HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
First Love
Countess from Hong Kong, A
Storm Boy
Storm Boy
Frozen II
White Sheik, The
Whalebone Box, The
Hunt, The
Invisible Man, The
Honey Boy
System Crasher
Judy & Punch
Bacurau
Battling Butler
Vivarium
Seven Chances
Dogs Don't Wear Pants
Navigator, The
Knives Out
Hit!
Charlie's Angels
Passport to Shame
Le Mans '66
Keep Fit
Doctor Sleep
Friend or Foe
Brass Target
Mine and the Minotaur, The
Sky Pirates
Syncopation
Sea Children, The
Ghost of a Chance, A
Go Kart Go
Great Buster, The
Seventy Deadly Pills
Wings of Mystery
Treasure at the Mill
VFW
Crime Wave
Terminator: Dark Fate
   
 
Newest Articles
The Whalebone Box: The Andrew Kotting Interview
Being Human: The Elephant Man on 4K UHD Blu-ray
It's! Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 3 on Blu-ray
Put the Boot In: Villain on Blu-ray
The Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 2: Vic Pratt Interview
All the Lonely People: Sunday Bloody Sunday on Blu-ray
Desperate Characters: Beat the Devil on Blu-ray
Chansons d'Amour: Alfie Darling on Blu-ray
Ozploitation Icon: Interview with Roger Ward
Godzilla Goes to Hollywood
Demy-Wave: The Essential Jacques Demy on Blu-ray
The Makings of a Winner: Play It Cool! on Blu-ray
Sony Channel's Before They Were Famous: A Galaxy of Stars
Start Worrying and Hate the Bomb: Fail-Safe on Blu-ray
Completely Different: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 2 on Blu-ray
Bash Street Kid: Cosh Boy on Blu-ray
Seeing is Believing: Being There on Blu-ray
Top Thirty Best (and Ten Worst) Films of the 2010s by Andrew Pragasam
Top of the Tens: The Best Films of the Decade by Graeme Clark
Terrorvision: A Ghost Story for Christmas in the 1970s
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
   
 
  Aragami Postprandial Palaver
Year: 2003
Director: Ryuhei Kitamura
Stars: Takao Osawa, Masaya Kato, Kanae Uotane, Tak Sakaguchi, Hideo Sakaki
Genre: Action, HistoricalBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: A samurai (Takao Osawa) stumbles up to the doors of an isolated temple in the mountains carrying his mortally wounded comrade seeking help. A woman (Kanae Uotani) allows them entry and the samurai staggers in, then collapses on the floor. Some time later he awakes, still in the temple, and wonders what has happened. He soon meets the leader of the establishment, a mysterious man (Masaya Kato) who offers him food and a place to rest until his enemies have stopped looking for him. But there is a debt to be paid, and the samurai won't like it...

For Versus director Ryuhei Kitamura's entry into the two-film Duel project, Aragami was the result, from a script by him and Ryuichi Takatsu. This was the sister film to 2LDK, an idea its producer had when two of the directors of his anthology production finished their segments ahead of time. Both films featured a battle between two people at their heart, and this one was a more traditional Japanese sword fight, with the unnamed samurai and the mystery man, who we discover calls himself Aragami after the God of Battle, as the combatants.

Filmed in a week, the film all takes place on one set as well, but is short enough not to feel too claustrophobic. In fact, the story is a pretty weak excuse for the fighting, and that isn't non-stop by any means, but two amusing performances by the leads carry it through any dips in tension. The samurai realises that he is in a tricky situation when his host ensures he cannot leave, and when he tells him what was in the delicious meal he had been fed he understandably loses his temper.

The reason for that being that his friend, who is now dead, was also the main course. For a man hoping to take the body back for a decent burial, never mind the disgust he feels, the samurai wants to take his revenge, or he does until he finds out that this is exactly what Aragami wants him to do. Yes, Aragami - if that is his name - cannot die except by another's hand, and even then only by having his head cut off or his heart pierced, and he thinks his latest guest is the man for the job.

A side effect of eating human liver, at least the way in which Aragami's womanservant prepares it, is that now the samurai is prone to the same near-invincibility that the would-be god is. This is demontrated on him with the use of a sword, and after he recovers quickly, the stage is set for man on man action. Of the sword fighting variety, of course. It's a simple tale that strays into silliness but Osawa's "What the...?" reactions and Kato's goodnatured and bizarrely reasonable personality make it quite appealing. Only the coda that brings things up to date is a true misstep, and it's a minor work, but entertaining for all that. Music by Nobuhiko Murino.

[The Duel Project is available on Tartan's Asia Extreme Region 2 double disc DVD, along with two featurettes and a trailer.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 4026 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Ryuhei Kitamura  (1969 - )

Talented, prolific Japanese director heavily influenced by 80s horror and action movies, Kitamura makes films in a hyper-kinetic style that favours visceral excitement over tight plotting and character development. His samurai/zombie/yakuza debut Versus was a big festival hit, while subsequent films like Alive, Sky High and the period swashbuckler Azumi provide similar thrills. In 2004 directed the 28th film in the Godzilla series - Godzilla: Final Wars - then the neglected Clive Barker adaptation Midnight Meat Train, with Versus 2 long promised.

 
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 is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
  Butch Elliot
Andrew Pragasam
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Paul Shrimpton
   

 

Last Updated: