Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Roaring Fire (1982)

Last day at Weekend of Horrors in Germany. Tired, broke and just wishing I could be back home in my own bed and with a less aggressive native language around me. On the second floor, just inside the "No one under 18 years"-section, I looked down and saw... a cheap Josefine Mutzenbacher-box and thought of Jocke directly. But that's not the point with this story, the point is that not far away, maybe a meter away, I saw a small "hartbox" with the title Diamentenauge, starring Hiroyuki Sanada and Sonny Chiba. I froze. "I need this!". Sonny is one of the coolest actors ever and Hiroyuki is quite a hottie. That's how I came to own ROARING FIRE!

This might be a bit confusing: as a baby Joji (Sanada) was kidnapped, without reason, by a man and moved with him to Texas. There he grew up to be a phenomenal cowboy and a friend of the nice native Americans. On his deathbed, the man he thought was his father, tells him that he has a twin brother in Japan! BUT what none of them knows is that his twin brother, Toru, became a Hong Kong gangster and just days before got shot to death, in a very bloody way!!! Joji goes back to Japan and goes directly to his family's house where he finds a small army of half-naked women swimming in the pool. Some of them topless! But here's the deal: his uncle is really evil, he's a Nazi and has an American boxer in his basement to torture people! He also has an army of evil Chinese henchmen (something I never seen: Japanese actors with make-up to look Chinese!) and I think all of them are out to kill Joji (and his blind sister, which I forgot to mention) and also find the legendary diamond that's hidden somewhere...argh, something like this. Anyway, this is one FANTASTIC flick! Really!

Oh yeah, Sonny Chiba shows up in an extended cameo as Mr Magic, an undercover cop who works as a magician at a cabaret in the evenings. Wattya say about that?

Roaring Fire is pure insanity. I had no idea what to expect from the movie when I bought it, but it exceeded every expectation I had. From the colours and wacky music, to the bloody squibs, the presence of veteran wrester Abdullah the Butcher (playing a character named Spartacus!) and the non-stop action. Ok, there's a few scenes with comedy and talk, but then Hiroyuki kicks a lot of ass - and it's even better when Sonny show what he's made off! Someone on the net compared the final reel to a video game, and that's not far from the truth. Wave after wave of bad guys for our heroes to fight!

The light mood of the movie reminded me of the Lucky Stars-movies, but it's much more violent and has more deaths and some nudity. The stunts are really well done, especially one scene when Hiroyuki is fighting baddies on top of a double-decker.

Roaring Fire almost gets surreal in places, with absurd comedy and a bizarre scene when ten samurai killers on bicycles chase Joji and his friends all over Kyoto (I think it is), including a spectacular stunt sequence when everyone is squeezing themselves up between two tall buildings standing very close to each other. Hard to explain, so see this movie please.

The Germany DVD looks absolutely stunning. It has English subtitles and a crystal clear Japanese audio track.

I'm hyping it now, but Roaring Fire is an extremely entertaining movie, and from now one one of my top ten movies from Japan!


Anonymous said...

where you can u get this dvd online? thanks

Ninja Dixon said...

I bought this version, and it's a great release:

Matthew Conway said...

Abby the Butcher is in this flick?! Oh man, I gotta see it now.