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"The Bullet Train" is an exhilarating suspense movie with realistic depictions of bullet train operations, a believable story featuring characters with clear motivations, and a life-like (and somewhat cynical) look at police tactics. This was the inspiration for the movie Speed, but should be appreciated on its own merits. The main criticism people have of the film seems to be it is marketed as a Sonny Chiba film when he really has a secondary role as the train conductor. The sentiment is he was miscast, even though he is quite good in the role. High-quality suspense film, overall.
Something real interesting is going on in here and I want in on it
A Japanese bullet train has been loaded with a dynamite bomb with a timer that will cause it to explode if the train reaches a speed below 80 mph (I could have the speed measurement wrong). Because of the speed of the train, no one can come on or off the train and the train will have to be cautious when driving through cities until someone can figure out how to locate and disarm the bomb.
"It's turning out to be a real rotten little deal."
Junya Sato, director of Lost in the Wilderness, Dream of Russia, Golgo 13, The Private Police, The Ando File, The True Account of Ginza Tortures, and Never Give Up, delivers Bullet Train. The storyline for this picture will remind viewers of a cross between Pelham One Two Three and Speed. The acting is surprisingly solid and the cast includes Sonny Chiba (in a very limited role), Ken Takakura (Black Rain), Kei Yamamoto (Premonition), Eijo Go (The Executioner), Yumiko Fujita (Time and Tide), Etsuko Shihomi (Karate Bear Fighter and The Bodyguard), and Fumio Watanabe (Scorpion: Female Prisoner Cage #41).
"The bomber will take the money and let the train explode anyway?"
While this movie is part of the "Kill Chiba" collection, I hardly consider this a Chiba picture. He barely appears in this film at all; however, the villain delivers a solid performance and makes up for a lack of Chiba. The ultimate plot and sub plots make the film worthwhile. I will say the film is a little slow and does not come across as dramatic as the director may have intended, but I still found this film entertaining.
"I can take a lot more than you can ever give out."
More Chiba than anyone could possibly need, and that's the beauty of this box set.
I started off with Bullet Train. See if this sounds familiar. Train runs at 120 km/h. If it slows down below 70, it blows up. That's right, they did the same thing with a bus in Speed. Here, it's less about the heroics of the lead characters than it is about police procedure - methodically trying to beat the bomb-planter in a race against a speeding train before it runs out of track.
And the passengers - the stakes are high - there's 1,500 people on this thing. And once they get wind of what's going on with the train and why it isn't stopping - hysteria! And there's nobody that does hysteria quite like Japanese people.
And another thing - for a movie in a Sonny Chiba box set, there isn't much Chiba in this. He is the train driver, but doesn't have much to do except sit there and take orders from the guys in the train center. He does have his moment, though, when it comes time to cut a hole in the floor of the train to get at the bomb.
The real star is Ken Takakura (Japan's "Clint Eastwood) as the bomb-plot's mastermind. The story really gets into his character and why he's doing what he's doing.
Next up was Golgo 13: Kowloon Assignment. This is crazy exploitive action fare, based on a manga. So it's very cartoonish. Chiba plays the world's No 1 assassin, who can make any shot, no matter how far-fetched.
The thing that's infuriating about this disc is that it was an international production, and skips across the globe, from Miami, to Tokyo to Hong Kong and Macao, yet there's only the Japanese soundtrack, when there are times when it's clear that ain't the language that's being spoken.
Otherwise, on all these releases by Optimum, the picture and sound are clean and clear. Flawless, really.
Last up is the best of the box: GI Samurai. It's a mixture of Twilight Zone, Apocalypse Now, Return of the Jedi and any number of samurai epics.
Chiba is a lieutenant in charge of some Japanese Defense Force reserve troops out for a weekend drill. Suddenly, they notice their watches have all stopped at 5.18. And Venus isn't where she should be. And then things get all supersaturated and weird. And they notice that something's different when some guys in 16th century armour come up on horses.
They look out of place with their US-issued fatigues and steel-pot helmets. But the machine guns (including a mounted 50 caliber on a half-track), a tank, a helicopter, a patrol boat, a jeep and troop truck have their advantages.
Chiba finds that he and his men are caught in a feudal war and aren't sure whose side to take. And should they mess in their affairs of the past? What if they kill one of their ancestors?
The men in Chiba's command start to break away. Some guys go into the forest, and find some ninjas swooping down at them out of the trains.
Some other guys mutiny and take the patrol boat and go tear-assing around fuedal Japan, looking for the shit, stealing food, raiding villages - raping and pillaging.
Chiba has to put a stop to that the only way he knows how - by dangling from a rope below the helicopter.
Eventually, he decides to chance it. He throws in with the more courageous and charismatic of the feudal leaders and gears up for battle.
At first, it seems Chiba and his men, with all their technology, have the edge. But they are facing more men than they imagined, and soon they are overwhelmed. Logs are rolling down cliffs, traps are laid for the vehicles and so on. Some Ewok-style guerrilla tactics make it rough on the modern-day warriors.
I'd give GI Samurai a 10 if it weren't for the weird pop soundtrack that is very incongruous to the goings on, on the screen. Like the happy song when the guys on the boat are raping the women, and so on.
The Film That Inspired "Speed". This Is better than "Speed" Could ever be, and I love "Speed". I guess Sonny Chiba is just more interesting than Keanu Reeves.
Japanese suspense film was evidently inspiration for the American film SPEED, but at 2 1/2 hours, the suspense and rather weak subplots wear thin; action star Sonny Chiba plays the train engineer.
æ°å¹¹ç·å¤§çç ´, a bomb is set on a Shinkansen, triggered when it goes over 80km/h. If its drops below 80, well, a lot of troubled Japanese commuters, and 1500 dead bodies. At first I thought the film would center around Sonny Chiba helping passengers and driving the train, the film ended up being a lot about the terrorist played by the awesome Ken Takakura, and flashbacks to his intentions and devastation. And wow, 152 minutes just flies by.
"Speed" completely ripped this movie off about at train that will blow-up if it slows below 80 KPH. Sonny Chiba is a humble machinist in this film and does not play his usual killing machine, which is somewhat of a disappointment. Ken "Black Rain" Takakura gets more of the action. This film is essentially a Japanese version of the 1970s disaster film cycle ("Airport", "Towering Inferno", etc...), which is not really a good thing.
Not quite the action filled adventure you'd expect from Sonny Chiba. And at with a whopping 2 and a half hours of running time, Bullet Train does tend to drag on abit.
Still, as far as a pre-speed plot of a bomb-rigged train unable to travel less than 80km/h, quite enjoyable.
Chiba doesn't have a great role in this, the film mostly revolves around the police force and the 'terrorists' who rigged the train, with the occasional backflash explaining the bad guy's past. With some impressive cinematography, plenty of focus pulling and an old school 70s soundtrack, Bullet Train still has the same feel to it as Chiba's Street Fighter trilogy, even with it's distict lack of combat.
Cheesy 1970's movie, a lot of scenes from the original Japanese version has been edited out, pity.
J'ai vu ce film au forum des images a Chatelet a l'occasion de l'etrange festival. On diffusait la version francaise du film qui dure 1h35. Il existe egalement une version americaine de 1h50 et la version originale japonaise de 2h20. Ce film de 1975 avait ete exploite en France en pleine guerre concurrentielle entre le TGV et Shinkensen. Le film est alors devenu la vitrine publicitaire du train franÃ§ais en faisant du Shinkensen un tombeau roulant. Petit florileges demonstratifs:
-Ainsi lorsque le chef de la securite telephone au conducteur du Ikari 109 pour le prevenir de la presence d'une bombe a bord de son train, celui-ci repond d'une maniere nonchalante : "Une bombe? Encore !" (traduction c'est monnaie courante.)
-Un peu plus tard, le chef ajoutera qu'un systeme sense assurer la securite des voyageurs - le coupe-circuit d'urgence qui arrete le train lorsqu'il y a un obstacle sur la voie - avait failli tous les tuer.
-Quand le chef des terroristes enonce ses exigences, cinq millions de dollars en billets de cent usagÃ©s, son interlocuteur panique car la rancon representait plus d'un milliard de yens, somme que ne peut reunir la societe japonaise des transports ferroviaires (traduction la societe est fauchee).
Le film a ete mal raccourci, a plusieurs reprises des coupures apparaissent au milieu de certaines phrase, a tel point que cela en devient evident. On peut deviner ou le film a ete coupe. La reecriture des dialogues est indeniable, le film etant plus court de presque une heure, il fallait faire en sorte que le film puisse etre comprehensible. Au passage, ils sont devenus furieusement politises:
-On insiste lourdement dur le passe gauchiste d'un des terroristes.
-AprÃ¨s l'appel revendicatif du chef du gang, les autorites demandent quoi, qu'on arrete pour interrogatoire tous les gauchistes notoires. Le film avait de violents relents anticommunistes. Ils etaient peut-etre deja present dans le film de depart car le Japon avait des demeles avec les activistes du Nihon Sekigun lorsque le film Ã©tait en chantier. Mais on ne me retirera pas de la tete que la version francaise du film est plus marquee a droite que l'original. De plus, on prÃ©sente la police japonaise comme une bande de brutes qui frappe avant de poser des questions. Une scene m'a particuliÃ¨rement fait rire : la panique gagne une des passageres, un homme essaye de la calmer, en la secouant comme un prunier, puis la gifle violemment de toutes ses forces. Cette scÃ¨ne fut reprise a plusieurs reprises dans le film "Y a-t-il un pilote dans l'avion?" et sa sequelle ou l'inverse. Le doublage francais est execrable, les doubleurs n'avaient aucune conviction en ce qu'il faisaient. Si au Japon, c'est un film catastrophe, j'ai eu l'impression de voir une parodie. Juste avant le film, une courte introduction video avait ete faite par Sonny Chiba, l'acteur dont on rendait hommage ce soir. Il avait dit que ce film avait eu du succÃ¨s en France. La, je demande en tant que quoi, film catastrophe comme 'la tour infernal" ou en tant que comedie satyrique de ce genre de films. En conclusion, j'ai eu de la chance de prendre ce film au second degre car toutes les erreurs cites precedemment rendent le film peu credible.