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Afraid to Die, one of the four Yasuzo Masumura films that Fantoma has recently released on DVD, contains several examples of the directorial mastery of the same man who directed Giants and Toys and Bind Beast - in fact, the entire film is skillfully directed - but the script is terribly dull. Also working against the film is Yukio Mishima. He was the original draw for the film. He was a famous novelist at the time, probably the most famous in Japan, and his fans desperately wanted to see him in a film. Unfortunately, he's not a very good actor. I guess his poor performance is just as well blamed on the script, though. His character fluctuates a lot. We're supposed to like him, or at least sympathize with him, but that's not really possible. He's a pure scumbag. Afraid to Die is worth watching. It's not very long, and, like I said above, there are a couple of great scenes. One particular death scene is alone worth the price of a rental, if you're lucky enough to find it on your local video shelf. If you're thinking about buying any of Fantoma's Masumura DVDs, this one's not really worth it. Definitely buy Giants and Toys and Blind Beast. I haven't yet seen Manji. I did order it, though, so by the time you read this I could have already posted a review. Check it out. For Afraid to Die: 7/10.
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