Category Archives: 1980

Shogun Assassin (1980)

shogun_assassin

At night, we make a fire, and have our tea, and we listen for the ninja, who never make a sound.

— Daigoro

This is the most random pick ever. Shogun Assassin came because I heard that it was banned in Asian markets a couple of years after it was released. I can see why. It is violent. Quentin Tarantino borrowed some of the techniques in this movie for Kill Bill, Vol. 1.

The movie was remastered and released in 2006. The movie is like a Frankenstein. It is cut up of the five “Lone Wolf” movies of the early seventies with Tomisaburo Wakayama as “Lone Wolf”.

The movie is dubbed in English because for some reason American audiences don’t want to deal with reading subtitles. That’s bullshit.

After being betrayed by the Shogun and for the death of his wife, Ogami Itto (Wakayama) brutally slaughters legions of ninja assassins sent by the Supreme Ninja (Kayo Matsuo). Lone Wolf travels the Japanese countryside with his son, Daigoro (Akihiro Tomikawa). There are also the Masters of Death (Minoru Ohki, Akiji Kobayashi, Shin Kishida) that want to kill Lone Wolf.

The movie is a bloodbath of people being cut up like sashimi. Blood spurts out like a fountain. It’s fun.

The English dubbing ruined some of the underline tension of the film. I forgive it because it’s supposed to be a grindhouse kind of flick.

Judgment: If you want to see bloody ninjas, check this film out.

Rating: ***1/2

The Elephant Man (1980)

I am not an elephant! I am not an animal! I am a human being! I am a man!

— John Merrick

I wanted to see The Elephant Man for a long time, but I haven’t had the chance until yesterday. This movie is currently number 86 on the Top 250 films of all time on IMDB.

Nominated for eight Oscars in 1980, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor. It was deserved.

The story takes place in late eighteenth century England. It opens with Dr. Fredrick Theves (Anthony Hopkins) visiting a local freak show where he is intrigued by a hideously deformed man called “The Elephant Man.”

One afternoon, when his trainer, Mr. Bytes (Freddie Jones) beats him with his stick and is placed in the hospital where Theves works to recover.

Over the next couple of months, Theves learns that “The Elephant Man’s” name is John Merrick (John Hurt). Some of Victorian society was so afraid of Merrick that they would scream after seeing his appearance, except for Theves, his wife and Mrs. Kendal (Anne Banecroft), the West End actress that has a wonderful scene with Merrick reciting “Romeo and Juliet”.

This is the first time seeing a David Lynch movie all the way. It was not incomprehensible. I thought that it was going to make a Frankenstein out of the books and make it all weird. It was not. It was very intimate, touching movie.

My judgment: You should see this film. John Hurt’s performance was fantastic.

My rating: ****

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