"Big Black Balls. I thought that might get your attention. Gantz is the first part of two films based on a hit manga series created by Hiroya Oku. Directed by Shinsuke Sato, Gantz stars leading Japanese actors Kazunari Ninomiya (Letters from Iwo Jima) and Kenichi Matsuyama (Death Note, Detroit Metal City), not to mention ‘fine’ support from Natsuna Watanabe. After an accident on a train platform, recently deceased childhood friends Kei and Kato find themselves transported to an empty apartment populated by several confused strangers and a mysterious black ball known as Gantz.
The big black ball issues them a set of strange suits - which look so much better on some cast members than others - instructing them that they must exterminate "dangerous aliens" from Earth in a series of bloodthirsty games. They are given high-tech weaponry, and the opportunity to collect points depending on how many aliens they kill. Once they reach 100 they will be given the chance to either leave the game, or resurrect one of their fallen comrades. Both films proved incredibly successful back home, and we can expect a release of Gantz: Perfect Answer on these shores in the near future.
Gantz is a well-crafted sci-fi action adventure, with great special effects, ingenious plotting and strong lead performances. Kazunari Ninomiya impresses most as Kurono, a reluctant contestant who lurches from gutless to hero in no time at all. His arrogance builds as the bodies pile up and his character is all the more enticing for it. After a mesmerising introduction Kishimoto is pushed to the sidelines, which is a shame because she sure looks great in leather, so here’s hoping she makes an extended appearance in the second movie. Gantz should please fans of the manga, paving the way for a second instalment that has plenty of questions to answer. Like for example, how the hell did Natsuna get in that outfit?
Gorier than you might expect, and overloaded with stylish visuals and electrifying action, Gantz is a frantic sci-fi adventure movie with big black balls – and you don’t get to say that very often." AW