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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 lately?

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


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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 "Office Space"). 

"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, 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 half stars." 

"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 Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
© 1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09