. Manga Entertainment.
to Gantz: Perfect Answer without having seen
the first film in this live-action version of the popular manga
series is rather like stumbling into a particularly convoluted
TV show mid-season; while a capsule summary of the story so far
at the start might fill in one or two gaps, you’ll still
find yourself fairly bewildered by a lot that goes on, as characters
who seemingly have significant back stories pop up without explanation,
relationships remain vague, characters hard to pin down and answers
given for questions you haven’t asked. In short, it’s
an often-frustrating experience.
Gantz is a huge black orb that somehow revives the dead and reinvents
them as leather-clad cyber warriors who are battling some sort
of alien invasion. Each fighter earns points per battle, and when
they reach 100, they can choose to either be returned to life
with their memories wiped or to resurrect a fallen comrade. The
film’s hero Kurono (Ninomiya Kazunari) is determined to
bring back his best friend Kato (Matsuyama Kenichi), but strangely,
Kato already seems to be alive, and fighting for the aliens, who
are hell-bent of revenge for the deaths of their colleagues.
All this plays out, with assorted subplots, for almost two hours
and twenty minutes – which is at least twenty minutes too
long. There’s a slow build for the first half hour or so
that probably works for people who have been following the story
so far, but the film eventually picks up pace with a handful of
pretty spectacular, violent action-set-pieces, the most impressive
being a shootout on a subway train. This is as ferocious, fast
and exciting as any action movie you’ve seen, and surprisingly
brutal too, with civilians being mowed down left, right and centre.
As a counterbalance to the spectacular action, the final scenes
are awash with cloying sentimentality and could benefit from some
ruthless editing, quite frankly.
If you were to simply allow the story to wash over you and enjoy
the action scenes, this might well satisfy. However, watching
it without the back-story is oft-times frustrating. As this film
is available as both a stand-alone edition and in a double pack
with the first film, I’d suggest anyone curious checks out
the latter edition (unless you’ve already seen part one
of course). There’s a lot to enjoy here, and having the
full story should be enough to deal with the story issues that
prevent me from wholeheartedly recommending this.
IT NOW (UK)
IT NOW (USA)