Sakuya - The Slayer of Demons
Director: Tomo Haraguchi
Cast: Nozomi Ando, Keiko Matsuzaka, Shuichi Yamauchi, Kyusaku Shimada
Tomo Haraguchi is best known for his monster movie series. In fact, he started his career as a special make-up artist. Sakuya - The Slayer of Demon provides an excellent opportunity for him to experiment with this genre freely and explore its massive possibilities at will.
The plot of the film is quite simple. Sakuya (Nozomi Ando) is the young daughter of a Samurai. She accepts a mission to travel to Mt. Fuji and annihilate the evil monsters there. Each of the monster Sakuya fights is unique and powerful. At the end, she has to face a demon queen (Keiko Matsusaka).
This is an entertaining and hilarious film. There we have lots of traditonal Japanese monsters appearing in the film. For example, there are 3 eyes monster, umbrella demon, etc., all of them are reproduced vividly. The visual and costume designs of the film are done nicely. They capture the viewers's eyes successfully. The cinematic style is cartoon-like, with decent and sophisticated special effects. The plot itself is quite straightforward and direct, do not expect any surprising twist and you will be able to enjoy it more.
The story of the film is quite simple actually. Although it is trying to point out the difference between human being and monster, and the possbility of their coexistence, the major emphasis of the film is the action and adventure of Sakuya. It only touches the edge of the coexistence possibilty issue briefly. Perhaps the target audience of the film is kids, it seems that it is not worth to spend too much time on the study of its theoretical implication. Therefore, a piece of advice from the writer is: Take it easy, just sit back, relax and enjoy the action!
The problem of the film is that the story is too simple and it is presented in a way which is too linear. It lacks intensity and climax at all. Since we can always predict what is going to happen in the next scene, the appetite is greatly reduced.
From the happy ending, it is obvious that this film is capable of expanding into a saga or film series.
The cantonese version is done poorly for this film. Although it introduces an all star c ast to do the dubbing, it seems that they all lack relevant experience in this field. For instance, Anita Mui is a good singer, but absolutely not good at dubbing, and her character ends up with a dull voice. The result of the inexperienced dubbing cast is that the characters in the film are ruined by the poor dubbing voice.
VCD (HK version) - I got the VCD from a friend, and was forced to watch the dubbed version. The only thing I can say is, stay away from this version! If you want to see this film, get the original version!
Reviewed by: Kantorates