Thursday, August 26, 2010

Movie Review: Death Trance

Some movies are truly great, delivering amazing stories and characters that stay with you long after the film ends.

2005's Death Trance(subtitled and dubbed), a Japanese-themed fantasy action movie, is not one of these movies. It's pretty bad. But in the end, that's Death Trance's biggest strength: it's so bad that it's good.

The story follows "Grave", a less-than-talkative warrior who steals a giant coffin from a temple and is lugging it through the countryside (to where exactly we're not entirely sure... one of the biggest plot holes is that supposedly anyone who opens the coffin will be granted wishes. Why he's hauling this thing around rather than popping it open the first chance he gets is never explained).

Grave's world is populated by people in a lot of whiteface and eyeliner and shredded clothing, along with a really hot young monk and Steven Seagal's son (seriously). They all do a lot of fighting, mostly over the coffin, while a creepy little girl sits and watches them. Tonfas that double as guns, phallic throbbing sword hilts, and a double barreled sword gun will make you either cringe or laugh as you watch.

Dir en grey, a jrock band infamous for its hardcore rock/death metal//puking-on-stage music, provides the soundtrack, so just when the film starts to feel fantasy-esque, the heavy guitars yank you right back into cheesy 1980s music-video land.

I didn't even try the English dub version, so I leave that world of discovery to others. ^_^;

Death Trance does get points in my book for the fantasy takes on kimono, attractive leads, decent fight scenes, and the female Goth twins. And it gets points for making me laugh. Save it for a free rental (that's what I did!) or anytime you're in the mood for something so bad it's good.

Fans of the director, Yuji Shimomura, who have seen his work as action director in Versus or Devil May Cry 3 may also want to give it a shot.

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