Greetings, Glancers! In case there was any uncertainty – this is NOT a post proclaiming some glorious rebirth of my flagging blog; no, it is merely a movie review – a review of a movie called Re:born. It’s an Asian action movie, so that means lots of kicking, punching, stabbing, and guns, characters with mysterious pasts and unknown futures, and a story which we’re not going to care about as long as it doesn’t get in the way of any of the above.
Re:born sees Tak Sakaguchi showcasing a new type of martial art (Zero Range Combat) and a lot of up-close shoulder wriggling, as he slices and dices his way through literally hundreds of faceless bad guys so that he can… protect his niece? Hide his true self? Dispatch of an old frenemy? It’s something to do with all of those things. You see, he is a bit of a myth – an ex-soldier who military types speak of in whispered camp-fire breaths – who somehow slaughtered baddies way back in Vietnam and is still at it today. He’s basically Rambo, but with less talking and a more minimalist arsenal. For unknown reasons, an old frenemy wants to draw him and and kill him, doing this by sending wave after wave of fodder for him to rip apart. His fight begins on the streets where we see just how silent, smooth, and lethal a killing machine he is, it moves to his place of work where we see that he’s not much of a fan of convenience stores (beyond their microwaveable food), and on to some random forest where him and two mates take on an entire army.
Best known for Versus and Azumi, Sakaguchi plays the well worn near-mute killer trope well, though at no point does he look to be under any real threat, no matter how many bullets are fired at him. We’re left with a tacked on story with some bonus forgettable mythos, and a bunch of fight scenes. Which is fine, because I like fight scenes. I’ve seen so many now though, that as enjoyable and brutal as they may be, other films have raised the stakes in terms of visceral and technical quality, storytelling, and emotional content. I’m never going to turn down a martial arts movie – there’s better out there than this, but plenty worse too.
Let us know in the comments what you thought of Re:born!