The Guard from Underground (1992)
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Critic Reviews for The Guard from Underground
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Audience Reviews for The Guard from Underground
I watched this a while ago when Flixster hadn't added it yet, and it's a decent slasher, but nothing that'll stick with you. This is a humble beginning for Kiyoshi Kurosawa, an auteur of distinct style who continues to go utterly undernoticed. There's probably no real value in this except for fans of his.
Well picked up this film from Artsmagic DVD web site (http://www.artsmagicdvd.com) The Japanese Film Specialist. I often just go to a web site and pick a film they feature. This one was made in 1992, and the first thing that came to mind when watching this film, is didn't Japan have Cell Phones in 1992. I am sure they did. Anyway its a B Type Movie, some call it a Eighties Slasher Flix, but I can't put it in that category, as there was very little slashing. Ex Sumo Wrestler is hired by security company and he turns into a serial killer, why, I have no idea as movie didn't explain that. But he?s a huge guy, my guess ex-Japanese Wrestler. Not much slashing but a lot of Bone breaking, I mean Snap, the bone is broken in half. The Film I review had English Subtitles, but no English Language except for Directors Comments. All in All a decent film but not much over 3 1/2 Stars.
[font=Palatino Linotype]Kiyoshi Kurosawa's 1992 crazed-sumo slasher film isn't so much a "predecessor" to his later genius, as often written, [i][b]Guard from the Underground[/b][/i] simply exists in Kurosawa's body of work as equally engaging. A little rough around the edges but it maintains. As a giant fan of his style, I saw the 2nd-hand copy and snatched it. [/font] [font=Palatino Linotype] [/font] [left][font=Palatino Linotype]The basics: A small art dealership opens and is quickly in need of some expertise on the art itself. Imagine that! A young woman responds and gets the job and discovers the office is home to a [i]hands-on[/i] boss, a [i]yes-man[/i], a scatterbrained owner, along with a couple of real good people who love art and delivering on their client's needs. The blood begins to flow (literally) during a second storyline where one of the building security guards confronts a subordinate over billions lost, and yet unpaid, to the former. There's no chance he's able to repay. For reason never explored, a near 7-foot former Sumo champion (not the morbidly obesce sort either, a fit & trim 7 ft., and crazy a hell), the third wall of the building's security triangle, snuffs out the book-maker. As luck would have it, one murder just doesn't satisfy him. Bad news for those up-and-coming art mogals...[/font][/left] [left][font=Palatino Linotype][/font] [/left] [font=Palatino Linotype][/font] [left][font=Palatino Linotype]Sure it's low on story and depth of character, but the Kurosawa hallmarks are present...if you look closely. Besides the art discussion amongst the employees ([i]'what makes a painting valuable?[/i]', [i]'is a masterpiece by a lesser artist worth more that a lesser painting by a master?[/i]'), Kurosawa's cinematography harkens to great paintings itself! [/font][url="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/c/c9/Goya_-_Saturno_devorando_a_su_hijo.jpg/300px-Goya_-_Saturno_devorando_a_su_hijo.jpg"][font=Palatino Linotype]Goya's [i]Saturn Devouring His Children[/i][/font][/url][font=Palatino Linotype] is prominantly placed in several scenes, which draws obvious comparisons to the Sumo giant-killer. The hallmark of later Kurosawa films is the steady, contemplative camera shots; here, we witness them in an abreviated form. Two examples of this which also work the art appreciation angle are near, and at, the films conclusion. As a few of the employees are trapped with the Sumo-killer in a small office, the blade from a paper-cutting device is dislodged and ultimately used to chop at the [i]giant's[/i] neck. The camera stalls to paint a brief portrait, not unlike the scads of [i]Judith and Holopherne[/i] works. A second obvious reference is where the [i]'survivors'[/i] [i]go home[/i]; witness Camille Pissarro's [i][url="http://www.kunstkopie.de/images/product-pics/artist/pissarro1/pissarro_der_bergweg_l_hermitage.jpg"]Climbing path, L'Hermitage Pontoise[/url][/i] or to a lesser degree Giorgione da Castelfranco's [i][url="http://www-personal.umich.edu/~mxb/images/hi_ren_giorgione_tempest.jpg"]The Tempest[/url][/i]! Life's randonness and inexplicability on display! All in all a good primer for new students of Kurosawa.[/font][/left]
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