Friday, 18 May 2012


"The opening scene – a young boy playing catch with his father on a hot summer’s day as his brother looks on from the side-lines - will have you believe you’re watching a quirky Japanese drama. It’s all very innocent and sweet natured, or at least it would be, had it not been the latest shock-buster from Sushi Typhoon. Battlefield Baseball (2003) director Yamaguchi Yudai follows up his chaotic action blast with more of the same and then some.

Teaming up with Sakaguchi Tak (Yakuza Weapon) for the second time in 2010, Deadball focuses on the superhuman pitcher Jubei, who is forced to lead a juvenile delinquents baseball team against a girls' high school team trained by a Caucasian Neo-Nazi. I kid you not. You can score points by killing your opponents, and the more OTT it is the better. Which is kind of lucky really, because OTT is what Sushi Typhoon specialises in.

After discovering Jubei's pitching abilities, the reformatory's authority forces Jubei to join Pterodactyl's team The Gauntlets and lead them to victory at a national tournament. Their first opponents are the "psycho butcher girls" of St. Black Dahlia High School - because you can’t have a Sushi Typhoon production without a sprinkling of sex-ploitation. There’s more to the plot than that of course, but lets face it, nobody’s checking out Deadball for character development and award winning story arcs.

Sakaguchi Tak reins it in for the most part, which is pleasing to see after his overbearing performance in Yakuza Weapon. He shows he’s got acting chops after all, not that we’re talking Oscar worthy you understand, and his comedy timing shines through at every turn. Deadball’s greatest strength is in its humour, and at times it really is laugh out loud funny. A lot of the humour misses the mark though, the CGI effects are cheap (but inventive) and the plot amounts to little more than what we’ve already covered, but there’s plenty of gore, action and mayhem to make up for any absence in quality.

By Sushi Typhoon standards – which is pretty much the only way you can rate these movies – it’s still middle of the road stuff, but having Sakaguchi Tak lead the charge is always a good thing. Cheap, cheerful, rude and crude, Deadball takes a bat to all things tasteful and comes out swinging. It’s not a great movie – not even by Sushi Typhoon standards – but if you’re looking for hot girls, gory-fication and juvenile humour, Deadball’s a homerun of tepid proportions." AW

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