I have STILL to see Battlefield Baseball, a movie that I’ve been hearing good things about for years now, and here I am with this sequel to it. A standard sequel or a sequel only in terms of the basic premise? Well, from what I could gather this is a pretty standard sequel but it’s one that you can (as I did) easily watch on its own with no prior knowledge of the preceding film.
Tak Sakaguchi plays the main character, a bit of a deadly whizz with a baseball who has sworn off the things for years. You tend to have that reaction when you inadvertently kill people. Unfortunately, people know just how good this guy can be and when he’s arrested and imprisoned it’s not long until we get the classic scenario from many other prison movies – vicious warden manipulates hero, with threats to his loved ones and/or friends, into doing something he doesn’t like – and the baseball is being thrown around again to cause some damage. The team head off to their first match and quickly realise that there may be more at stake than just points and pride.
Yudai Yamaguchi returns to direct this baeball-related zaniness (he also co-wrote the movie with Keita Tokaji) and he’s clearly enjoying himself but it’s a shame that this is one of the many, many movies to have come from Japan in the past few years that really overplays the whole “zany humour” while unapolagetically throwing CGI blood and unconvincing gore all over the place. This type of thing used to be a bit off the wall and unique but the more commonplace it has become the quicker the central joke wears thin.
The cast are all okay, suited to the over the top (and some of it is VERY over the top) material. Tak Sakaguchi, Mari Hoshino, Miho Ninagawa, Takamasa Suga, etc all show up and take part in the madness and there are a number of cool, sexy ladies onscreen as the main baseball rivals for our hero.
A lot of the physical effects are crude and used to emphasise the humour rather than any gore moments but there are certainly one or two scenes, at the very least, that will impress those looking for something a bit different. There’s one in particular that is now forever seared onto my brain, and I class that as a major bonus.
I’d imagine that this will go down especially well with fans of Battlefield Baseball, of course, but there’s every chance that other folks may find this a lot more entertaining than I did, especially if you’re a bigger fan of this particular brand of humour.
Deadball arrived on DVD last Monday 7th May and comes with a number of featurettes looking at this film, and also Battlefield Baseball, and part 2 of the short film Toki’s Wedding (part one is on the release of Yakuza Weapon). It’s not a fantastic selection but it’s better than nothing, I suppose.
DIRECTOR: YUDAI YAMAGUCHI
WRITER: YUDAI YAMAGUCHI, KEITA TOKAJI
STARS: TAK SAKAGUCHI, MARI HOSHINO, MIHO NINAGAWA, TAKAMASA SUGA, JYONMYON PE, MIHO HARITA
RUNTIME: 98 MINS APPROX