Thursday, August 02, 2007

Werewolf Warrior

Well, what would you expect from a Japanese horror-movie called "Werewolf Warrior"? Swordfights? Check. A Werewolf (or more)? Check. Some other monsters of the Japanese folklore? Double check. So about 15 minutes into the movie everything was in place. (Although the main character, said Werewolf Warrior, didn't turn completely then. The only 'werewolf things' seen were fangs and a glowing green eye.)

Now, I would be the last person to call these movies (there's at least two of them) 'high quality'. But, having grown up in a country which considers horror-movies 'trivial' anyway, I can easily live with that. I actually enjoy a well-made "b-movie" more than an expensive one. It's more true to the gruesome stories told in the movies, usually. And by looks, the movies aren't even typical "b-movies". They're quite good.

As the movies were made in Japan, are based mostly on Japanese culture and feature Japanese actors, they are something refreshing different to my usual choice in movies.

I like swordfights, even the gruesome ones. And I like the style in which Asian movies feature those fights - much more elegant and stylish than the European/American variety (at least in the past, the Western movie-makers have learned a lot from Asian movies over time). I like seeing the moves of the hero (including the fatal strikes) in slow-mo. I like the way the fights are choreographed. And I can live with the blood-shed, the cut-off body parts (hands, arms, heads) and other stuff. It's part of the story and it's part of the setting.

The whole movies are extremely well done, too. They are set in the late 18th or early 19th century (judging from the very early machine-gun featured in the first movie - as both have the same hero, they can't be too far apart on the timeline). The looks of the people are authentic (only logical, as the movies are set in a slightly fantasy-tilted reality of Japan's past), the looks of the surrounding are as well. The actors vary from very good-looking (even the major bad guy of the first movie, although he's human - slightly bishounen, if you ask me [I will explain the bishounen, or bishonen, in another post]) to rather ugly. And I like that in a movie, I'm more than tired of those perfect-looking actors you often get in Hollywood movies. The werewolf looks good (well, not as good as E's "Tuesday Treat", naturally - but he could give them a run for their money), seems authentic in both human and werewolf form. There's even a female werewolf - a warrior herself - who turns up for a short scene in the first movie and as an important character in the second one.

So, on the whole, I don't think spending some Euros (as the movies were cheap when I bought them) really was too much.

I really like those movies, the whole way they work visually. The story is quite good as well and so are the effects, the swordfights and the monsters.

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