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Devil Man - Live-Action (Nasu Hiroyuki 2004)


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Devilman

Genre: Damien Meets the X-Men Meets the END OF THE WORLD!!!

review in one breath

When a freak scientific exploration breaches the underworld, Hell itself soon floods the world of the living, transforming millions into gross demonic creatures and obliterating any remaining global social order. As humans turn against humans in a berserk and violent witchhunt for the demonic mutants, global war and chaos ensue as Satan himself scoffingly watches humanity self-destruct. And yet one frighteningly powerful creature cannot cast off his human heart and thus becomes the Devil/man intent on protecting those he loved. Based on the manga, this is an incredible visual explosion which puts any Western apocalyptic tale to shame.


intro

HOLY COW! This is an AMAZING demonstration of Japan's utter dominance in computer generated visual effects! Despite the appearance of the graphics and screenshots, this is a live-action film, not an anime.

Based on the manga of the same name this film, directed by Nasu Hiroyuki revolves around the anti-hero Devilman who is simultaneously human (man) and mind-shatteringly demonic (devil). When the only good guy is a massive demon, you know the world has gone into the crapper and, oh my, it has certainly gone into the crapper here.

You know, Japanese depictions of the apocalypse ROCK. Unlike their limp-wristed Hollywood counterparts, the Japanese wholly explore what the end of humanity might actually entail. Another excellent example of this is Dragon Head (2003) which envisioned a startlingly thorough destruction of the human race as its starting point. In reviewing that film, I had to mention the haunting visual parallels to photos of the atomic destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Here too, similar desolate scenes of utter destruction from horizon to horizon are the setting for this tale.

The visuals in this film are utterly amazing. The CG effects integrate with live action so wholly that it simply blows recent Western films such as X-Men right out of the water. And given the extreme non-Western depiction of human fate, this is really a full-blown conceptual and visual experience which you should not miss.

Director Nasu Hiroyuki who passed away this year (2/27/2005) at a relatively young age does not have a great number of films to his name, but coincidentally (!!) the next movie I intended to review is also his -- BeBop High School: Koko yotaro elegy (1986) -- so stay tuned.

story

Two childhood friends, Akira (Izaki Hisato) and Ryo (Izaki Yusuke), are thrust into the midst of a tragic scientific exploration gone awry at the hands of Ryo's father. Researching a powerful source of energy detected miles beneath the earth's crust, what was believed to be an alternative energy source turned out to be an encapsulated pocket of demonic entities which, once reached, brought forth a massive horde of translucent spermatozoa (!) which quickly permeate and possess human hosts.

While witnessing the grotesque demise of Ryo's father, both Akira and Ryo are possessed and transformed into visually stunning and formidably powerful new creatures. As they acclimate themselves to their new powers the world slowly decays into an utter and violent chaos as the demonic permutations gradually encircle the globe.

Before long, world-wide human societal structures melt into violent chaos as first neighbor turns upon neighbor, then national marshall law allows on-site executions of anyone suspected of demonic conversion, and finally, nation turns upon nation with atomic ferocity in a desperate and futile attempt at survival.

As the gruesome chaos unfolds, Akira finds that his human(itarian) soul has not fully succumbed to the formidable demon Ammon whose power he now wields and strives to his utmost ability to rescue his family from the brutality of both demonic hordes and neighbors' mob mentality. Ultimately standing in his way, however, is Ryo who has been possessed by Satan himself, anxious to see the realm of homo sapiens irrevocably crumble.

verdict

This is simply an excellent film, both visually and narratively, with a mastery of CG effect integration which will make you drool. I sincerely hope this will be released in a US/UK subtitled version soon. I believe it will raise all our standards as to what is CURRENTLY possible both technologically and narratively as regards massive apocalyptic and monstrous visions.

You can take a peek at what I'm talking about at the official Devilman The Movie site. This (flash) site is predominantly in Japanese, but if you simply click on "Main Menu" and then click on "Trailers", you'll get an eye-full. You won't be disappointed.

Version reviewed: Unsubtitled VHS

cultural interest violence sex strangeness
This is a visually stunning film from start to finish. Major human (and demonic) carnage ranging from individual decapitations to mounds of executed corpses. No. These visuals will ROCK YOUR WORLD!!

1 Comments


i love this movie

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