Fukkatsu no hi (Day of Resurrection) (The End) (Virus) Reviews
This is not really a movie about saving the world so much as surviving the numerous apacolypses the world can throw at you, even after the entire world population dies at the hands of a super virus, those survivng in Artic research stations(the virus cannot survive the cold) some 8880 men and 8 women(the scene where the women adress how 1 on 1 "relationships" are going to be impossible, is one of the most genuine, poignant, and unique in the film, the apacolypse doesn't hit home till you realize theres 8000 horny scientiests, crawling over each other to play adam and eve, those not-if-you-were- the-last-man-on-earth scenarios horribly reversed.), still have to deal with the fact that both the Russian and American automatic nuclear missle systems are still in operation, and a comming earthquake is liable to force them to launch, one of which is pointed at the Antartic research station. So two men on foot, one Japanese and one American take a trip to DC, to turn off the machine. Alot of the save the world stuff takes place in the last 20 minutes, the rest is all death and survival.
This was at the time of it's release the most expensive Japanese film ever made, and it shows, as we get scenes from Germany, Japan, America, and yes the Antartic, real submarines too. If you sat through "Outbreak", "The Day After Tommorow", and many of the now numerous end of the world films, this wont be anything too new, there are some scenes which are undeniably cheesy(the "walk" at the end).
However, because Ive got a U.S. cut, and U.S. cuts, as a rule of thumb, are generally dumbed down and streamlined, sad but true. So I dont know how to give an acurate review, this movie as it is at the 108 minutes I saw it, was decent with a fair serving of 80's cheese, I have a feeling though with a little more time, this might have felt as epic and grand as it intimates in it's best moments. "Virus" is also a terrible title for this film as well, which has little to do with virus', or bacteriology, it's a good global destruction movie, "The End" is a much better fitting moniker. Director would go on to later success with "Battle Royale".
Note: I picked this movie up because it get's referenced alot in Junot Diaz's "The Brief And Wonderous Life Of Oscar Wao" as the title characters favorite film, and in the right context I can see why.
Starring: George Kennedy, Bo Svenson, Masao Kusakari, Chuck Connors, Henry Silva, Glenn Ford, Robert Vaughn, Stephanie Faulkner, Stuart Gillard, Olivia Hussey, and Edward James Olmos
Director: Kinji Fukasaku
A genetically engineered flu virus sweeps the planet and wipes out all human life, save for a handful of soldiers and scientists at various Antarctic bases and on ships and in submarines. Will humanity be able to rise from the ashes, or is this truly the end?
"Virus" is a pretty decent disaster flick. It might be of particular interest if you were hiding under your bed during the bird flu hysteria of last year, as it describes the sort of pandemic doom that was being predicted, only tenfold. (On the other hand, if you were hiding under your bed, during the bird flu hype, maybe you SHOULDN'T see this movie. You'll never leave your house again.)
While there are a few things about the film I find improbable--foremost among these being the insane Joints Chief commander (Silva) who might have fit in perfectly in "Dr. Strangelove" but who was a foolish figure in a serious movie--the overall film was entertaining, if a little disjointed. (I gather that the version I saw is about 45 minutes shorter than the original running time of 255 minutes (!) so maybe there are missing bits that would have alleviated that feeling. Still... I think that three hours plus of this movie would have been waaaaay too much, so it's hard to say how I might feel about the full-length version.
All in all, this is a pretty good disaster movie. If nothing else, you can play "spot the Big Name Actor/Future Big Name Actor", because this thing is nearly an all-star cast. (Even Sonny Chiba puts in an appearance! Look closely for him!)
That said - I am reviewing the atrocious 103 minute cut which does away with a decent subplot and - worse - actually changes the ending!!
This is was a Japanese version of a disaster film and for a film from Japan - sports some decent name US talent - Glenn Ford, Robert Vaughn, George Kennedy, and even an early appearance from Edward James Olmos.
The basic premise is this - the East Germans (this is during the Cold War, natch) steal a sample of a virus that the US developed. Do a rotten spell of luck, the plane that it is traveling in crashes into the mountains of (apparently) Russia.
Somehow, the thing gets named the Italian Flu and the upshot is that nearly everyone dies on Earth except for some scientist on Antarctica.
Then things go bad...
Seems, the no-longer-existent US had it's automated defense system activated as did the long-dead USSR. This would be so bad, but one of the Japanese scientists figures out that a massive earthquake is due to strike Washington - which will trigger the system.
Oh, by the way, did I mention that the USSR decided to target Antarctica before the virus killed everyone (how convenient).
Well, the acting is not so bad - though the movie itself is pretty disjointed. One imagines that this actually could have been a very good movie in different hands and if the movie itself was so butchered in the process.
Fun level (0 to 10) - 5 (the Japanese cut would be a 7, remember this is a bit of a downer movie - not for the naturally depressed)
Search level (0 to 10) - 5 (the US cut is cheap to find, 10 for the Japanese cut - their is a rather good subplot dealing with the Japanese scientist and also the Japanese ending is not as much of a downer as this one is).
Total Rating: 5
[i]Virus[/i] was directed and co-written by Kenji Fukasaku, who is best known for his [i]Battle Royale[/i] films. The movie centers around the release of a deadly virus that basically kills all but a few of the human population. Now the last survivors struggle to survive and to come up with a cure.
The movie? remember I?m talking about the American cut version? does little to keep your attention. It gets to some really good points, but doesn?t really focus on them enough for you to care about what is going on. I really liked scenes where areas were being scanned for any life, and non were found.
And a scene where a couple hundred men have survived, while only 8 women have survived with them. And this group discusses about how to keep the human population going. But sadly, it is done so fast, you don?t really get a feel for the horror that is going on.
I like disaster movies, but don?t like it when I really don?t care if these people survive or not. And that is what this American cut of the film does. If I can see the extended version of the film, I hope that I like it a little better. Also, some of the acting in this movie was kind of bad. [/font]