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A juvenile gang warfare flick that displays some of the best bare-knuckle fight sequences to ever be committed to celluloid. If you liked Raging Bull then try to imagine the gloves off with no holds barred fighting in the rain soaked mud with about two hundred adolescent boys brawling, packing punches like Apollo Creed and Rocky whilst delivering kicks to make Tony Jaa look like a wet weekend at band camp. Genji is the new pupil just arrived at Suruzan High school with a mission bestowed upon him by his Yakuza father - to take control of all the gangs and become the first ever leader in the schools history of violence. Serizawa and his gang of one hundred members, thinks he is the "King Of Beasts" but there are certain pupils he avoids like the mysterious loner and oddly supernatural Rinda Man. Serizawa's best friend Tokio advises him on all of his decisions and is about the only nice kid who attends this school of delinquents. Miike expertly uses this character as his metaphor to hit home the fact that nice guys finish last and only the survival of the fittest will succeed. Bando is the leader of the biker leather wearing clad that will ultimately tip the balance if they decide to get involved and relinquish the rights to claim the top spot.
Crows Zero is based on the popular Japanese Manga publication Crows and this is episode Zero giving us a glimpse of some of the main characters that are about to become more prominent in the sequel. The ending to this first installment leaves you on the edge of your seat pondering what meyhem is to follow. Team Miike are firing on all cylinders with this being their most explosively violent and utterly compelling feature since Ichi the Killer. Do not be put off by the trailer, like I almost was, which fails dismally in capturing the essence of this plucking brilliant flick.
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Genji and friends are great teen cool cats who live to fight, and fight to live. Yet another Manga turned into live action (but is this just one for the boys?), Hard to say. What i liked about the film was that every gang had character, and there was no ripping off arms or spitting out teeth. The side stories of their friends (both Genji and Serizawa) added to the story, and the whole thing although juvenile, was well filmed with enough action and coolness to make you either root for Genji or Serizawa. It's really a movie for teenagers, and a few things don't make sense (like where's the teachers and education? Why bother turning up at all when you can walk out the gate?)But maybe the other kids are just too scared of their leaders not to turn up!
Pros - Cool gangs beating up each other....A pretty good Manga live film, 3 and a half stars.
Cons - Too much music at beginning and end. The last fight is ruined by showing a girl singing in a night club AS the boys have a punch up elsewhere! Would have liked some background on Genji and Serizawa. And what kind of school is this with no lessons or teachers? Would like to know why these kids think that fighting is the only thing worth doing....but i guess it's just a film.
The dvd frame seems a little slow in place ( I realize this is sometimes due to effects) but it seems a bit stutter y, and the picture isn't as crisp has i would like for a fairly new item - 2007. This was most noticeable on my first viewing. Also the disc although region 2 would only play on one of my four dvd players (no problem on computer). Hope the Blu-ray is better. Worth watching for something a little different.
This is Miike at his very best. You might think that fight scenes are so run of the mill that they can't have anything new to offer.... but that view of course underestimates what Miike is capable of. Expect little unexpected innovations all the way through... and a new way forward for ten pin bowling which is only likely to work in Japan....
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The dvd actually arrived before expctd delivery time but dvd case was warped which is a shame coz it came with a really cool outer sleeve. No other problems may i add, altough this was the same story for the other dvd i ordered from them...a very tight vacuum packed envelope had caused the cases to warp slightly..not a major prob but if you have O.C.D like me it's something that'll always nip at you. Could've been avoided