HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Lu Over the Wall
She's Funny That Way
Vox Lux
Aftermath, The
Five Fingers for Marseilles
Jupiter's Moon
Favourite, The
Mysteries of the Gods
Coming Home
De Sade
Patti Cake$
Hellbound
Final Destination 2
Romance
Bros: After the Screaming Stops
Cockleshell Heroes, The
Mule, The
Sunday in the Country
Nutcracker Fantasy
Spellcaster
Hipsters
Executive Action
Captain Marvel
Zombie Girl
Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Rhinoceros
Monkey King 3, The
Adventurers, The
Stripped to Kill
Daughter of Dr. Jekyll
Aladdin's Magic Lamp
Christopher Robin
Hole in the Ground, The
Daniel
Blue Christmas
Death Trip
She's Missing
Return of the Soldier
Shaft
Summer Lovers
   
 
Newest Articles
The Hole in the Ground: Director Lee Cronin Interview
She's Missing: Director Alexandra McGuinness Interview
Woo's the Boss: Last Hurrah for Chivalry & Hand of Death on Blu-ray
Get Ahead in Showbiz: Expresso Bongo and It's All Happening
Outer Space and Outta Sight: Gonks Go Beat on Blu-ray
Tucked: The Derren Nesbitt Interview
Locomotion Pictures: The Best of British Transport Films on Blu-ray
Roman Scandals: Extreme Visions from Ancient Rome
Spider-Wrong and Spider-Right: The Dragon's Challenge and Into the Spider-Verse
Monster Dog: Cujo on Blu-ray
For Christ's Sake: Jesus Christ Superstar and The Last Temptation of Christ
Not In Front of the Children: Inappropriate Kids Movies
Deeper into Ozploitation: Next of Kin and Fair Game
Between the Wars: Babylon Berlin Series 1&2 on DVD
Hard Luck Story: Detour on Blu-ray
   
 
  Crusher Joe: The Ultimate Weapon - Ash Hey Joe, say it ain't so!Buy this film here.
Year: 1989
Director: Toshifumi Takizawa
Stars: Hiroshi Takemura, Run Sasaki, Kiyoshi Kobayashi, Noriko Ohara, Issei Futamata, Yoshiko Sakakibara, Kenji Utsumi, Kiyoyuki Yanada, Masashi Ebara, Mikio Terashima, Mitsuo Senda
Genre: Action, Animated, Science Fiction, Adventure
Rating:  8 (from 1 vote)
Review: Stricken with a mysterious illness President Elgarno (voiced by Mikio Terashima) of Planet Bandor is rushed off by an emergency medical team. It is all a ruse so the President, who mistrusts his own cabinet and military, can meet in secret with the galactically renowned rescue team the 'Crushers.' Team leader Joe (Hiroshi Takemura) and his compatriots: beautiful tomboy space princess Alfin (Run Sasaki), hulk-with-a-heart-of-gold Talos (Kiyoshi Kobayashi), hyperactive kid Ricky (Noriko Ohara) and wacky robot Dongo (Issei Futamata) are tasked with rescuing Major Tanya (Yoshiko Sakakibara) who was captured by rebel forces along with the doomsday weapon Ash. So-called because it can reduce an entire planet to ash. Joe and the gang find themselves in a race against time to save Tanya and keep the ultimate weapon from both rebel hands and those of the Bandorian army.

As the first victims of atomic warfare the Japanese have an ambiguous fascination with apocalyptic super-weapons. From the oxygen destroyer in the original Godzilla (1954) to the psychic prodigies of Akira (1988) such apocalyptic imagery reoccurs throughout Japanese science fiction and fantasy, especially in anime. Japanese animation arguably reached its peak in the Eighties at the same time that the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union was at its height. In the midst of all this tension SF anime popularized the notion of Japan, then at the height of its economic affluence and influence, as a global peacemaker. With Crusher Joe science fiction writer Haruka Takachiho took that idea a step further into outer space. "You are a burning flame of hope", President Elgarno tells Joe at one point, a message presumably intended to resonate with young anime fans who felt their nation could and should make a difference in the world.

Crusher Joe: The Ultimate Weapon - Ash was the last of three anime outings for Takachiho's troubleshooting space heroes. While the search and rescue theme made Crusher Joe stand out from most other SF anime this particular installment adds an interesting political dimension with a Cold War subtext. In place of a simplistic good versus evil story (although military stooge Colonel Mardo (Kenji Utsumi) proves an especially despicable character) the story lets both rebels and representatives of order express their ideologies. Both raise valid points but prove equally flawed. Only the Crusher team, in their dogged attempt to preserve the sanctity of all life, exhibit any understanding of the greater good. Even at a mere fifty-five minutes The Ultimate Weapon - Ash has a relatively grandiose scope. It delivers action and spectacle with a distinctly James Cameron feel as both rebel and government forces with vast arsenals of tanks and jet-fighters get taken out by hordes of flying bio-metallic orbs that evolve and self-replicate. Also reflecting Cameron's SF action films is the presence of a formidable female character in Major Tanya. Even when Joe rides to her rescue Tanya stands firm with a take-charge personality and moral conviction. In this instance she arguably makes a bigger impression here than the series regulars.

Fast-paced with dynamic hand-drawn animation, this has suspense and action to spare although its unabashed techno-fetishism and endless explosions occasionally obscure the anti-war message. Nonetheless as with the majority of anime and unlike much western SF satire, this never slips into nihilism and clings fiercely to utopian ideals. After this it was eleven years before Team Crusher returned in a pair of literal manga videos where voice actors read comics aloud. Alas, while there are no shortage of sequels and reboots for Mobile Suit Gundam or Space Battleship Yamato, fans still await a new Crusher Joe adventure.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 904 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
  Derrick Smith
Darren Jones
   

 

Last Updated: