Initially confusing but ultimately enjoyable RPG-style anime.
For the first 30 minutes of Landlock, you'll have no idea what the hell's going on, but you'll be enjoying yourself, as while an explanation is nowhere to be found, the first third of the movie is full of great fight sequences and thrilling action. Still, it must be said, Landlock is an incredibly confusing film. The storyline seems tied heavily into the movie-worlds own mysticism but to be honest it always feels like they're making it up as they're going along.
For instance, after all the initial fighting, sword-swinging and kidnapping is over, the second half-hour tries to explain all of it. The basic stuff, like the kids having magic powers, them all being closer to one another than they think, etc etc is handled well, but the how and the why is handled in such a throwaway fashion that you can't help looking at the screen and thinking 'that's really the best you're gonna come up with isn't it'. Where Landlock could have been left fairly simple and been just as enjoyable, the writers have spoilt some of it's swashbuckling charm by trying to spiritualise it with some half-baked religious imagery. Unnecessary? Yep. Confusing and overly-complicated? You betcha.
Speaking of half baked, this movie has awful AWFUL dubbing. Not awful in the 'this character is an elf, why is she using the f-word?' way of some of Manga's releases, just often totally out of sync with on-screen events. The delivery is often totally off as well, feeling distinctly like someone lost their place on the script and meandered off. It's really distracting, and makes some parts of the film painful to watch.
Still, having said that, this has a lot of strong points. The action is explosive, violent and convincing, refreshingly free of overlong fights, constant jump cuts or any other anime stereotypes, giving the film great style and flair. To it's credit, despite awful dubbing, the characters are sympathetic and appealing, and you can't help but root for them.
Landlock isn't a classic, but it's a fun movie, and well worth a watch. It's an anime that requires some patience but will reward it in the end, so if you're looking for a cool little anime movie to watch, this is worth the effort.
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