Saturday, November 12, 2005

Review of "Returner"

From the back cover:  "Eighty years in the future, time is running out for mankind.  The only hope rests with a brave time traveler who must return to the past to change history...and alter Earth's destiny.

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 (to October 2002).  With the Alien Wars set to begin in 72 hours, she tricks Miyamoto, skilled martial arts expert and gunman, into joining her cause.  Together the two launch an all-out assualt on the local crime lord who's holding a captured spaceship - and 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 actions."

This was a pretty good scifi movie.  I enjoyed it, and don't regret buying it.  My only real complaint is that it should have been edited down a little more...or there should have been more action scenes to keep up the necessary fast pace for this sort of movie.  As it was, at times it seemed to drag on. 

The special effects were excellant, although the gun handling was a little too unrealistic for my taste.  There were times when no one seemed to aim as they shot, and in fact there was a lot of jerking of gun barrels that made it look kind of cheesy at times.  However, I must also add that their were some sequences in which the gun handling was excellent and steady, as it should be.

The acting seemed good, although it felt a little anima-ish.  It fits pretty well considering the genre.  You won't like this movie if you're not a scifi fan.  I could be wrong about that, but I doubt it.  If you didn't like StarShip Troopers 2, you probably won't like this either.  It's better, but not by much.  It is low-budget scifi at it's best, but still low budget.  I used to hate the stuff until computers started doing wonders for the effects.

Anyway, I give it a thumbs up.  I know I'll watch it again sometime.  I liked the hero.  That's important.  You'll put up with a lot of shit if you like the hero  (it was the only reason I put up with the way over-animated effects in The Matrix: Reloaded).

Also, it borrows a lot of ideas from some better known scifi movies such as The Terminator and The Matrix, but all this stuff works well.  I kind of liked that, and I think I would like to see some more of these ideas blended together.  The Japanese are probably the only film makers who can get away with it without being called unoriginal.  It seems Japan has a tradition of taking America's ideas (think electronics!) and running with them.  Some times they go overboard, but they do seem to put out some cool stuff.

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