Samehada otoko to momojori onna
Timid hotel employee Toshiko (Sie Kohinata) decides one morning to flee from
her hentai uncle and manages to crash her vehicle into a car carrying
two yakuza killers. Their target is Samehada (Tadanobu Asano, the super masochist
with the slit cheeks in ICHI THE KILLER), who absconded with 100 million yen
from the mob's "petty cash." Deciding that she never wants to go
back to her old miserable existence, Toshiko teams up with Samehada (who is
actually a marshmallow beneath his tough guy exterior) and the pair try to
stay one step ahead of their pursuers. Determined to have his niece back,
the uncle calls in Yamada (Tatsuya Gashuin), an incredibly nerdy and spastic
throwback who is clearly not cut out to be a killer, despite his high tech
arsenal and gadgets.
Based on the like-named manga by Minetaro Mochizuki, this is another quirky
Japanese black comedy that is low on narrative but filled to the brim with
eccentric characters and offbeat exchanges. The gang boss' son (FREEZE ME's
Shingo Tsurumi) is an obnoxious cretin, with the nose of a bloodhound, who
parades around in a bullet proof suit. The team leader is an icy, unflappable
killer who is phased by nothing...except the fact that people might learn
that he wears a toupee or make fun of his hobby: collecting old aluminum signs.
The creme de la crazies, however, is Yamada, and Gashuin's performance hits
new heights of fey strangeness, particularly when he first catches sight of
Samehada... and instantly falls in love with him! By contrast, Asano and Kohinata
are low-key and genuinely likeable, and it does not take long for the viewer
to really start caring about their fate (particularly during the tense finale).
The editing is especially good, heightening both the humor and the intermittent
bits of drama, and there are a couple of nicely executed twists in the last
reel. Sex and violence levels are uncharacteristically low as these pictures
go, so those desiring the excesses of Miike or Ishii will be shifting in their
seats by the halfway point. Others able to get on the movie's wavelength,
however, will likely find it to be an engagingly bizarre ride..
Cover art courtesy Rapid Eye Movies.
|Rapid Eye Movies #DVD 2003
Dolby Digital 2.0
Sync Sound Japanese Language Track
Optional Subtitles in English and German
10 Chapters (not illustrated and titles only provided
Coded for Region 2 Only
Contains moderate violence, mild sexual violence, mild
sexual content, and coarse language
DVD menu courtesy
Rapid Eye Movies.
BOARD RATINGS AND CONSUMER ADVICE
Hong Kong: IIB
SHARK SKIN MAN AND PEACH HIP GIRL has
been available as a Region 2 NTSC DVD for a couple years. However, like most
Japanese DVDs, it carries a substantial price tag and those with PAL playback
capability now have a more economical alternative in this German release.
However, they will have to do without the anamorphic transfer, Dolby Digital
5.1, and DTS options available on the more expensive disc. The NTSC DVD also
offers a wealth of untranslated extras relating to the movie, while this one
only contains a photo gallery, plus the original Japanese teaser and trailer.
REM's transfer looks a bit soft, with reserved colors, and some grainy night
sequences. The audio is energetic and effective but one still cannot help
but wonder what it would have been like at full tilt. An insert booklet includes
a brief English interview with writer/director Katsuhiko Ishii plus German
notes on the film and an Asano bio in that language. Additional trailers for
AUDITION, DEAD OR ALIVE, PORNOSTAR, ELECTRIC DRAGON 80.000 V, WILD ZERO, and
VISITOR Q round out the deal.
SHARK SKIN MAN AND PEACH HIP GIRL is
available at Poker Industries.
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© John Charles 2000 - 2003. All Rights Reserved.