- "Black and white ecstacy!" A must see Miike film. 9/17/2004 12:00:00 AM by JohnnyLarocque
Takashi Miike never disappoints. His latest film to the Toronto Film Festival is ZEBRAMAN, a story about a father (Shinichi) who no longer has a family, or a life. His wife is having an affair, his daughter is a slut (no wonder, she's cute as hell), and his son is bullied at the school where he teaches. Even the other students think he is a geek. Shinichi spends all of his free time fantasizing about a show he watched as a kid called Zebraman, that was cancelled after only a few episodes due to low ratings. He even goes as far as to make his own Zebraman costume, and that's when the fun truly begins.
As the Earth is invaded by aliens (what did you expect) Shinichi is called into action as Zebraman and he transforms from mild mannered teacher to Earth's last hope. Think PowerRangers but with odd and hilarious dialogue ("Don't stand ... behind me."). But first he spends some much needed time in front of a mirror practicing his shouts ("Black and White Ecstacy!"), costume spliting poses, and signature attacks like the "Zebra Double Back Kick". I admit I was sold as soon as he beat the crap out of a guy wearing a giant crab mask on his head. I laughed the hardest at the introduction of ZebraNurse, though.
This is a different kind of film than what you'd expect from Miike. The characters are warm and lovable, and no one gets injured (with the exception of an easily re-grown arm, "Thanks ... ZebraNurse!"). Which shows the kind of range this cult director has. My only regret was that Takashi Miike wasn't present to witness a world class response to this outrageously funny film. (9/10)
- Fun Miike comedy with good special effects 10/31/2004 12:00:00 AM by simon_booth
Well, you probably know by now whether you like Takashi Miike or not, so that's probably the first thing to consider. If you do, Zebraman is sure to please, being a very fun yet dark spoof of superhero films with high production values and the ever-wonderful Sho Aikawa.
There's nothing in Zebraman that would class as particularly shocking or offensive, if you've only seen ICHI THE KILLER or VISITOR Q before and that's your only objection to Miike, but the mix of dark, deadpan humour and absurd silliness probably aren't going to win any new converts. It's a very Japanese film in style and tone, and though still doubtless low budget by Hollywood standards, has impressive special effects and a good feeling of quality. Except when it doesn't want to :)
If you're an undecided, Zebraman may well be one of the best Miike films to sample to help make that decision :)
- The Lighter Side Of Super-Heroism 6/23/2008 12:00:00 AM by loganx-2
Great for the first hour and 20, but needed some serious editing.
A normal family man and school teacher, who is despised by his family, enjoys one thing in his free time. Putting on his specially made Zebraman suit, to celebrate the brief canceled TV-show of the same name he watched as a child. When not being insulted by students, strangers, family, and friends, our hero likes to wear the suit in his bedroom alone and practice his super movies, which is all oddly endearing and funny enough, until townspeople begin showing signs of possession by a mysterious, possibly alien force. Stranger still, it all already happened in the Zebraman TV show, in the 70's. Our school teacher finds himself putting on the suit and attempting to fight crime, failing in spectacular comic fashion at first, before going into "Kung Fu Hustle" overdrive.
The aliens themselves resemble Flubber, except when their possessing innocent people and forcing them to commit crimes for some reason. What begins as a dark comedy about hero-worship, becomes a feel-good over the top find the hero within action comedy.
The problem is it's just too long, it's charming and unique, but the charm just doesn't hold past an hour and a half. One of Miikes more accessible movies, but still chalk full of the absurd images and surreal humor fans have come to expect. Good watching for Miike fans, and those interested in the lighter side of super-heroes and nostalgia, others stay away. Recommend | add comment
- Zebraman kicks!!! 2/6/2004 12:00:00 AM by sauron-15
I watched Zebraman at the IFFR in Rotterdam, and it was a coaster ride from beginning to end. I've seen a view movies by Miike Takashi, and they all had elements of gore and typical Japanese-over-the-top-violence. Not this one though!!! From the first second up it's totaly wicked. It has all the elements you've already seen in this sort of action-figure-based movies, but in the hands of Miike it turns into movie magic. In a nutshell: Goodbye Hollywood! Sadako rock's! America doesn't!
The story about a failed teacher/familyman, daydreaming about his alter-ego Zebraman who after construction of his ducktaped superhero outfit gets more then he could ever hoped for, will keep you on the edge for the entire length of the movie.
Those of you familiar with Miike's previous work do not need to dispare: It wouldn't be Miike if there wasn't any blood, body fluids or slurry involved, but I can't tell you anything without spoiling, so: GO SEE!
- Aside from a little lull here and there, this film is terrific 10/5/2008 12:00:00 AM by MartinHafer
Takashi Miike is a very, very difficult director to label. Some of his films have been incredibly violent and gory (such as ICHI THE KILLER and AUDITION)--so much so that I could never recommend them. Some of his films have been strange and highly enjoyable comedies (especially HAPPINESS OF THE KATAKURIS). In recent years, his films have even tended towards being children's movies (such as his Ultraman series on TV and THE GREAT YOKAI WAR). Because of this wide, wide range of films, I was apprehensive to watch ZEBRAMAN, as I had no idea what type of Miike film it would be. Fortunately, it was a blend of both his weird quirky films AND his excellent family-friendly films.
Here in ZEBRAMAN, you have the story of a very nerdy elementary school teacher who secretly longs to be his TV hero, Zebraman. It seems that in the 70s, Zebraman was a very short-lived show and the guy has loved it ever since. This isn't so odd, but the fact that he's made a Zebraman costume and imagines himself to be this great superhero is!! What makes it even weirder is where it all goes next--into a strange and surreal direction that I just didn't anticipate. Rest assured, the direction is very odd and it involves this nerd having to save the planet from evil aliens!!!
The film is all in good fun and does it all tongue in cheek--never taking itself too seriously. Excellent direction and a nice story make this a winner--even if there are a few lulls here and there before the crazy and very exciting conclusion.