Tokyo Psycho

Discussion in 'Asian Horror and Other Pleasures' started by dwatts, May 22, 2005.

  1. dwatts

    dwatts New Member

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    I bought and watched this yesterday, my latest foray into the wonderful world of twisted Asian cinema. Not a ghost story, or any other increasingly cliched recycled plotline we've come to expect from the East, but rather a "thriller". I was quite looking forward to it.

    Sadly, this one fell flat on its face. I'm having a hard time figuring out anything good to say about it. Of course, it's really low-budget, but that's not really an issue (oh alright, the lack of interesting locations did get a bit wearing after 80 minutes or so). And really, the performances didn't look too bad.

    Everything else was poor. The lighting in the film varied considerably. Sometimes overly bright, sometimes too dark. No-one can shout and scream in such a way that you're ears bleed, than the Japanese. Listening to the psycho here made me want to kill myself, let alone waiting for him to come get me. Some scenes are incredibly grainy, some pristine.

    Worse though is the by-the-numbers approach to the story, and the DVD itself, which stank. Suckered in by a gorgeous cover and slipcase, the transfer itself showed none of this beauty. I have never seen a DVD with such a bad case of the jaggies. It's non-anamorphic, and has a very strange aspect ratio. Worse though, the subtitles (which are written in pseudo english) are actually out of the frame, mostly in a black space below the film. So, when I tuned my system to have the picture fill the screen, I only saw the tops of the letters of the subtitles. Horrible transfer then, one of the worst I have seen from asia.

    Not that it would, in any way, have helped this movie. The movie stank. It's so predictable, you know what's coming five minutes in advance. There's a minor twist half way through the film that you'll have guessed long before it arrives, and you'll be preying for the end (which has no surprises).

    Couple of extras, all subtitled for once, including on-the-set footage and some interviews. Trust me, you won't care.

    A failed stalker film then, with a made-for-TV look and feel, no suspense, no interesting imagery, and saddled not so much by the low-budget, but more by a total lack of imagination. Pah!
     
  2. aoiookami

    aoiookami Demon Fetishist

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    thanks for the heads up, I was going to order this one too but couldnt find any reviews anywhere.
     
  3. dwatts

    dwatts New Member

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    Alright, so I've blown any chance of trading this on here, right? :lol:
     
  4. Paff

    Paff Super Moderator

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    I bought this one on the advice of my favorite import DVD seller, Rick (aka Drunken Master). He hadn't seen it, actually, but the trailer is on the DVD of Cursed, and it looked absolutely insane.

    Actually, it was much more restrained than the trailer (and cover) made it out to be. In fact, it was a darn good psychological thriller.

    Worth a look
     
  5. dwatts

    dwatts New Member

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  6. Paff

    Paff Super Moderator

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    Wow

    It's so obscure, I never thought to do a search on it.

    Anyway, I'll concur on several of the shortcomings of the DVD you mention. The subtitles are pretty bad (although maybe I only notice that since I understand a little Japanese), and the sound was horrendous. The DTS track is just the mono put into all 5 speakers, so dialogue comes equally from the rear. I switched to Dolby Digital 5.1 to find the same problem, and finally settled on the 2.0

    And the movie does sort of lose it's way towards the end, no argument there as well.

    It's the first 45 minutes or hour that I found really enjoyable. Again, after seeing the trailer, I was expecting all this craziness, and the psychological aspect of it was quite surprising. If it sustained that level all the way through, I'd be calling it a classic, but instead I'd say it's decent, worth a rental if that's an option.

    I think after all the Asian supernatural films I've seen, it was refreshing to see a straight-ahead psycho killer movie.

    [edited to add]
    One of the things I also liked about Tokyo Psycho is that it addresses a real problem in Japan - Children who kill. Here in the US, we often try 15 year olds as adults, if the crime is heinous enough. But in Japan, it's simply not done. They're in juvenile homes, but with a completely clean slate when they reach 18. Japanese are getting pretty upset about it, as it means pretty violent people are being released onto the streets, and I suspect laws will be changed quite soon. So, to hear about this problem, then seeing a film depicting it was quite interesting to me.
     

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