Modern samurai, traumatized veterans and more! (#SFWApro)

SAMURAI COMMANDO MISSION 1549 (2005) would double bill well with Philadelphia Experiment as the premise is an experiment with plasma weaponry blasts a Japanese battalion from the self-defense force back to the warrring period. Two years later when the expedition begins changing history (proven by black holes forming over Japan as time goes awray), a new expedition goes back to put things right. Good fun. “I am a star—I am looking down on you.”

GI SAMURAI (1979) was one of the inspirations for the above film, a mindless actioner wherein Sonny Chiba finds he and his troops are back in the shogunate era, and declares that by creating enough to damage to the timestream, history will revolt and cast them back home. Unfortunately at two-plus hours this is heavily padded with womanizing and shooting so thumbs down for me. “That is why we must rule and put history out of order.”

THE JACKET (2005) has brain-damaged Adrien Brody committed to an asylum on suspicions of being a Psycho Desert Storm Veteran, only to have Kris Kristofferson’s sensory-deprivation therapy unmoor his mind in time, allowing him to try and prevent his death down the road while helping out burnouts Keira Knightley and Kelly Lynch, troubled doctor Jennifer Jason Leigh and even Kristofferson. This lost me due to the jagged editing, bouncing between flashbacks in a hallucinatory style—I’m not sure if they were trying to suggest it’s all a delusion, but it clearly was real. “No matter how bad things look, they look better awake than they do asleep.”

While I was pretty sure JACOB’S LADDER (1990) wouldn’t make the cut, for some reason I thought it would come closer than it did (i.e., weird time dislocations that would be All In His Head). As is, the story of Tim Robbins trying to figure whether he’s in the afterlife, a victim of military mind-bending drugs or just a nutter never quite clicked for me—it’s too slow-moving as a straight drama, but not over-the-top enough as a supernatural/insanity thriller. The ending also dissatisfied me as it implies half the characters we’ve been following (such as lover Elizabeth Peña) don’t even exist. Strongly cast, with Ving Rhames as another vet, Patricia Kalember as Robbins’ ex-wife and Macauley Culkin as Robbins’ doomed son. “According to this, you’re dead already.”

As in Daughter of Darkness, TENCHI FOREVER: Tenchi Muyo in Love 2 (1999) has a former lover of Tenchi’s granddad as the villain, this time sucking Tenchi into a pocket universe, leaving Ayeka and Ryoko struggling to adjust to a Tenchi-less life. Adequate (though not a candidate for the book) but even more sexist than the regular series in showing the women so dependent on him; this does seem to imply Ryoko is tje True Love or something close to it. “What created this world? Not science, not magic, but the power of my heart!”

COHERENCE (2013) is an arty SF drama in which four couples having a dinner party discover the entire street is blacked out by a passing comet except one house, only when they check it out, it looks very, very familiar and you were there, and you, and you … Nothing Twilight Zone couldn’t have done better—there’s just enough murkiness, illogic and unclarity (which may reflect that this was a heavily improv production) that the film feels confusing but not in a good way (and why doesn’t anyone even try communicating with their other selves?). Would double bill well with +1 for that film’s similar take on encountering doppelgangers.

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Filed under Movies, Now and Then We Time Travel

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