Moon over Tao (Japan, 1997)
Pretty cool, yet incredibly random Fantasy-Flick by Keita Amemiya, the unrivaled King of Otaku-Entertainment. Storyline felt like straight out of a Videogame-RPG: People form a party (one of them Hiroshi Abe as a slightly miscast, yet sympathetic Samurai dude, another a little girl, so cute she made Turkish candy seem inedibly sour), update their Quest-Log, and move out to kill the Uber-End-Boss, with some pointless magical hanky-panky in between, and even more random enemy encounters just for the sake of a few extra Experience-Points. All the settings looked cheap and bland, but because there was always some awesome oldschool visual-effects blurring the view, I didn’t mind. Enter a pair of Power Rangers-like Alien-Creatures (Yuko Moriyama and Yuko Moriyama) with some cool mechanical spiders in their inventory, fighting Ronin-Bandits (and each other) with Samurai-Swords. Sounds ludicrous, yeah, but somehow Keita Amemiya managed to pull this off in a surprisingly stylish and cool way. Action-choreography looked like straight out of a Ninja-flick (a.k.a. nothing to drool over), but spiced up with lots of cool sparkling effects; there were even some cool 70s-like arterial bloodsprays to be found. Last but not least one of the coolest monsters I’ve ever seen, moving around by means of oldschool CGI, kickass Stop-and-Motion technology and Prosthetic Model Goodness. Now that’s six times “cool” in one review, I think you’ll get the meaning. Not half as cool as “Zeiram”, but still cool enough to make for an entertaining one-time viewing.