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Battlefield Baseball

Tak Sakaguchi , Atsushi Itô , Yudai Yamaguchi    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 86.42
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Most helpful customer reviews
By Daniel Jolley TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
I don't even know where to begin with this one, as Jigoku kôshien (aka Battlefield Baseball or Battlefield Stadium) is unique in every sense of the word, a wholly indescribable film that must be seen to be believed. If I laid out the whole plot of this movie for you, you wouldn't believe a word of it - and that would be perfectly understandable, since no one in his right mind would make a movie like this. You have to love Japanese culture and society - rather than lock Yudai Yamaguchi up in a padded cell somewhere, they actually allowed him to direct this movie, and now we can all enjoy the world's only - as far as I know - zombie baseball kung fu musical comedy. Okay, if you happen to have seen the film Versus, you might find this film less shockingly different, since Jigoku kôshien basically comes to you "from the team that brought you Versus," or if you've read the manga comic by Gataro Man (serialized in Shonen Jump magazine) on which this film was based, you'll know what kind of kooky humor to expect going in, but a lot of us Westerners will walk into this film completely unprepared for what is about to happen - after all, we've been conditioned by Hollywood to expect no trace of originality or creativity in our movies.

We all know the Japanese take their baseball seriously, but at Seido High School, the shared determination to win the Koshien Tournament makes the most avid of Texas high school football fans look like a polite crowd at the PGA Open. Kocho, the team's principal and coach - well, let's just say he really, really wants to win. And with the slugger Gorilla anchoring the team, he has just the boys to go all the way. Then disaster strikes - Seido's first opponent is the infamous Gedo High.
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4.0 out of 5 stars For love of baseball April 28 2008
By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
Dismembered bodies. Zombies. Tornado pitches. Cherry blossoms. Random naked guys. Cyborgs. Chainsaws. And a form of baseball where no rules apply -- and only one team comes out alive.

Now imagine all of that, crammed into a sports spoof with a Monty Pythonesque sense of humor. "Battlefield Baseball" has not a single moment of genuine plot or character development -- instead, Yudai Yamaguchi fills it with ludicrous twists, delightfully sick action, and a deeply irreverent attitude towards all sports movies.

Seido High School has a very real chance of getting to Koshien Stadium, courtesy of Matsui Gorilla and a bunch of other talented players. Then Principcal Kocho learns who their opponent is -- Gedo High, a savage bunch of green-skinned mutant zombie types who dismember opposing teams.

Fortunately the new transfer student Jubeh (Tak Sakaguchi) has incredible baseball skills -- but he refuses, unwilling to play because of a tragic accident. Four Eyes (Atsushi Ito) convinces him to join the team -- but Jubeh is mysteriously missing when Gedo shows up for the game, resulting in a mass slaughter of the remaining baseball players.

But after a near-death experience and a scuffle with Four Eyes' mom, Jubeh is raring to take revenge on the team that slaughtered the Seido players -- if he can remember how to do his most lethal pitch. But even with that pitch and a very odd new team, Jubeh must still contend with the psychopathic Coach from Gedo High -- and the deadly Poison Bat!

There is literally not a single serious moment in all of "Battlefield Baseball." Really. This is absurdity on a Monty Python level, only with more applauding audiences appearing at dramatic moments.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  18 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Arguably a mixed bag, but likely to develop a sizable cult following April 5 2007
By Brian T - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
This low-budget baseball zombie comedy is arguably a mixed bag, but one likely to develop a sizable cult following. While it successfully pokes fun at the cliches inherent in most sports movies, particularly those `moments' where people spontaneously applaud the main characters actions (similarly mocked in NOT ANOTHER TEEN MOVIE), it doesn't deliver on the action and gore quotient promised by the concept. And yet, as a budget-conscious live-action adaptation of a Shonen Jump manga, it plants tongue hard in cheek and certainly feels faithful to the source material, never for a minute taking itself seriously and gleefully indulging in the most eye-rollingly obvious visual gags. Desperate to make it to the big leagues, the Seido High School baseball team must face their much more successful rivals at Gedo High, a team made up entirely of well-armed zombies. Their ace in the hole may well be transfer student `Jubeh The Baseball' (Tak Sakaguchi), who's signature fastball killed his own father, a tragedy which prevents him from helping the team. Directed by the writer of VERSUS (Yudai Yamiguchi), produced by that film's director (Ryuhei Kitamura) and starring that film's lead (Tak Sakaguchi), BATTLEFIELD shares that film's low-budget ingenuity, but wisely knows when to take up stakes and call it a day around the 90 minute mark. The Japanese R2 DVD has English subs and includes a hilariously inventive short film called Ramen Baka Ichidai, about a kid who hunts down the perfect Ramen noodles for his dying grandfather. Primo stuff.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Seriously funny! Oct. 14 2005
By Bex - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
If you try to make this a serious study in filmmaking or content, you're missing the entire point. This film was meant for sheer escapism, harkening back to when movies were just *fun*. There were many tips of the hat -so it seemed- to past movies, most notably Shaolin Soccer and God of Cookery. (Can never fault a person for acknowledging Chow Sing, can we?)

Versus is a fun movie, but the pacing leaves something to be desired and I LIKE the slower pacing of Japanese movies. Battlefield Baseball is much faster moving and atsui Tak actually gets to act -or at least make an expression- in this one. Though I kept wanting to tell him to stand up straight. Posture, honey!

This movie could be described accurately as Shaolin Soccer, but Japanese and about baseball... with zombies and without the deeper character content. I hate comparing movies, but come ON folks... tell me I didn't just nail it right on the head.

There are out-and-out hilarious moments, a random musical or two, some complete silliness and a lot of overacting in this feature... I approve of it ALL entirely! HIGH-LARIOUS! Certainly, those who expect a 'real' movie or try to take this without a good sense of humor will not be happy. For those of us blessed with funny bones that don't quit, this is right up our alley. Highly recommended! Have fun!

(This review does not include the highlights of the extra features, except that it's pretty darn neat that they translated the commentary by Tak for us English speakers.)
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars ???? Oct. 9 2006
By Robert Gardner - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
This movie was my first foray into ridiculous Japanese culture (Well, live action at least) and it won't be my last.

As a baseball movie, its terrible. Really though, it isn't about baseball. It is about a family...I think. I don't know. The ending was pretty funny though and zombie teams coach kept reminding me of that blue Jay Leno looking dude from Beetleborgs.

The movie was over the top in every aspect. The one downfall it has was its lack of action. After reading reviews and previews and watching trailers I expected a little bit more action than was presented.

It's still worth buying though if only to see it and try to explain it to others.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For love of baseball Sept. 6 2008
By E. A Solinas - Published on Amazon.com
Dismembered bodies. Zombies. Tornado pitches. Cherry blossoms. Random naked guys. Cyborgs. Chainsaws. And a form of baseball where no rules apply -- and only one team comes out alive.

Now imagine all of that, crammed into a sports spoof with a Monty Pythonesque sense of humor. "Battlefield Baseball" has not a single moment of genuine plot or character development -- instead, Yudai Yamaguchi fills it with ludicrous twists, delightfully sick action, and a deeply irreverent attitude towards all sports movies.

Seido High School has a very real chance of getting to Koshien Stadium, courtesy of Matsui Gorilla and a bunch of other talented players. Then Principcal Kocho learns who their opponent is -- Gedo High, a savage bunch of green-skinned mutant zombie types who dismember opposing teams.

Fortunately the new transfer student Jubeh (Tak Sakaguchi) has incredible baseball skills -- but he refuses, unwilling to play because of a tragic accident. Four Eyes (Atsushi Ito) convinces him to join the team -- but Jubeh is mysteriously missing when Gedo shows up for the game, resulting in a mass slaughter of the remaining baseball players.

But after a near-death experience and a scuffle with Four Eyes' mom, Jubeh is raring to take revenge on the team that slaughtered the Seido players -- if he can remember how to do his most lethal pitch. But even with that pitch and a very odd new team, Jubeh must still contend with the psychopathic Coach from Gedo High -- and the deadly Poison Bat!

There is literally not a single serious moment in all of "Battlefield Baseball." Really. This is absurdity on a Monty Python level, only with more applauding audiences appearing at dramatic moments. In fact, that is much of its charm -- "Battlefield Baseball" spends all its time relentlessly mocking sports movies of the drippiest kind.

In particular, it spoofs the sentimental stuff (the ludicrous "family reunion"), contrived plot twists (Jubeh is arrested for no reason), deus ex machinae, sudden changes of heart, and an obligatory romance. And lest a single sports cliche be left unmocked, Yamaguchi trots out an Inspiring Message near the end, reminding us that baseball is all about life and love of the game. Even the dialogue ("I've been a head teacher here for twenty-five years. I'm always ready to sacrifice myself for Seido!") is hilarious.

That would only be moderately funny in most spoofs. But Yamaguchi takes it WAY further, by making everything as insane, stupid and ludicrous as possible -- people burst into song for no reason, run around with swords, wear gold loincloths, turn into cyborgs, and one character is constantly being "reborn" with new actors. And everything important that happens has a large audience standing by to applaud.

Yamaguchi also piles on the gore and grotesquerie. Ears are ripped off, crowds are gunned down, players are impaled on bats, and every game ends with a bunch of bloody plastic limbs strewn around. It's really sick, and really hysterical.

The gorgeous Tak Sakaguchi is put to good use here -- not only does he get to show off his polished physical skills, but he's hilarious at the Ruggedly Handsome Hero ("My dad told me to, when I was dead ten minutes ago!"). Wind blows through his hair, he sheds a manly tear, skids across a baseball field on his stomach, and spends several minutes savagely beating a rubber dummy.

You can tell that this must have been fun. The other actors also do great jobs -- Ito is excellent as Four Eyes (yes, that is his name), a dweeb with a deep love of baseball. And the guys playing the psychotic Coach, the stressed-out Kocho, the bestial Gorilla and the rabidly enthusiastic Head Teacher all do wonderful jobs, no matter how kooky their characters.

"Battlefield Baseball" revels in the mockery of your average sports movie, when it's not tossing around body parts and magical cherry blossoms. A deliciously sick, warped little comedy.
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Suuuuuper Tooooornado! June 5 2005
By Red Devil "Samantha" - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
I watched this movie simply because I wanted to see if Tak Sakaguchi was capable of doing more than standing around in leather pants with the "I'm-oh-so-cool" bored look on his face. I was impressed. The synopses is as follows:

Seido High has a championship-worthy baseball team, until the coach learns their first game is against the dreaded Gedo High School. The coach has already played them before and it turns out Gedo is a team of the undead. The zombies do not play baseball like regular teams, in fact they don't play baseball at all, they just kill the other team. Whichever team has the most players left alive is the winner by their rules. Seido's coach is ready to sit out this season when he hears that the new student Jubeh (Sakaguchi), a kid with anger management problems and a dark secret, is in a fight and takes out an entire group of bullies using what they call "baseball fighting". The coach then has a brilliant idea of enlisting the help of the new student to defeat the evil players of Gedo High. Can Jubeh defeat Gedo High, make it to Koshien Stadium for Seido High, get over a childhood trauma, reunite with his family, and carry a tune? Watch to find out. :)

Yes, you guessed it. This movie is part musical with full-fledged break out in song moments. You'd think it awkward for both the actor on-screen and yourself sitting through it, but actually its very entertaining! Battlefield Baseball is full of awesome side characters, convenient and hilarious story-lines, and there's a few familiar faces from the movie Versus if you're watching closely. *Hint, Hideo Sakaki is one of the Gedo players.*

This is not a serious movie by any means, please don't take it seriously and you should really enjoy it. For an adaptation of a manga it was very good. I really hope they get to do a sequel. If you want to see not only a comic book movie, but a Japanese comic book movie, watch this. If you like things over the top and hilariously convenient with crazy lines and characters watch this. Or if you're like me and can't get enough of Tak Sakaguchi and would like to see him in something where he isn't just there to look cool, watch this movie! It was well worth my money.

*Dubbing is for suckers so I wouldn't know if this comes in a dubbed version, anyway, this review is based on the subtitled version.*
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