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Bloody Escape -Jigoku no Tōsōgeki- Anime Film Review

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Bloody Escape -Jigoku no Tōsōgeki- Anime Film Review

Bloody Escape -Jigoku no Tōsōgeki- is a film of tremendous highs and lows on nearly every level. On the one hand, its world is wonderfully over-the-top. The mixture of future technology, magic, and fantasy races leads to wildly fun clashes in tone and style. Kisaragi, our main protagonist, is a cyborg vampire ninja who has to feed on normal vampires to survive. His blood is also highly toxic to vampires—and that’s something he utilizes in numerous creative ways throughout the film.

On the other, we have the story itself. It’s predictable to the extreme—both in the twists and character reveals. It’s not hard to know with absolute certainty where things are going—especially once the adventure devolves into Mad Max: Fury Road with trains instead of cars (complete with its own enemy-mook-turned-ally comic relief character).

The characters themselves are also a mixed bag. Many are one-note—especially the aforementioned mook-turned-ally (whose main job is to be stabbed or shot in the butt at every opportunity) and the team of mercenaries who help people escape their clusters to re-settle in new ones.

But then we have Lunalu, who is surprisingly nuanced—especially in how she deals with the personal trauma she experiences throughout the film and how she grows stronger because of it. Likewise, Kisaragi’s decent arc goes from a man who has no reason to live (or die) to one who manages to find meaning in his life by the time the credits roll.

However, it’s not just the writing quality that varies wildly but the animation as well. The action scenes are well-choreographed and imaginative, with excellent camera work that makes it easy to understand what is happening on screen despite all the visual chaos. Polygon’s 3D animation takes center stage here—culminating in a frankly awesome fight between a “web-slinging” hero and flying villain across two speeding trains. The fights are filled with great little visual storytelling beats—like Kisaragi constantly being out of breath from all the physical exertion and how the villains are quick to chop off any limb of theirs infected by Kisaragi’s blood. But outside of action scenes, the camera work is typically dull and uninspired. Simple, head-on, static shots with bland backgrounds litter the film’s more dialogue-heavy moments.

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Speaking of the aural side, the voice acting (most notably Lunalu’s) is on point. Still, the character animation can’t quite match the extreme feelings in the characters’ voices—leaving an odd sense of dissonance in what should be the film’s most emotional moments. This brings us to the only aspect of the film not plagued by ups and downs: the music—which is competent (if forgettable) throughout.

Overall, Bloody Escape feels like an anime film destined to be forgotten. For every moment of wild creativity, there is an equally cliché counterpart. For each scene of explosive visual style, there is a blandly directed conversation highlighted by one-note characters. It is a film that succeeds at its most ambitious moments and fails at its most grounded ones. And, when it comes down to it, it’s a film I’m glad I watched—though I doubt I will ever do so again.

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Movie Reviews

Film Review: Righting Wrongs (1986) by Corey Yuen

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Film Review: Righting Wrongs (1986) by Corey Yuen

“It’s money that counts, not guts”

Co-produced by Corey Yuen and Yuen Biao, with the two of them also function as action director, and the first being credited as the director and the second as the protagonist, “Righting Wrongs” is considered one of the best movies of the latter and has now reached the status of cult for a number of reasons.

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In that fashion, some trivia regarding the production are definitely interesting to mention. According to Rothrock, Golden Harvest originally signed her to play the villain opposite of Jackie Chan in Armour of God, but when production halted due to Chan’s near-fatal filming accident, the studio reassigned Rothrock to Righting Wrongs with Biao. While practicing her moves for the film, she injured her right ACL; rather than take time off to undergo surgery, she proceeded to shoot her scenes using her left leg for her kicks. Filming lasted five-and-a-half month, during which Biao sustained a back injury while filming the scene where his character jumped off the second story of a house, despite landing feet-first on some padding dressed up as grass

When the studio needed another female martial artist for the film, Rothrock recommended Karen Sheperd. Upon arriving in Hong Kong, Sheperd demanded that her character should not die, as it would ruin her reputation. In addition, she refused to kill a boy, as written on the screenplay. After Rothrock and Sheperd’s fight scene was completed, the crew filmed a body double doing the scenes the latter refused to do, including her character’s death.

The film’s original ending was met with a negative reception during its midnight screening in Hong Kong; because of this, Rothrock stopped filming China O’Brien and flew from Los Angeles to Hong Kong to reshoot the ending for the Mandarin and international versions. By the end, there were three different edits and four different endings, all of which are included in the Blu-Ray 88 films released in 2022.

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Jason Ha Ling-ching is a dedicated, by the book prosecutor who has tried to maintain patience and tolerance under the somewhat flimsy laws of the court and what is happening outside of it, in regards to how decisions are made. However, when his mentor is publicly gunned down in New Zealand, in a rather ominous and symbolic scene including a book of justice getting filled with bullet holes, and the key witness of Ha’s latest case and his entire family is wiped out overnight, Ha can no longer go by the book and decides to take justice in his own hands. However, when he succeeds in killing the first of the two he considers perpetrators, the Hong Kong Police Department sets mad dog Senior Inspector Cindy Si on his heels. With Jason being accused of one more murder he did not commit, it falls on Sammy Yu Chi-Man, a young man who was witness to the actual events to exonerate him, while it is soon revealed that someone named Crown is the mastermind behind all the crimes.

As usual in the HK martial arts movies of the 80s, the script does not make that much sense, in distinct b-movie fashion, although in this case, some comments about how justice is implemented, corruption and the whole concept of vigilantism add a level of depth to the narrative. However, the way a number of the good guys are murdered, the punishment the police receive and the overall brutality that characterizes the story induce the narrative with a rather intense sense of drama that works quite well here. Add to that the misunderstandings that bring Jason and Cindy against each other, including a rather memorable fight sequence, and you have a movie that truly stands out from the plethora of similar films due to its intricacy.

The same actually applies to the acting, with Yuen Biao and Louis Fan as Sammy being quite good, particularly in the dramatic scenes, Roy Chiao as Magistrate Judge emitting authority from every move and gesture and Melvin Wong being a rather competent villain. On the other hand, the comedy elements are definitely mishandled, with the film probably being much better without them.

Of course, considering the nature of the film, the aspect that will define its quality is definitely the action scenes, and it is easy to say that the combined efforts of Yuen and Biao in the direction and the performance of the stuntmen and the actors is truly top notch. The scene with the fight between the two protagonists, the one where Biao is fighting Peter Cunnigham the Black Assassin, the final one and the one where Cynthia Rothrock is fighting Karen Sheperd are truly top notch, and among the most memorable in the whole genre. In that regard, the combination of the intricacy of movement, the speed, and the punishment all involved receive is truly astonishing. Add to that some non-martial arts murders, which are quite dramatic in their presentation, and you have an overall outstanding action aspect.

“Righting Wrongs” is an excellent martial arts film that both thrives on its action and includes enough drama and context to elevate it much above the standards of the category.

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Last Swim Film Review: Charming Debut

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Last Swim Film Review: Charming Debut

Sasha Nathwani’s Last Swim is a bittersweet vignette of a teenage awakening, full of turbulence, laughter, and poignant realizations about what we all live for.


Sasha Nathwani’s debut feature film Last Swim won the hearts of the jury at the 74th Berlin International Film Festival. What earned it the Silver Bear for Best Film in the Generation 14plus category is its touching celebration of youth and the overcoming of fear in the face of painful hardships.

Last Swim captures a fateful day in the life of Iranian teenager Ziba (Deba Hekmat), which is momentous and crucial for her future on multiple fronts. On one hand, she and her friends are receiving their final exam results, which are decisive for their acceptance into college programs; on the other hand, she has secretly decided to make her own life-changing decision to escape a greater suffering she doesn’t talk about. What ensues is an eventful, meticulously planned trip across the hidden gem spots of London and the unraveling of Ziba’s internal torments.

Throughout its runtime, Last Swim elegantly dances between masked melancholy and wholesome humor while knowing exactly how to channel the messy vivacity of being young, overwhelmed with fear of life and joy of life. 

Ziba is a likable, flawed character with a secret. She appears and exits the screen with a clear objective, clear motivation, and clear obstacles standing in her way. Her decision-making as well as her transformative arc visibly tick all the boxes of a formulaic character-building checklist. We hit all the common beats on the route of her development, but the persuasiveness of the story hides in its technical and artistic execution.

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The urban setting breathes life into this coming-of-age journey. There’s an indescribable spirit to the film due to the way it portrays the vibrancy of a London summer, reminiscent of the recent energetic (although very differently stylized) rom-com Rye Lane (2023). The city feels as young as the characters roaming its streets.

The effortlessly gorgeous cinematography (Olan Collardy) works in tandem with the actors’ naturalistic performances, giving the film a casualness that makes it more delightful to watch and more inviting to invest in the friend group’s buzzing chemistry. The interactions between the four come across as genuine and relaxed, as if they aren’t trying too hard, in the best way possible.

Lydia Fleming, Deba Hekmat, Denzel Baidoo and Jay Lycurgo cycle in the film Last Swim
Lydia Fleming, Deba Hekmat, Denzel Baidoo and Jay Lycurgo in Last Swim (© Caviar, Pablo & Zeus / Berlinale)

Tara (Lydia Fleming), Merf (Jay Lycurgo), and Shea (Solly McLeod) luckily do not tumble into the traps of the coming-of-age genre and its frustratingly stereotypical portrait of the sidekicks, bound to the protagonist by the script and the script alone. Ziba’s friends are not defined by particular teenage archetypes. Their distinct qualities are not written in to serve purposes. They are written in to flesh out their humanity, crafting them into three-dimensional, layered, confused young adults the audience could believe.

The original score (Federico Albanese) is an everpresent element of Last Swim: urban, energetic, and most importantly, a culturally balanced infusion of Ziba’s British and Iranian heritage, blending in more commercial beats with the traditional, serving as subtle, complementing colors on a backdrop for Ziba’s individuality. 

Sasha Nathwani’s background as a music video director quite visibly comes through in his multiple slow-motion “happy moment” montages of Ziba smiling and laughing with her friends, which grow a tad redundant once we pass the third one. Their emotional impact diminishes with every next attempt at conveying the young innocence of those moments with the same exact technique. 

Towards the transition into the second act, the friends are joined by an unfamiliar acquaintance named Malcolm (Denzel Baidoo), whose involvement in the group becomes an important catalyst for Ziba’s self-discovery but never cements its necessity more than just on a narrative level. What I’m referring to is not the character dynamics he creates or is written in, but the natural integration of his storyline to the point where it matches the rest. The barrier between Malcolm and the four never really recedes completely. The chemistry there remains forced until the end, especially in contrast to the effortless chemistry of Ziba, Tara, Merf, and Shea, and especially after the film’s abrupt emotional shift in the third act. 

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With all its good and bad, Last Swim is an impressive debut feature film from Sasha Nathwani, who already displays refined control over his artistry through the lens of a sentimental letter about growing up in London and coming to terms with one’s own mortality and appreciation of life.


Last Swim premiered at the 2024 Berlin Film Festival, where it won the 2024 Youth Jury Generation 14plus Crystal Bear for Best Film.

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Masthu Shades Unnai Ra review. Masthu Shades Unnai Ra Tamil movie review, story, rating – IndiaGlitz.com

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Masthu Shades Unnai Ra review. Masthu Shades Unnai Ra Tamil movie review, story, rating – IndiaGlitz.com

Masthu Shades Unnay Ra sounds like an intriguing story of an artist’s struggle and adaptation to modern challenges. The theme of staying relevant in a rapidly changing world is quite relatable. It will be interesting to see how the protagonist navigates through these challenges and whether he succeeds in reclaiming his spotlight.

Story:

In Masthu Shades Unnay Ra, Manohar (Abhinav Gomatam), an ordinary artist, faces a life-altering event on his wedding day. Rather than letting it deter him, he decides to embark on a new journey by starting his own business. Along the way, he encounters Umadevi (Vaishali Raj), and their interaction sets off a chain of events. Rahul (Ali Reza) is also intertwined in this narrative, adding depth to the storyline. The film seems to promise an engaging narrative with twists and turns, as Manohar navigates through life’s unexpected challenges.

Masthu Shades Unnai Ra Movie Review

Analysis:

Abhinav Gomatam, known for his comedy timing, took on a different role in his debut, showcasing sincere emotions and mannerisms. Vaishali Raj’s chemistry with him was praised, along with her natural presence on screen. Ali Reza and Nizhalgal Ravi also left a mark, while supporting actors like Moin Mohammad, Ananda Chakrapani, and Lavanya Reddy performed adequately.

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Director Tirupathi Rao’s story in “Masthu Shades Unnai Ra” follows a familiar underdog narrative, with some viewers finding the plot predictable. Despite attempts to inject excitement, the film was criticized for being tedious overall. The title was also misleading, leading to initial disappointment for some viewers.

Tirupathi Rao’s storytelling in “Masthu Shades Unnai Ra” begins at a leisurely pace, gradually building up to the main plot. The first half, however, tends to drag with minimal developments, causing some viewers to lose interest. The second half picks up the pace slightly, offering a more engaging narrative. The interval block, in particular, stands out with a compelling twist that piques curiosity for the second half.

Masthu Shades Unnai Ra Movie Review

Emotions are more effectively portrayed in the latter part of the film, adding depth to the characters and storyline. However, the climax feels rushed, potentially impacting the overall impact of the film.

While the music by Sanjeev was appreciated for enhancing the narrative, Raviteja Girijala’s editing and Siddhartha Swayambhoo’s cinematography fell short. Production values were also deemed below par, contributing to the film’s mixed reception.

Verdict:

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Masthu Shades Unnai Ra, starring Abhinav Gomatam and directed by Tirupathi Rao, had the potential to be better with a reworked script and a stronger emotional core. While the film had a good concept, Tirupathi Rao’s execution lacked an engaging screenplay and impactful direction.

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