Directed by Takashi Yamazaki.
Written by Takashi Yamazaki.
Starring Takeshi Kaneshiro and Ann Suzuki.
Release Year: 2002
Review Date: 10/30/03
Ahh, Hard Vice...what have you done for me
It’s fun to break you out a few times a
year, and with “Returner”, I get to do just that. What a piece of
shit the Japanese import “Returner” is, from the horrific title to
the shitty, ripped-off American scene-stealing to the
sometimes-comical visual effects. Takeshi Kaneshiro stars as
Miyamoto, aka “The Returner”, a present-day assassin for hire that
apparently is the world’s most unbelievable shot with a 9mm
handgun. Milly (Ann Suzuki) is from the future—2084, to be
exact—and apparently, we are set to be overrun by aliens in that
year following a long war with them that is going to end in
Tibet...UNLESS the resistance can send someone back in time to
thwart the war before it happens. It’s unclear why Milly needs any
help in her search, but as it is, she recruits Miyamoto to help her
find a way to avert future disaster.
Five minutes into this film, director
Takashi Yamazaki had shredded so much of the plot from “The
Terminator” films that I was stunned anyone would watch this fucking
drivel and not make the connection. At one point, Yamazaki had
knocked out “T1”, “T2”, “La Femme Nikita”, the “Max Payne” video
game series, “Transformers”, and “Timecop”, and I seriously
considered moving to Japan to make movies because maybe the studio
suits in Japan didn’t know that Yamazaki was ripping off so many
American films in his work. If he had done so with flair and style,
then that’s fine. But the action in “Returner” is dogshit, the
storyline is dogshit, grenades blowing up in blue screen effects
(instead of actual explsions rigged on-set) are dogshit, and the bad
guy that has the “Remo Williams” ability to dodge bullets fired at
him from 20 feet away is dogshit.
Worse than all of this? The aliens in
“Returner” look EXACTLY—fucking EXACTLY—like E.T. from, you guessed
it, “E.T.—The Extra Terrestrial!!” Now, what is the first thing
that comes out of the E.T.-lookalike’s mouth? “I want to go
home...” That’s right, these aliens know English, too!!
And, “Returner” has an ending that rivals
the real “Hard Vice” in terms of its ridiculousness. My Lord, this
is a bad, bad film. I would go so far as to say this is some
fuckity mc-fuck fuck if I’ve ever seen it!!!!
Rating: Hard Vice
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard