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GI SAMURAI - Skull
Not Rated
Copyright 1979 Toei.
Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 'a long time ago'

The Characters:  

  • Lt. Iba - Power hungry Defense Force officer who always wanted to conquer Japan. Shot by Kagatori.
  • Kagatori - Power hungry samurai who always wanted to conquer Japan.
  • Yanno - Malcontent member of the Defense Force, tries to desert after they travel back in time. Gunned down by Lt. Iba.
  • About Twenty Defense Force Personnel - In the end all are stabbed, sliced, stuck full of arrows, etc.
  • A Horde of Medieval Japanese Warriors - No longer part of the breeding population.


The Plot: 

Arrggghhh! What looked like a promising piece of Asian film ended up being a worse choice than the raw puffer fish (carved by a man with eyesight problems).

Okay, a Japanese military unit out on maneuvers is caught in a time slip and transported back to feudal Japan. There they encounter different warring factions. Soon the men set about conquering their ancient homeland with the help of a powerful samurai and his army. Overall this sounds pretty cool doesn't it? DOESN'T IT?

Problem one is the fact that the film quality is horrible. A recovering morphine addict armed with a camcorder could probably do better (I'm not talking about a dubbed tape, but a retail VHS).

Problem two is that several crude attempts at character development are tried. However, after watching this movie three times I can only identify maybe four people.

Problem three: half the movie is a single battle scene! Don't get me wrong, I like watching warriors hacking at a tank with katanas as much as the other guy, but thirty minutes? It's amazing, it's incredible, and it doesn't stop until Lieutenant Iba fights his way to the enemy samurai's camp (alone, with a rifle and sword mind you) and kills the leader. Ugh.

Soon as the battle is over Kagatori shows up, kills Iba and some Japanese guy starts singing a hauntingly bad song. It must be their equivalent of "Feelings" or maybe "Stand By Your Man." A fitting end to this movie regardless.

Things I Learned From This Movie: 

  • Time travel kills watch batteries, but leaves all other electrical equipment alone.
  • Never let a hyper samurai fire the machinegun.
  • Sticks and stones may break your bones, but an arrow through the neck sucks.
  • A man shouldn't tell another man, "I've changed my views of life ever since I've met you." or "I see a lot of myself in you." while wearing a thong.
  • Tanks get fantastic gas mileage.
  • Rocket launchers have zero back blast.
  • Ninjas even spring around looking all martial artsy when they die.
  • Modern Japanese officers are masters of horseback riding, archery, and sword fighting.

Stuff To Watch For: 

  • 4 mins - So this is how you do a time warp sequence with no budget...
  • 9 mins - Maybe you should stop urinating in front of the Samurai.
  • 15 mins - Fifty millimeter machinegun? No... ...more .50 caliber; fifty millimeter is a small cannon.
  • 32 mins - My thoughts exactly.
  • 35 mins - Stalked by bushes huh?
  • 50 mins - That was a smoke or marking round.
  • 59 mins - Tank vss several hundred footmen.
  • 68 mins - Why exactly did you all split up?

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

FileDialog
Green Music Note gisamurai1.wav (Siren, then chuckles) Kagatori: "Metal horse made a funny noise!"
Green Music Note gisamurai2.wav Soldier: "Lieutenant, we're in a time slip, transported back hundreds of years."
Green Music Note gisamurai3.wav Old Woman: "You're like my grandson, but he's dead."
Green Music Note gisamurai4.wav Samurai: "So you are the famous Yoshiaki Iba. I heard that you're invincible."

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 

ImageImage


ImageImage


 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Clipgisamurai1.mpg - 1.9m
Ouch.

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Comments:Write CommentPages: 1 2 [3]
Re: GI Samurai
Reply #17. Posted on December 27, 2007, 11:59:48 AM by Cotexman
When I watched this, I wanted to stab myself in the spleen repeatedly to distract from the pain that was viewing this excruciating disappointment of visual trepidation.

This is coming from a proud owner of "Monsturd", of which has been viewed multiple times by the aforementioned proud owner.  Hell, I even liked "The Being" and purchased it after renting it first.  In sum, if I think a movie is bad (in a bad way), then it's gotta be really bad.
Re: GI Samurai
Reply #18. Posted on January 10, 2008, 09:17:02 PM by chris conley
No i think you should just not judge it by video quality and the american dubbing most things that are imported from japan such as movies and anime are hacked up or are give the wrong aspect ratio or made very dark. Some other films have taken the same rap such as kinji fukasaku's samurai reincarnation, virus and legend of the eight samurai it's even true for ninja wars.
Re: GI Samurai
Reply #19. Posted on December 27, 2008, 10:13:09 AM by G.R.A.S.P.
Don't beat up on Sengoku Jieitai based on a terrible dub made by subhumans who actually thought the name "G.I. Samurai" was a good idea, beat up on the dub. Seriously.

It's not like Sengoku Jieitai was perfect. Half the background music was hilariously inappropriate, the time travelling SFX cost like maybe 1 yen, and Kagetora & Iba still accidently come as off hot, hot man-lovers. But I'd argue that just makes it unintentionally better. Also, the cinematography's worth mentioning. It's definitely uneven, but there's some of it I honestly consider up there with Kurosawa... The problem is that the film was shot so overly dark it's hard to discern, and for some reason nobody in post production ever bothered to fix it. If you ever watch the real deal, crank up your display's brightness. Way up. Like in the neighboorhood of 80%. 

Bottom line: It's a good, not great, movie that's been saddled with an unfair bad rap thanks to an awful, awful dub.
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