Monday, October 23, 2006

[1980] VIRUS: So I figured, Fukasaku, Edward James Olmos, George Kennedy--how bad could it be? And isn't bad at all. Sure, it's bloated (amazingly Netflix has the full version--and I can't imagine what they hacked out to make the American version that gave it such a bad reputation) and there're too many scenes of George Kennedy chairing a survivors' conference, and a couple of the English-speaking performances are terrible--but it's unflinching in a way you expect from Fukasaku. There's a scene where a bunch of guys are listening to a five year old decide to kill himself that's just harrowing (excepting that whoever they hired to voice the five-year-old was obviously not five.) And another where this dying woman is piloting a boat out into nowhere and urging her dying child passenger to yell the name of his father, just to keep his spirits up. Those (among others) are what I think of as the Fukasaku moments, the ones by the guy who grew up during and after the war in Japan. And did I tell you about the character actors who keep popping up? Glenn Ford! Robert Vaughn! Bo Svenson! Henry frigging Silva! Chuck Connors with a terrible British accent! It's worth seeing just for that cast. So yeah--perfectly competent disaster film with some nice moments and the bleakest happy ending possible.

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