Dec 20, 2007

Battlefield Baseball

This trashy piece of Japanese cinema was directed by Yudai Yamaguchi, one half of the creative duo that is responsible for Meatball Machine. Battlefield Baseball is of course, another attempt to market on Versus fame as you can see through the cover art. They put various phrases like "FROM THE TEAM THAT BROUGHT YOU "VERSUS" or "HEY DID YOU LIKE VERSUS?" and tries to pull us in. After watching the abomination that was Death Trance, I'm not so easy to fool. All this could easily be forgivable if they hadn't brought this film to it's knees. Battlefield Baseball thinks it is a clever film for trying to mix humor, with martial-arts, sports, and violence but i will get to that later.

The plot revolves around the new kid, Jubeh. He sleeps upside down and has many rumors floating around his new school about him murdering his parents. He doesn't really care though seeing as how he is expelled from every school. Enter Seido High School, this is where we meet the eccentric principal who is in an extended state of shock from his childhood experience of Gedo High School, a school baseball team made of mutant killers who are able to kill legally. After Jubeh protects a weaselly player from a bully, "I hate bully's" (Wow, sounds just like Versus eh?) the principal witnesses Jubeh's power and flexibility.

He then decides to beg Jubeh to join the baseball team so they might actually have a chance to win the competition. After a couple of horribly choreographed scenes, he decides to join even though he made a vow to his father who he killed with a pitch. In a couple of extremely painful flashback/near-death scenes, he makes amends with his father and with the help of respawning converted bad guy Bancho, Seido High School plans to put a stop to Gedo once and for all.

Let me say for the record, that one element that kills this film is the ridiculous over-acting. It isn't funny and they should stop immediately. The principal is one of the most annoying characters in cinema history and should be lynched. Tak Sakaguchi is the key badass and the loner who eventually realizes there are more important things at hands such as family and singing! Yes, singing. Jubeh busts out in at least 2 musical numbers which flamboyancy rivals Moulin Rouge. Definitely not for the faint of heart.

The make-up effects are horrifically amateur and make Herschel Gordon Lewis look like Tom Savini. Dismembered heads remind me of fun times with Marshmallow treats and there is no blood at all. No sex, and hardly and violence. We do see a couple of pre-inspirations for his better, later film MEATBALL MACHINE such as robot stomachs. The Gedo team are mostly unoriginal designs except for one who uses a really awesome voice box system, but they mainly look like rejected Beetleborgs.

Near the end, the film obviously loses the feeling it wanted and turns into a Kung-Fu Hustle feel good comedy musical with a safe-for-the-whole-family type of violence. This film is a cluttered film that falls flat on it's face and shouldn't have been released on Region 1 regardless. Battlefield Baseball is flawed indeed, and has hardly any good. At best, the only reason to watch it would be a couple of funny scenes. Beware of this film.


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