Monday, January 16, 2012
JIGOKU KOSHIEN (BATTLEFIELD BASEBALL) (HELL STADIUM) (2003)
Directed by Yudai Yamaguchi
Tak Sakaguchi - Yakyu Jubei
Atsushi Ito - Megane
Hideo Sakaki - Hoichi
Battlefield Baseball is a tough game--it doesn't end until all the members on the opposing team are dead.
Before starting the reviews this year, I decided to try and see more Japanese and Asian horror films. Well last year I didn't get to review a lot of the ones I had as I concentrated more on more recent movies than trying to get a good mixture of new and older movies. Well so far this year I seem to be doing a better job at keeping the mix at a decent level of new, old , and Asian. Now I know that Asian horror has the same downfalls as all horror films. Yet for some reason, bad Asian horror films are just easier to watch it seems. That's a hint of what's to come with this review.
Well this was one of those movies I knew nothing about, but decided to watch it due to it has Tak Sakaguchi in it. Well let me take that one back for a second. I knew the movie was about baseball of some type. I just wasn't expecting what I saw though. The camera work had some interesting shots yet nothing really stood out as most of the time the cinematographer did a adequate job at best. The sound design was actually above average for a movie of this caliber. One would have suspected that it would have been really bad, but the sound design was definitely one the more stand out qualities of Battlefield Baseball. One of the weirder things I noticed in the movie was the characters that were from Gedo High reminded me a lot of old 80's Troma movies, where the look of the characters were more of the radiated punk style. Not just their looks but the way characters acted and behaved as well.
Now I have to talk about the acting. The reason why is I put it that way is because I know the actors, and most of them can actually act due to I've seen them in roles where they have to act. Tak Sakaguchi, who plays Jubei, I think had the most fun in his role as the delinquent baseball hero. The reason why is because one moment he has to act the bad ass, the next he has to look like he just discovered a pot of gold. I will say that Sakaguchi has a screen presence that usually comes off the screen, though in this one it just seems hidden and misplaced. Hideo Sakaki is the one actor I had the most problem placing in the whole film. It wasn't until I realized that he was the one who was bandaged up the whole movie that I laughed. As usual Sakaki plays the true bad guy. I love Sakaki's makeup in this movie as it reminds me of a true anime character, as well as almost all of his lines as most are so over the top that you just have to laugh.
Okay, I'm not going to beat around with this last part. The movie was just god awful. Yet, it was so bad that it was hilarious. Every action the characters do is so overdone, that it's telegraphed before they do it. The story is all about a delinquent who has giving up baseball due to his ability to throw a ball at speeds of a bullet which killed his father while playing catch. Even with his dad was wearing a glove half the size of his body. Another weird aspect is one of the characters, Bancho. Bancho dies three times throughout the movie and each time he comes back his look has changed to someone younger with no explanation of how. The rival baseball team is made up of zombies and monsters, and one zombie in particular carries around a dried out cadaver and uses as a puppet. Later on toward the end the Dried Out Cadaver is n a fist fight with Jubei which just adds to the over exaggerated aspect to everything that is this movie. Battlefield Baseball is so full of out of the blue scenes, including a musical number and a family revelation that it's impossible to actually keep a straight face during. Yet the one scene that made me laugh at the complete blatancy, is when the character Jubei breaks the 4th wall and describes the positive effects of baseball. Either the director is a genius for making a movie he knew was so terrible he tried to make it as funny as possible, or he really had no idea he was making one the worst movie I've seen in a long time. Either way, I laughed throughout the entire movie.
The amazing catch only to find out the ball is rigged by the unsuspecting player.
This is Gedo High's new weapon, the poisoned bat named "Poison Bat."
The movie is referenced in Ban The Sadist Video (2005).
The movie was based on the manga by Gataro Man.
Ryuhei Kitamura produced the film while also releasing three of his films in the same year. These films include; Aragami, Azumi, and Skyhigh.
The manga was recently remade as Deadball for the Sushi Typhoon production company last year with Tak Sakaguchi returning as the lead character Yakyu Jubei and Yudai Yamaguchi returning to the director's chair.