Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Gangster

Saw this Thai gangster flick called -- wait for it -- The Gangster (2012). Actually there are a bunch of gangsters in it, but the main character is a super-tough guy named Jod (Krisada Sukosol Clapp). All of the gangsters portrayed were real guys, and the film is intercut with old farts who knew them reflecting on their hijinks.

Actually, "hijinks" is way too light a word for the kinda shit these guys get up to. This is one of the more violent films you're likely to see any time soon. It starts out in the early 60s, when it was just knives and clubs and Elvis hair (these guys had a serious hard-on for Elvis) and runs into what looks to be the early 70s, by which time it was all long hair and guns … lots of guns.

Violence doesn't just explode in The Gangster, it erupts! And, of course there are the usual turf wars and rivalries within gangs leading to treachery. The ending is a bloody barn-burner. I don't want to be Mr. Spoiler, so I'll just say it plays out like a Shakespearean tragedy, if you get my meaning. OK, so I spoiled it for the English majors, but the rest of you nudnicks are in for a shock.

I didn't know what to expect with The Gangster. I'd never heard of it; Netflix assigned it to me. But I'm really glad I saw it, and I encourage those who like Asian cinema and gangster films to give it a go.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Sadako 3D

Just when you thought you'd seen the last of Sadako, that creepy, long-haired ghost girl from all those Ring films, well here she comes again. And in 3D no less. Seems the Japanese are taking a page from the Hollywood playbook and providing a sequel no one was asking for.

Sadako 3D (2012) is about a guy named Kashiwada (Yusuke Yamamoto) who wants to resurrect Sadako. He manages this by throwing a bunch of girls down the same well she crawled out of. Then he makes a video of himself being killed by the ghost and somehow, even though he's dead, manages to post it online. And guess what happens if you watch it? Yep, you DIE. Our Miss Ghost reaches right out of your cell phone and pushes you out the window (or whatever).

Seems that although Sadako is back in action, she needs a human host to inhabit, and has chosen pretty high school teacher Akane (Satomi Ishihara). But Akane has powers of her own ...

Actually, the film isn't that bad. It's got some good jump scares and a very interesting innovation on the Sadako brand towards the end involving a monstrous, quasi-insectoid variation on the young lady that's truly unsettling. Plus the usual array of 3D gags where stuff jumps out at you -- always fun. Should be streaming on Netflix any day now.