|Index||7 reviews in total|
SCORE (1995) is a derivative Japanese crime film, borrowing liberally from,
among others, HARD-BOILED, HARD TARGET, RESERVOIR DOGS, TRESPASS, NATURAL
BORN KILLERS and THE GETAWAY. It's a fast-paced, violent, old-fashioned (in
a good way) caper thriller that makes up for an extremely low budget by
fast-cutting, imaginative staging of action, judicious casting, and lots of
shootouts, fights, chases, greed, betrayal and frenzied, bloody agony.
SCORE is set in the U.S., but was largely shot in the Philippines (the police cars have `Manila's Finest' printed on them). The main character, Chance, looks like a Japanese Quentin Tarantino with his square face and bulldog features, and heads a team of jewel robbers waiting for their payoff in a massive abandoned factory. There is a psychotic highway robber and his crazy female accomplice (straight out of NATURAL BORN KILLERS) who dog the jewel robbers. The male psycho has a fixation on Doc Holliday and the O.K. Corral and insists on referring to the jewel thieves as the Clantons.
Despite its budget limitations and blatant rip-offs of so many better films, SCORE boasts the kind of speed, grit, color, and imaginative violent outbursts that used to grace so many of the grade-B crime films that Hollywood (and Hong Kong) used to produce on a regular basis.
Score (1995) is a low budget gem from Japan. A film that aims for a
certain crowd and it doesn't disappoint it's audience. A group of
lowlife thugs are gathered together by a low level Yakuza boss so they
can get their hands on some precious gems. This picture has more turns
and twist than and old school crime novel.
Caution this movie is very violent. The director showcases some of the biggest blood squibs I have ever seen in a movie. It's tightly edited and moves at a nice pace. The only draw backs are the budget ( at least it was shot on film) and the locations (the movie was filmed in the Phillipines even though it's suppose to take place in the U.S.
I highly recommend this film (for the total carnage)
An extremely derivative gangster/heist movie, Score succeeds by being
so deliriously OTT that one can forgive any obvious plagiarism.
Stealing liberally from Reservoir Dogs, Natural Born Killers and
umpteen John Woo and Yakuza films, director Atsushi Muroga constructs a
wild and bloody tale about a jewellery heist that goes seriously wrong
when a couple of lowlife drifters attempt to relieve the robbers of
their ill-gotten gains.
With wall-to-wall gun battles and some genuinely hyper-kinetic action scenes, this film certainly delivers the goods expected of the genre; everyone gets shot at least a few times and all 'hits' result in a gallon of blood spurting from the wound.
The story may not be anything new, and the acting nothing special, but Score still manages to be extremely entertaining. Hitoshi Ozawa, as lead crim 'Chance', is perfect as a hard-bitten con who is forced into committing one final crime. Sporting a prize-winning mullet, he throws himself whole-heartedly into his role and comes out all guns blazing.
If a slab of mindless violence is what you're after, this film is well worth checking out.
Score tells the story of former Yakuza gangster "Chance" who is hiding
in the U.S. until he is tracked down by his former colleagues and
forced to do small bank jobs for them. Soon he comes to one last job, a
jewel heist and if all goes well he'll be able to sever all ties with
the Yakuza and leave for Paris, but Chance has his own plans.
When I watched this movie I was very surprised as how bloody this film actually was but of course being a huge fan of John Woo's gangster epics I just sat back and watched the blood and bullets fly.
The main story and a couple of other plot elements are lifted directly out of a couple of American movies such as Reservoir Dogs and Natural Born Killers, which made a change to Hollywood ripping off Asian cinema.
The action was very well done, clearly influenced by the works of John Woo as I mentioned before.
The cast do very well in this picture, each one brings different personalities to each of their respective characters they play.
If you choose to view this movie don't expect a hard hitting gangster thriller such as the works of 'Beat' Takeshi Kitano, this is purely action all the way.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The DVD box labels this film as 'the nuclear warhead of Japanese action
cinema' and for once I don't think they're far wrong. It's a
balls-to-the-wall gangster flick, riffing on dozens of movies that have
come previously, that carves a niche for itself thanks to the high
fluidity of the filming and the sheer energy present in every frame,
all of the time. Those familiar with director Atsushi Muroga's zombie
film JUNK will immediately recognise his style here, and indeed the
factory setting that acts as the backdrop to much of the film.
First things first: this film is intensely derivative. The film most recognisable is RESERVOIR DOGS, but there are also elements of HARD TARGET, NATURAL BORN KILLERS, and many other movies along the way. As such, not many of the plot twists, including the big one at the climax, will come as a surprise, but that doesn't matter: just because a film is derivative doesn't mean it has to be poor. I like many films which closely resemble those that have come before, most notably the DIE HARD clones, and often half the fun comes from spotting which film they're trying to emulate now.
Anyway, back to SCORE: this has a blisteringly fast pace, right from the word go. There are more shoot-outs, car chases, fights, and tense stand-offs than in a dozen Hollywood action B-movies, and the furious pacing lasts right up until the end. It's the usual stuff: a bunch of thugs commit a hold up and then arrange to meet in an isolated factory, only to find themselves at the mercy of a double crossing boss, the police force, and even a couple of murderous hitchhikers straight out of an Oliver Stone film. This is gruesome stuff: nobody dies from a single bullet hit, and most people are riddled with gore and holes before they bit the big one. Many of the characters spend the movie plastered in blood and all of the shoot-outs are handled in an intensely stylish way. The highlight if you can call it that comes when one thug is shotgunned, the blood spray captured in exquisite slow motion as his body pirouettes through the air.
The unknown-to-me cast members all give over the top performances, milking every second of their screen time. The top bad guys are the usual slick types, while lead Hitoshi Ozawa has that Japanese 'stone face' look well mastered. I loved the fight atop the moving truck, as well as the action at the climax which goes way above and beyond. To be honest, I expected this type of film when I sat down to watch a 'Beat' Takeshi box set, only to be slightly disappointed by the mostly tranquil nature of his early films. I like Takeshi, but this is far more entertaining: a riveting B-movie action film that takes cinema to the next level and proves that a low budget can sometimes be a blessing rather than a curse.
I was not aware of this low budget Japanese actioner up until now but
it is always better late than never.
As it was stated in many reviews about this movie it copies from films like Hard Target, Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction etc shamelessly but they have been put to great use.
I must say that this movie is ridiculous in every way. The script, characters, acting, music, everything. For example who would wear a crocodile/salamander mask when you go to rob a bank ? Exactly.
Chance is the ultimate hero of this with out of this world mullet and same name from John Woo's 1993 movie Hard Target. I like Hard Target so that posed no problems for me.
As for the crazy hitchhikers I really hated them. They were so terrible I was left wondering if they were serious or not.
One other thing that bothered me is that I could not figure out where this movie was taking place. The lady on the radio was speaking in English so I assumed it was America but all the cops at the finale look like they were from Thailand or Philippines. This got me confused.
Put this all aside if you are looking for a crazy Japanese actioner with pretty good gun fights don't miss this movie. To quote Chance "There are two kinds of men. One who likes movies like this and one who should burn in hell for not liking this gem"
A cheap and cheerless heist movie with poor characterisation, lots of underbite style stoic emoting (think Chow Yun Fat in A Better Tomorrow) and some cheesy clichés thrown into an abandoned factory ready for a few poorly executed flying judo rolls a la John Woo. Even the squibs look awful. At no point in the proceedings does it look remotely like America. Three wonky old cars do not a country make.The Mustang even has a wobbly right front wheel. The plot, such as it is, is so derivative and predictable that the ending is like a mercy killing. It couldn't come soon enough. Even the jewellery from the robbery looks like the cheapest junk costume jewellery available. The awful dialogue and hopeless overacting by everyone who gets shot top off a real waste of space and time. Worth watching if you want to know how not to make a cliché-ridden low budget movie.
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