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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Sonny Chiba vs Yusuaki Kurata (the Japanese master from 'Heroes of the East' and 'Fist of Legend').Oct. 16 2007
- Published on Amazon.com
That is right, you did read the title correctly, both of these guys are still making movies!
This movie is all about Japanese Buddhist legends. I will go over the plot briefly because if I go on for too long it will just turn into gibberish since I have no idea what I am talking about. Some demon is killing a a lot of people. He wears a hockey mask like Jason and has superhuman strength. The guy who controls the demon has been after some ancient seal for many years. Yusuaki Kurata plays a priest who is trying to stop him and he guards a 5-story pagoda. They have a ceremony at the pagoda every 12 years called a sealing ceremony and it helps to keep vengeful spirits from invading our world. The guy who controls the demon is trying to stop the ceremony from happening so that the vengeful spirits can take over the earth. Plagues, wars, disasters..., all kinds of bad thing will happen if the sealing ceremony doesn't take place. All humans will be ruled by the vengeful spirits. Kurata sends a young woman to gather the grandchildren of 7 legendary monks, and the young people form their own group of 7 to fight off the evil. Sonny Chiba finally comes into the story more than half way into the movie. Kurata tries to get Chiba to help them but Chiba is reluctant because he doesn't believe this is a fight that can be won. I don't want to talk about the plot anymore because I am rambling a bit, but I will say that the ending is odd. The entire movie is pretty crazy.
This movie is a strange blend of comedy and drama, but it is mainly a comedy. I laughed out loud at least a few times. The story is not told expertly, but I think the director just wanted to make a fun movie with some good supernatural action.
Now to the fight scenes, which is the main reason why I am reviewing this movie. The first fight is incredible. Somehow they make the hockey mask guy's superhuman strenth look believable. He takes on about 100 guys (seriously, I am not exaggerating) and just rips through them with his bare hands with no problem at all. Then when he picks up a stick it really gets ugly for the guys trying to fight him. It is an awesome fight scene, and is a full 5 minutes long. It is definitely the best fight of the movie. Some of the punches and kicks look a bit weak, but that can be forgiven. The most amazing thing about this fight is that there is not a single cut. It is all one take. You have to see it to believe it. I am guessing this was inspired by the restaurant scene in Tony Jaa's 'Tom Yum Goong'.
The next fight is comedic and a girl takes care of about 5 guys with ease. Only about a minute long. She pulls out a 3-section staff briefly and has a cool move where she jumps up and puts her legs around a guy's neck and brings him to the ground.
There is not another major action scene for a VERY long time. The next major fight has Kurata against the guy with the hockey mask. Kurata puts up a pretty good effort. Only about 30 seconds long, but it is a very good brutal fight. Kurata is 60 years old when this movie was made, but he doesn't fight like he is 60. He's one bad old man.
SPOILER ALERT. The last fight has Sonny Chiba against Yusuaki Kuarata (who has now become a demon). This is somewhat of a magic battle, but they have some really good exchanges. Chiba recently announced that he is done making action movies because his body can't take it anymore, but he looks pretty good in this fight. Kurata looks awesome. This is a great fight and it goes on for about 4 minutes. The only other time these 2 have ever fought on screen was in the 1980 TV show Shadow Warriors - The Complete First Season.
There are a few other fights, but I only went over the ones worth mentioning.
I don't know anything about the company who is releasing this DVD (Westlake), but the Japanese DVD I saw has very good picture quality.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Pleasantly Cheesy ComedyJuly 15 2009
- Published on Amazon.com
I can only add a little to the other, very thorough review. Despite the great fight scene with Kurata and Chiba, someone looking for the Chiba of "Streetfighter" will be disappointed because this really is a different kind of movie.The English title makes it sound like a serious movie, but this is all comedy. The Japanese title, "Master of Thunder", is written in a cartoon font that makes the viewer immediately aware of it. The group that fights the demon are different stereotypes of modern Japan; an "Otaku" geek, an anime girl who works in Akihabara, an African (who is portrayed in a rather racist manner), and so on. An enjoyable tongue-in cheek-commentary on youth in Japan using traditional Japanese themes of cooperation,loyalty and friendship.
Rating: 3.5/ 5 stars.
Special features include stills, filmographies (severely truncated for Chiba and Kurata) and Biographies. The behind the scenes featurette is interesting enough, but not subtitled.