Combustible Celluloid
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With: Ryuunosuke Kamiki, Chiaki Kuriyama, Hiroyuki Miyasako, Bunta Sugawara, Etsushi Toyokawa, Kiyoshiro Imawano, Mai Takahashi
Written by: Takashi Miike, Mitshuiko Sawamura, from a novel by Hiroshi Aramata
Directed by: Takashi Miike
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Language: Japanese with English subtitles
Running Time: 123
Date: 08/06/2005

The Great Yokai War (2006)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

The Sword in the Groan

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Chosen during a festival as the "Kirin Rider," a shy, thin young boy (Ryuunosuke Kamiki) goes on a summer adventure, the details of which remain sketchy. Opening today at the Red Vic, the movie has something to do with a magic sword, demons and river goddesses and giant robots built from scraps. The prolific cult director Takashi Miike (Audition, Ichi the Killer) helmed this family-friendly film, and it's possible that ten year-old kids will be able to decipher the plot better than adults, but that at the same time, Miike's over-the-top intensity may be too intense for younger viewers. One character asks, "Isn't this all a bit too much?" -- and he's right. Still, the tone is deliberately old-fashioned and non-realistic, a throwback to films like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, The Goonies and Labyrinth, and its warmth and silliness are distracting enough, even when the plot fails. Superbad Chiaki Kuriyama, best known for Battle Royale and Kill Bill - Vol. 1 co-stars as an evil henchwoman with a white cotton beehive hairdo and a lethal whip.

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