Twisted Minds - Underground Reviews

torsdag 3 maj 2018

RE:BORN (2016)

Directed by: Yûji Shimomura
Written by: Yûji Shimomura
Stars:  Tak Sakaguchi, Yura Kondo, Takumi Saitoh... read more

Country: Japan
Style: Action | Crime | Drama
Runtime: 1h 55min

Tak Sakaguchi, the charismatic action star who burst out into the limelight in Ryuhei Kitamura's Versus in 2000 is back. Tak has acquired a huge following from video game fan boys and lovers of his intense choreography from all over the world. Director Yuji Shimomura who directed Tak in films such as Death Trance and Flash Point has returned to collaborate. Being fairly new to Tak Sakaguchi's work I was highly impressed after watching the trailer for this, deep down inside the kid in me still enjoys some swift and high flying martial arts action. I remember watching the stylish classics of John Woo, early films of Jackie Chan, more recently stuff by Tony Jaa and even more recently stuff like The Raid. It was only Inevitable and a matter of time until I crossed paths with Re:Born.

Re:Born has gotten a U.K. release and can be purchased on the U.K. Amazon and viewed if you possess a region free player because most U.K. blu ray titles as most of you know are region 2 and most North American are region 1. Nevertheless I was lucky enough that producer Shinichi Fujita responded to my request and graciously sent me an online screener.

Re:Born is a beautifully shot piece of film, just dripping in charisma and style. The language is in Japanese with English subtitles which I have absolutely no problem with. I did notice there is some English language snuck in there from time to time which I found interesting. The story is not too complicated but it does take a nice turn especially in one instance and this unravels and explains why things are the way they are, a little back story which I enjoyed.

I've read reviews which discard Re:Born as a simple martial arts vehicle which basically just highlights the stunt and choreography reel of Tak Sakaguchi but I strongly disagree with this sentiment. Re:Born is definitely an ode to a more mature Tak and if anything in his wisdom he has become even more fierce in his delivery and display of finessed martial arts techniques. In Re:Born Tak's character is virtually unstoppable but its done in a very cool and nonchalant way, the kind of thing that makes you laugh and get those little kid goosebumps like the first time you watched an R-rated Van Damme or Steven Seagal action movie in the nineties. It's a great feeling of action nostalgia but done in a very modern and new age fashion. My only hope is that Re:Born eventually gets a domestic North American release so the masses can truly enjoy what is to offer here because it is something great if you love expertly crafted tales of martial arts with an interesting story to back up all that action.

Re:Born tells the story of The Ghost, a legendary special ops solider who disappeared. During a special covert training exercise years later The Ghost returns to kill the soldiers taking part in the training and wound the man leading the exercise. After this occurs we are introduced to a man who goes by the name of Toshiro played by Tak Sakaguchi who runs a little convenience store and takes care of his niece Sachi. Sachi's character played by Yura Kondo really adds a nice soft touch to Re:Born. Toshiro goes through his daily routine and life with Sachi. We find out quickly and its rather obvious Toshiro is the infamous Ghost Soldier as we see from his memories during flashback scenes.

Sachi and Toshiro visit Kenji or uncle Ken as Sachi calls him. Kenji played by Takumi Saitoh seems to have some serious history with Toshiro as he is now disfigured, wounded and bound to a wheelchair. Its not clearly explained why but Kenji saved Toshiro's life back when they were Ghost Ops. All the while The Phantom as he is known has been searching endlessly for Toshiro and has finally found him. The Phantom played by Akio Otsuka was the man who ran the training exercise The Ghost crashed. The Phantom was scarred on his face compliments of The Ghost and among other reasons which are revealed in the film is seeking swift revenge.

Things get ramped up when The Phantom sends some minor assassins to get Toshiro or &The Ghost&. Of course he makes quick work of them but not before doing it with sleek style and not to be fucked with demeanor. One of my favorite scenes in particular has Toshiro walking towards an armed would be assassin in a busy public street as the guy has a concealed gun with a silencer placed in a case taking shots at Toshiro while he dodges them in real time!

The real action sequences start full throttle once Toshiro enters the forest in an attempt to invade The Phantoms headquarters and finish things once and for all. Toshiro is also be pursued by an old team mate known as Abyss Walker and the two eventually clash in an outstanding battle. So many great choreographed scenes with gun play, hand-held weapons and more. Kenji sends along a couple of new recruits to help Toshiro which he doesn't need but they dish out some cool action sequences themselves. Tak is the epitome of every bad ass action hero in every film in this one, he lays them all to rest. The real time bullet dodging may sound silly and in some cases the movie is larger than life but you roll with it and just enjoy it.

Re:Born is a martial arts/action fans dream but still manages to deliver a nice intelligent story to match it so people looking for more in depth material with their fury of brutal kicks and broken necks can get into the mix with ease. Its been awhile since I have took in an action/adventure film but Re:Born makes me glad I did, its really a trip of amazing eye opening feats, adventure and comes highly recommended.

My rating: 4 out of 5


Produced by: Shinichi Fujita, Midori Inoue
Cinematography by: Tetsuya Kudô
Editing by: Shinichi Fujita, Yûji Shimomura
Special Effects by: -
Music by: Kenji Kawai
Language: Japanese
Color: Color

Distributor: Eureka Entertainment


Owner of and writer for Twisted Minds. Combined his love for underground films, music and comics with writing in the 90's. Started tape trading the good stuff around that time when originals of Italian classics by Fulci, Argento, Deodato, Castellari and Margheriti were hard to find. Then came German gore by Ittenbach and Schnaas, Mondo movies and Japanese gore such as Guinea Pig and Men Behind The Sun. Written for Violent Maniacs Cage, Mortados Pages Of Filth, ZFE Films With Attitude, Severed Cinema, Goregasmic Cinema, Pophorror & Extreme Horror Cinema.