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Death Trance

Tak Sakaguchi , Honoka Asada , Yűji Shimomura    R (Restricted)   DVD
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Product Description

Product Description

In an unknown place and unknown time, a master Samurai known only by the name of Grave (Tak Sakaguchi) searches for the ultimate battle. Never showing fear for any fight, Grave is the one and only swordsman able to steal the mysterious and legendary coffin from the holy Tougan Temple. In this world without reason, a young girl from the temple grounds follows Grave and the coffin whereever they may go. And so begins the deadly race to re-capture the coffin and its hidden power from Grave for good or evil.

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Most helpful customer reviews
By Sorpse
Format:DVD
the first half of death trance is basically a keep away/ capture the flag type game with a chest and it actually took me a while to get used to the style of the movie. Sometimes the action was pretty cool with over the top fake crazy fight scenes, but then sometimes it was really lame with terrible moves such one move one of the characters used quite frequently where he would land ten or so quick blows to the mid section of the enemies. The move was just terrible and made each scene look stupid, there was also at least twice where one guy would miss his punch clearly by at least a foot but his enemy would still fall back. Its hard to look passed these mistakes but luckily there are so many crazy characters and settings and an all around zaney style to everything that it does redeem itself to some extent. One thing i found weird was that i would find it hard to believe that the creators of this movie didnt purposely make the handle of the sword to look identical to a large throbbing vaney penis. I'm going to look up a little more about this movie because that had to have been on purpose, quite odd. but yeah by the end of the movie i actually found it to be quite unique and entertaining and i definatly dont regret watching it...
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.6 out of 5 stars  26 reviews
38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This divisive film drips style! Feb. 6 2007
By A. Reid - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Even in my house, this film gets mixed reviews. My husband found it mediocre. He walked away with a puzzled sense of incompletion, while I'm left wanting to chew over metaphor, color, design. I loved it.

Maybe it has to do with what you're looking for. Great acting? Not really. Tak Sakaguchi is gorgeous, but seems fairly stiff. He doesn't stray far here from his role in _Versus_ (which I also loved.) Great plot? Not if what you're looking for is a traditional, linear story. Familiarity with Japanese mysticism could help; the writers presume a certain knowledge base that many western viewers will lack. But more than that, they allow viewers to interpret elements on their own...or not. My husband saw meaningless distraction in the emphasis on hunger; I saw metaphor, pointing to an insatiable appetite of a different kind. The cyclical plot made sense to me in the context of reincarnation/rebirth.

I think the plot as given is a template; you can use the little details dropped through the story to build something grander for yourself...but you don't have to, because arguably the story isn't the point. This film is much about style over substance. It's all sensation--sounds, visuals, movement. Sometimes it's heavy-handed and clumsy, yes, but on balance it does an excellent job. It's like an early Mark Romanek video, "Closer" with martial arts. Set design, color and costume are at least as important as dialogue. Composition is striking, but organic. Why are these women dressed like that? Who cares? In the universe of _Death Trance_, they belong!

A lot of different influences seem to have gone into this production. The director and star share a deep love of traditional Japanese set pieces, the "jidaigeki" epitomized to Western audiences in the work of Akira Kurosawa. (Trivia: George Lucas cobbled the word "jedi" out of the name of this genre). In the "making of" documentary on the disc, both discuss their desire to update the form with the inclusion of modern (but highly stylized) weaponry. George Miller's _Mad Max_ seems to have played some part in informing the aesthetic of the film, as far as some of the costuming at least. Even the "spaghetti western" makes an appearance, with Grave a post-apocalyptic Django hauling his coffin of death behind him.

I found the movie tremendous fun. For the most part bloodlessly violent (ENDLESSLY violent), it was an adrenaline release with just enough suggestion of more to set fire to my imagination. I recognize it won't suit all tastes (didn't suit the husband's), but I will certainly be recommending it to my friends. And watching it with them, when I can.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I love it so much ;_; July 20 2006
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
It's kind of like Versus, except with more plot, less gore, and Tak looks a lot prettier (if that were possible). It is genuinely funny and very fast paced, so that you don't even notice 90 minutes pass by. The action is awesome, as it should be since Tak was the action director. I can't stop watching it over and over, and already infected my friends with it. The only possible problem is the ending, which is very frustrating and offers no resolution, so be prepared.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 10 feet tall and eats babies? No, Tak's not that scary. July 3 2006
By K.M. Viglione - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Death Trance, starring Tak Sakaguchi in the lead role of Grave, a master samurai who has stolen the coffin that keeps the Goddess of Destruction imprisoned. His goal is to release her in order to fight the ultimate battle. Such is the synopsis on the back of the box, and that's pretty much all there is to the movie.

Like Versus, Death Trance doesn't rely on an in-depth script or complicated plot to progress what story it has. Mostly, Death Trance is a fighting movie. Everyone is fighting at some point, and everyone wants to get their hands on Grave's stolen coffin. There's Sid, played by Kentaro Segeal (sp?), a monk from the Temple named Ryuen, and a woman who knows the true story about the coffin. Following the coffin regardless of who has it is a little girl from the temple.

There seem to be attempts at making the plot interesting, but the story's synopsis on the box is pretty much it's own spoiler. Other minor characters talk about rumors about grave, saying that he's a giant man who plans to eat the little girl later. Other rumors are that the opened coffin can grant any wish you desire. Obviously these aren't true, and it doesn't make much sense that these keep being repeated.

Grave is well-played by Tak Sakaguchi, whose acting skills have certainly improved since his days on Versus. This is also his first lead role since Versus and Battlefield Baseball. An interview with Tak, which is one of the two major extra features on this disk, reveals how he tried to protray the character and what he thought of him. There's also a "making of" feature which is actually pretty short and half of which are just repeated of the Death Trance trailers and some of Tak's interview.

As said, there's not much of a story or plot, but if you're into martial arts action and enjoyed Versus, you'll like Death Trance. Fights with swords, staves, guns and even a bazooka can be seen. Despite having the air of a period piece, there's lots of modern action and items. (Grave's special weapon prior to recieving a sword is a long rifle that he keeps in a sword sheath.) There are other supernatural aspects as well. Some of the odd opponents that Grave faces are a group of vampires that are almost like spiders in that they built their own giant web in the forest.

Sid's motivation for the coffin is actually surprising once it's revealed. He's a rather dynamic character, and it's a shame he's not in action for very long. Ryuen is rather flat, mostly still overwhelmed with the task assigned to him and really needs to calm down. The female samurai seems to know a great deal but never lets on much until the end. The role that the little girl plays is hard to figure out, and once the Goddess is released from the coffin, she vanishes.

In conclusion, if you liked Versus, you'll probably also like Death Trance. This movie is actually a little more surreal than Versus, and that is really what sets them apart.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At long Last anonther GOOD film starring TAK SAKAGUCHI July 1 2006
By Japanzie - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
For those of us who LOVED "VERSUS" and have been waiting for TAK to star in the sequel... "Death Trance" will definitely suffice in the meantime. The Director of "Death Trance" was also the Action Director in Versus, which was 90% of what made Versus so good to begin with, so Imagine that 90% plus, Tak Sakaguchi, the other 10% needed to make the movie great.

On a plot scale it rates about a 3 out of 5, but the action scenes, the tributes to Versus and the great camera angles and zooms dedicated to continually making TAK look great, are enough to call this movie a keeper. It's FUNNY, FAST, and Tak introduces his stunt team "ZERO" (meaning zero casualties) who basically, don't pull their punches when they work. So talk about a huge touch of realism to any action movie, when the star and his stunt people are really hitting each other! It's just a really FUN and entertaining movie. And with the way they end it, you are left wanting MORE!
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Only if you like Tak and Dir en grey... Oct. 8 2006
By J. Marsh - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
This movie is funny, sometimes intentionally, most of the time not, just like Versus, which well... is one of my favourite bad movies of all time. Versus 2 should be good, since Ryuhei Kitamura has improved considerably over the years... but I digress, you're here for Death Trance, or Tak Sakaguchi...

Tak Sakaguchi is the best bad actor in Japan, and you will probably only like him if A.) You watch anime or read manga. or B.) You like hot guys. I am an A-type Sakaguchi lover. He has a very animated look to him and is surprisingly a good action director, with his "Zero Team."

The other reviewers I'm sure have summed up the weird sub-par story, so I'll skip directly to the soundtrack and DVD features. The soundtrack is performed by the amazing Japanese Rock/Metal band "Dir en grey." If the well-choreographed action scenes don't rock your socks off, then the soundtrack will. As for the DVD, the menu music is great, and there is a great interview with Tak Sakaguchi who talks about his experiences. It is very entertaining and some of the best documentary material I've seen recently.

Only watch this film, if you like Tak, Dir en grey, and taking a chance on a movie. Whether this movie is Great or Horrible (yet hilarious) is up to you. There are only two bad actors in the film, and one of them has a very small part. The other one has a co-starring role, and is armed with a bad haircut and some sort of missle launcher.

No matter who you are, this movie definately leaves you thirsting for a sequel, just like Versus did.
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