ENTER THE DEN OF SIN: CRAZY ASIAN STAR WARS RIP-OFFS

After a little time to recover, we all agreed that “there’s never been a movie like that before” and decided to move on to what we hoped would be, if not a better film, at least a more intelligible one. But, boy were we wrong. Or maybe it was just the fact that everyone was all riled up from the last movie that they chose not to pay attention and chatter through the entire thing. However, I doubt attentiveness would have helped us that much as we were dealing with glowing walnuts and a drunken Vic Morrow. Seriously, the guy looked like he’d stumbled in from a Santori Whiskey ad.

But I have to admit, although it is painfully low budget and so obviously a rip-off of “Star Wars”, “Message From Space” does have a large amount of charm. The special effects are “Godzilla” level, the villains look like they walked off the “Power Rangers” and the good guys look frighteningly like the Ewoks minus the fur. But, as I pointed out numerous times, while our friends griped and complained: if it had been animated, we all would have loved it. This assessment was reinforced afterwards when I discovered that the co-writer of the movie Shotaro Ishinomori was the creator of “Kaikader”, “Cyborg 009” and “Skull Man”. It also has a robot (or as Vic Morrow would say: “robutt”) that looks suspiciously like Expo Ernie (the mascot for the 1986 World’s Fair in Vancouver) and utters lines like “no more booze, no more booze”.

Rumblings from the Peanut Gallery: Although more people were talking through it, I think the consensus was that “Message From Space” was the “more normal” of the two films, however because of the order they were watched it was also the harder one to follow. So for future reference, silly Japanese fantasies first, misogynistic slapstick from Hong Kong second. Also, Graeme still contends that any film would be better with Ice Cube, particularly that new Conan movie that is allegedly in production. Also, our friend Nick pointed out that “Message From Space” has exactly the same plot as another Fukusaku movie, not sci-fi, called “Dragon Princess,” which I will have to search out for a future screening. My fiancé stands convinced that if he were six, “Message From Space” would have ruled, however, Graeme pointed out that when he was six, “American Ninja” ruled. Probably the most interesting point of the night was of the unintentional theme of minor Vancouver celebrities with both a David Suzuki look alike and Expo Ernie. Now that’s good programming.

Mariko McDonald and her boyfriend host a weekly film night in their apartment, affectionately known as the Den of Sin. It’s kinda like evil film school. Monthly screening schedules are available at http:filmgurlland.blogspot.com and if you happen to live in the Vancouver, BC area and are interested in catching a screening please drop her a line at filmgurl79@hotmail dot com. Suggestions, hate mail and cute pictures of cats also accepted.
And of course you can always offer up some juicy Back Talk>>>




Posted on June 1, 2004 in Features by
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