Old Fart Who Loves Japanese Pop Culture 日本の大衆文化を愛する中年

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Thursday, September 22, 2005

Sky High A Review

This is a very cool movie which switches between the real world of Tokyo cops chasing a serial killer with the world of the newly dead. The story nominally about the cops out to stop the killing is revealed to be a much larger slaughter if the serial killer gets his sixth victim and concludes a satanic rite.

I love action fantasy films and there are never enough of them to satisfy me and while this movie is listed under the horror genre by most reviews I would argue that it is more fantasy then horror as there is no attempt on the director's part to instill a feeling of dread or fear toward any of the characters with the exception of the serial killer who is a mortal man. The fantasy aspect is shown as demons fight guardians in an epic battle to stop an invasion of Earth from hell. There are many great Japanese and Asian action fantasy films. Why can't Hollywood catch on to this great sub genre?

The world of the dead is depicted as solid and real as the living world of Tokyo, the dead can have an impact on the living. The deceased bride screams to prevent the attempted suicide of her fiancé; her scream shatters glass and startles him, foiling his attempt. She does this because she is told that anyone who kills or suicides will suffer eternal torment.

The mythology is explained early on in the film and is another reason that I think this is action fantasy rather then horror genre. If you die a violent death after you die you appear at the Gates of Rage and are presented with three choices.
1) Go Through The Gate To Be Reborn
2) Go Back To Earth As A Ghost For Eternity
3) Curse Someone To Cause Their Death
If you choose the third choice you will suffer eternal torment as someone who has killed. This mythology is explained by the Guardian of the Gate to the deceased when the Guardian offers the choices.

The Gate is a beautiful set and my favorite location in the film, here the mythology of the film is explained and the coolest fight scene also occurs here as the final battle decides the fate of the Earth. The Gate itself is a massive pair of engraved doors, a raised flagstone landing stands before them, with stone pillars at the corners of the landing with rectangular pools in-between.

Rychei Kitamaura is a powerful director directing such stylish action movies as "Verus", "Alive", "Azumi" and "Aragami: The Raging God of Battle" continues his success with "Sky High".

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