Returner [DVD] 
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2084. After decades of intense fighting, an alien invasion force is close to destroying what's left of the world. In a last-ditch effort to save the human race, a guerilla fighter named Milly leaps into a waiting Time Shifter. With the Alien Wars set to begin in 72 hours, she tricks Miyamoto, a skilled martial-arts expert and gunman, into joining her cause. Together the two launch an all-out assault on the local crime lord who's captured a spaceshipand imprisoned its extraterrestrial pilot. Now the Returner and her partner must free the captive alien before warships begin to attack the planet in this sci-fi thriller packed with dazzling special effects and blazing martial arts action.
There's not a single original idea in Returner, but that doesn't stop this Japanese sci-fi action thriller from being a whole lot of fun. Combining elements of (what else?) The Matrix , E.T., The Terminator, and Independence Day, plus a dash of Back to the Future (among others), the mayhem begins when scruffy survivor Milly (Anne Suzuki) uses a time portal to leap from 2084--when humans are being systematically wiped out by invading aliens--to 2002, where she hooks up with a gun-slinging maverick (Takeshi Kaneshiro) whose swirling overcoat and hair-trigger attitude make him the live-action equivalent of the quintessential anime hero. Together, they thwart a Yakuza psychopath (played with hilariously laconic nihilism by Goro Kishitani) who's attempting to steal a recovered alien spaceship to exploit its highly advanced weaponry. In its race to avoid an end-of-the-world scenario, Returner throws in just about everything from the sci-fi anime repertoire, and director Takashi Yamazaki blithely and blatantly shifts from juvenile sentiment to violent brutality, resulting in a clash of tones that makes Returner wildly entertaining but decidedly not for children. Utterly derivative but worthwhile for sci-fi and anime fans, it's a noteworthy case of clever recycling, with energy and ammunition to spare. --Jeff Shannon, Amazon.com
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Top Customer Reviews
I love this film and found it totally enjoyable, simply because its a totally original, out there story, done in a simple extremely fun way. If this was a Hollywood movie, it would probably be dubbed "the Action event of the decade, coming this fall" and you would be sick of hearing about it by the time they actually got round to releasing it. Then to find out it was about as groundbreaking as double-sided sticky tape.
The two main charachters are perfect, and something Ive found in many Asian movies is that no matter how cheesy, cliched or corny a scene is, Asian actors/actresses seem to be able to pull it off without you cringing. Theres always emotion, without the stereotypical hero types we see all the time.
There is action and its well done, would have been nice to had a bit more but then would rather watch a film with characters you learn about and grow to like, than a story with characters you know little about, spouting out annoying "one liners" and performing gravity defying martial arts on anyone who "gets in their way".
All in all, this is a film you can watch over and over again, hate to use the term, but this is Pop-corn fodder. The sort of film home cinema was made for. Just sit back, forget all the stress and seriousness in your day and enjoy just under 2 hours of great entertainment.
First things first, this film is a great time filler, it presses almost two hours long which I think is pushing it a little bit but it seems to fly by completly... I didn't look at my watch once during it. The effects were outstanding and certainly showed up the Matrix in my own view. There were hints of other movies in there two, noticebaly Leon, but if you liked Leon, then you will like this and if you liked the Martix too... well this one makes sense.
The plot is pretty simple: a girl coming back from the future to save the demise of the planet from aliens, a pretty tough hitman with revenge on his mind, and a nasty sadistic killer causing all sorts of carnage... There is a mixture of everything in this, and unfortunetly I have to say it is a lil cheesy in places too but that doesn't stop it from being a great film! I think that it has be to seen just for the whole stopping time effect and though that is very Matrix it still looks absoutely amazing.
The cinematography is breath taking, the acting is superb as the main characters have a brilliant chemistry on screen, and the fight scenes are jaw droppingly good and great fun.
If you go in taking this film seriously you'll walk out disappointed, if you go in not expecting much and just a fun film, you will walk away thinking that it was well worth your time! If Sci-Fi and Martial Arts isn't your thing, head elsewhere!
Personally I thought that this was one of my fave films of all time- mentally taxing or not- i look forward to seeing it in my DVD collection in the future.
p.s A big Telly and surround sound would help a lot!
It also delivers some well staged and violent action scenes, a solid cybertech/Industrial soundtrack and a nice streak of gentle humour.
such adventure films are, but it is superior to the Hollywood drivel:
It deals with the issue of child slavery and/or organ harvesting
that Hollywood-catering to the PG-13 clientele-won't touch.
It slows down its frenetic action long enough to develop
the main characters, and shed a tear or two.
It keeps the romantic interest muted and ambiguous.
Last but not least, it makes us think about ourselves:
Does a species which abuses and victimizes children deserve saving
Basically, girl travels back in time, meets cool-dude hitman Miyamoto and tries to save world from alien invasion squads. How can you go wrong?! Well, with Takashi Kaneshiro as the lead <faints> you can't!!
It does have echos of previous movies but Returner just pulls off the moves with so much more style than 'Mr. Neo' could ever do.
All in all, this is a film you can watch again and again. It's just so clever!
...And Takashi Kaneshiro is fantastic!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
this is simply a good bit of entertainment and IMHO unjustly overlooked.
It's hardly original in many ways, but there are elements around the time travel that are... Read more
Part Leon, part ET, and part Terminator; the plot is very much secondary. This is an action movie so if you like explosions, gunfights, car chases, caricature bad guys and Takeshi... Read morePublished on 6 Mar. 2011 by Colt
this film could have been sooooo much better
its pretty good as it is...brainless entertainment....lots of explosions and kung fu... Read more