Sunday, January 27, 2013

SMUGGLER (2011) movie review

Smuggler (2011) d. Ishii, Katsuhito (Japan)

A war between two rival drug running gangs results in a double digits body count, much of the onscreen violence doled out in wild-eyed, bone-crunching glory by psychotic assassin Masanobu Ando (called “Vertebrae” in the subtitles, though IMDb lists the character as “Spine”), all bleached hair and scar-riddled flesh. Ando’s screen presence is matched by the taciturn Masatoshi Nagase, playing a no-questions transporter of goods and people. Caught in the middle is failed actor Satoshi Tsumabuki, who unwitting commits himself to life in the underworld to repay his “insults” only to end up playing a significant role in the bloody game that ensues. Appealing on a visceral level (an extended torture sequence, extreme slo-mo collisions between blunt objects and tender flesh, etc.), but ultimately a bit unsubstantial and more than a bit silly.

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