-minded vamp.

    Once out of the clinic, the vampire priest must combine his religious morality with his new-found bloodlust and heightened physical sensations. He befriends the lonely wife of a cancer patient, and starts an adulterous affair with her. This is the core of the story, with the vampirism merely as part of the backdrop. It is taken from a book by the French novelist Emil Zola, and is apparently the only version of the story to feature any vampires. Much like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies , this is a mainstream story with genre aspects added.

    The problem seems to be the beginning of the film, which is slow-moving and concentrates on introducing the protagonist before he becomes a vampire. But since the story is about the affair, not the vampirism, this is not really relevant.

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  • A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night

    A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night This is Internationally feted as a ground-breaking Iranian horror film. Unfortunately, it may be ground-breaking in Iran (the English-speaking audience would not know because we get to see so few Iranian films) but it seems rather old-fashioned. And not merely because of the fact it is in black and white.

    The title character is a vampire who looks like a young woman. At night she prowls the streets of Bad City, an oil town in Iran. With her wearing of the traditional female headdress, and her targeting of hedonists like junkies and alkies, she seems more like an Islamic traditionalist than a feminist icon. This has more in common with medieval morality plays than with modern, intellectually-challenging films.

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  • Dragon Wars AKA D-War

    Dragon Wars AKA D-War A young television journalist (Jason Behr - Roswell ) and his cameraman (Craig Robinson - Hot Tub Time Machine ) investigate when a mysterious scar-faced man is up to no good.

    Strangely for an American movie, the monsters are oriental dragons and the caucasian characters are reincarnations of Korean heroes. In fact this was produced in South Korea, which accounts not only for the Asian look to the production design but also for the high quality of the CGI SPFX, especially when one considers that the film was made on a modest budget several years ago.

    The Evil Overlord's forces, looking like the Gungan Army in Star Wars: Phantom Menace , march into the centre of Los Angeles and take on the US Army's M1 Abrams main battle tanks.

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