An accident during tests of an anti-plasma artificial magnetic shield at Japan's Ground Self Defense Force East Fuji practice range sends the 3rd Special Experimental Company, under Colonel...
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An accident during tests of an anti-plasma artificial magnetic shield at Japan's Ground Self Defense Force East Fuji practice range sends the 3rd Special Experimental Company, under Colonel Matoba on a time-slip 460 years into the past, into 'the Age of civil War'. At the same time an imaginary-number anomaly thought to be caused by interference from the past begins eroding the present, opening up widening time-space 'holes' all over Japan. Written by
To be honest . I wasn't really expecting something like this
A name like "Samurai Commando Mission 1549" does create an obvious expectation of a movie produced with cheese, written with cheese and directed with cheese. By cheese I of course mean low budget b-movie quality. Strangely enough "Samurai Commando" is nothing like that. And even stranger, it's actually pretty good, considering you value straight entertainment dazzled with a light but pleasant plot about time travel. I know I liked it.
"Samurai Commando Mission 1549" is the second movie adaptation of a novel written by Ryo Hanmura. The first being the campy and fun, 1979 "G.I. Samurai". Starring cult favorite action star Sonny Chiba. Notably, the two movies have very little in common besides their basic plot-outline. A small squadron of the Japanese Self Deffense Force including vehicles are sucked into a time-warp and find themselves in the middle of the Senguko period. A very bloody era when Japan was torn by countless battles between power-hungry warlords. Seeing as they have no apparent way of returning home the men of the SDF taskforce decide to do their best and adapt to this time. And by adapt I do mean exploit their superior military equipment so that they could dominate Japan. This is as close as the two adaptation get from one another. "Samurai Commando Mission 1549"'s main group of characters are actually the rescue team sent to find/stop the missing squadron. It seems their tinkering in the past has made the present a bit more unstable and it's up to these men (and woman) to save the modern world from disappearing.
Granted, yes the story does get a bit melodramatic at some points, but is still surprisingly well written. Plot holes are kept to a minimum, characters are good, nothing all that impressive but not detracting either. Their motivations are well fleshed-out, dialog is acceptable, lack of backgrounds does hurt the overall quality though. Also one other essential ingredient is missing, Sonny Chiba. Not that the actors here did their jobs bad or anything, but the absence of Chiba's charismatic presence becomes quite evident once you've seen the original movie.
Another surprise was the quality of the visual effects. Which I honestly thought, would've come straight from a 80s sci-fi flick. Costumes looked really good and authentic. Some pretty good CGI animation was used for some of the more complex scenes involving vehicles and explosions. And talking about explosions, that is something we have plenty of in "Samurai Commando Mission 1549" and director Masaaki Tezuka does a good job at distributing it in equal measures throughout the movie, while keeping the best for last. There is some blood here, but no vast amounts of gore or arterial fountains (sorry guys). Action scenes are decently directed, choreography is good but not phenomenal.
"Samurai Commando Mission 1549" is a pretty average but fun movie, that can easily be mistaken for a b-movie cheese-fest (I know I did). And for that I guess we have to thank the English translator team seeing as how the original Japanese title doesn't really translate as anything close to "Samurai Commando Mission 1549". Still it's not a complete waste of time even if you did expect campy fun, and if you've got 90 minutes to lose, there's no reason not to watch it.
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