G.I. Samurai (DVD)
Get £1 Off Amazon Video*
What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?
Japanese sci fi action starring Sonny Chiba. A group of Japanese soldiers find themselves mysteriously transported back in time to the sixteenth century and become embroiled in an ongoing fued between rival samurai clans to install their leader as the supreme Shogun. With their modern weapons, will the soldiers be a match for the highly-skilled samurai?
Customers Who Viewed This Item Also Viewed
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
One of the things it has going against it is its running time. At around 2 and a half hours long, even for all of its action it can find itself dragging at points. It is definitely a film that could have stood for some editing down.
That being said however the film is able to juggle its myriad characters fairly well. The JDF men, as well as the various feudal characters, are well established (particularly, unsurprisingly enough, Sonny Chiba as Iba) and when the movie breaks off to follow them in their little subplots the movie makes it interesting...though not interesting enough to where it couldn't have stood being cut.
The action in it...quite simply...is absolutely amazing. As you watch in particular the final battle with the samurai army it is almost impossible not to be awestruck by what you are seeing. It also speaks volumes about the message the film is trying to convey...that the barbarism of the past is not so distant from the "civility" of our present day. This film's action, without a doubt, ranks as some of the best I have ever seen.
The ending could have used a lot of work though. I won't spoil it for anybody but it is pretty damned anti-climactic. In reading the liner notes for the film it stated how the ending was changed from the book since the original ending was common knowledge to almost every Japanese it was so popular. Sadly though, this ending is lost on a poor westerner such as myself who would like to know what the original ending was...because it is probably a whole lot better than what we are given. Not to say it is a horrible ending mind you...just a bit disappointing.
In the end, if you like the action genre you owe it to yourself to check it out.
I found myself laughing more at the bad acting and worse script than anything. If you can believe Sonny Chiba leading a bunch of actors who have never seen a day of actual military service, then you can believe this mess of a film. If you can believe half the stuff these so-called 'soldiers' do back in the Sengoku, then you need to seriously crack a history book and get educated.
I found the 'stopped watches' and the fact that Venus was postioned differently in the sky to be an excellent way of having passed from the Modern day into the Sengoku period. What really killed the illusion was the cheesy special effects to convey that. The music was, at best, inappropriate most all throughout the film. I also couldn't fathom the two or three rape scenes [one would have been very ample]. Also to see Uesugi Kenshin laughing like an idiot on drugs stretches things out of the realm of the possible. I was rooting for the tank, helicopter, half-track and all the other paraphenalia of these 'soldiers' to break down or get destroyed simply to end the misery of this film. The period costumes for the Uesugi and Takeda armies were, from what I saw, mostly well done.
By the way- a lone man of comparatively no-name able to challenge a Daimyo like Takeda Shingen, then take the man's head? I'd have to think Takeda's Hatamoto would have made human sashimi out of him and Shingen wouldn't have wasted the breath on this idiot.
G.I. Samurai could have succeeded with a better script, better acting and a more believable plot. Then again, it would seriously trash the comedic value of this whole affair.
G.I Samurai is so bad that it'll leave you wincing and laughing at the same time.
Of course, things don't go as planned, and even superior firepower doesn't stand up as well as hoped to thousands of soldiers. Even before that, the soldiers are falling out with each other into those who want to go home, those who want to go to war and those who want to rape and pillage for the Hell of it.
Impressively directed and surprisingly well thought through, the soft rock and country and western songs are sometimes a distraction, especially when they feature English lyrics sung by Japanese singers who audibly can't pronounce the words let alone speak the language, but it's a forgivable flaw in a surprisingly good sci-fi actioner.
From here the movie kind of drags on for a while but I have to say that this is different than any Chiba movie I have seen before. While you think it is gonna get super boring like Ninja Wars, they actually take the time in this mvoie to develop the characters so that when someone dies or betrays the troop, you will actually feel something. And recognizing family members is a huge thing in this movie. Many of the soldiers give up and decide to just live it out in ancient times(the warrign period). The others think that if they change history by winning a war then they will have to be warped back into time. By the end the director realizes he has to wrap things up and the ending is a bit deeper than you may think but I too would have liked to know the real ending, becasue I bet it was just a bit more exciting than this.
This movie is certainly not for everybody, I am surprised to say that this is a really good "movie". Plenty of great action sequences, but too many guns. So I ask you, if you were brought back in time with a whole bunch of guns during a time when there was not a single day with no fighting going on, what would you do?
The dvd is from the distributor Adness is very good. Not widescreened like it says on the box but is in a very good 16:9 format. Picture is a bit washed out but really no flaws at all. Sound quality is good and the music itself is just weird. If you have seen Shogun's Ninja and Ninja Wars, then you know what type of music to expect, though in this movie it almost makes sense.