Monday, August 26, 2013

Elysuim and Scabbard Samurai Quick Reviews


Let's throw money at District 9, make it bigger and make the main character un-relatable by having no personality. Elysium will not be on anyone's favorite sci-fi movie list with a story trying to cram in morals about classes by wealth, immigration and so on. It's a short sci-fi story that should have never gotten so far into becoming a feature film.

Boring everyman, Max Da Costa is the only white person left in a future LA. He becomes the most important person on Earth after an accident leaves him with five days to live and the only way to survive is to get to Elysium, where there are magical sci-fi beds that cure all diseases and problems, not just cancer, but broken legs. That technology for some reason can't be smuggled to Earth?

Many complaints swirl about the story, characters and setting. One of the larger insults is it takes place in LA in the far future. There are no discernible features of it being LA in the future as all of society seems to be half-crumbled. Everyone speaks Spanish though, so it must be LA? 

Sharlto Copley who starred as Wilkus in District 9 plays a villain going by Kruger and it just doesn't fit him. His dialogue is so childish and then seeing him in this role after District 9 is so odd. From protagonist to antagonist was not right direction or choice. Though he acts like a supervillain from a cartoon at least he has a personality. Max Da or Max Duhhh is a character with little emotion. Whatever emotion he had must have died with his hair as he remains exposition guy explaining what's happening as it's happening.


The sci-fi weapons and tech stand out, but they seem to powerful for this future. A future where defense systems for space stations are one man on earth who can fire missiles into space at ships by using a future missile launcher? Why not just fire the missiles from the space station. This same giant space station has almost no security for it's main base of defense, of course until the end of the film when our hero Max Duuuhh has already beaten other bad guys and now needs something else to run from.

Chappie, Neill Blomkamp's third film, about a robot found by criminals and taught to be a criminal maybe should have come out before an epic sci-fi tale with way too much at stake. Wait for it as a rental.

Scabbard Samurai

Scabbard Samurai is the seemingly never to be released in America third film by Hitoshi Matsumoto of Big Man Japan fame. The film sets a cowardly samurai who no longer carries his sword on the task of making a young lord laugh after abandoning his post. If he doesn't make the young lord laugh in 30 days he must commit suicide. He has his young daughter as his ally and along the way the two guards who are watching over him. Eventually, the whole village gets behind him when he's acts of comic feats are open to public view.

The film would be best considered a dramedy or dark humor comedy. The samurai Nomi's attempts at humor are very Japanese-specific and are all based on long-running jokes out of the past. Some are still funny to be demonstrated such as rock-lifting with one's face. Takaaki Nomi plays the coward samurai completely deadpan. He never emotes any sense of humor which adds to the humor. His attempts at any given joke make all the more funny as he looks like he has already lost a bet. Nomi's little daughter berates him for not only being a unworthy samurai, but also at his comedy technique which happens commonly in comedy acts in Japan.

For an outsider of Japanese culture the film might seem odd or make little sense, those who are accustomed to Japanese culture will feel more at home with the jokes and attitude of the film.

I didn't connect with it as much as Big Man Japan or Symbol, Hitoshi Matsumoto previous films which he starred in. There's no complaints of acting or direction, it's just a much more simple story being told in a way as a family movie would teach about morals of obligation and responsibility.

This is a film best kept out if your looking for huge laughs.

Scabbard Samurai is waiting for US distirbution