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Dragon Head (2003)

  Directed by: Jôji Iida
Starring: Naohito Fujiki, Sayaka, Satoshi Tsumabuki, Takayuki Yamada
Links: Dragon Head on the IMDb, Official site
Genre: Sci-Fi

This movie gets: 6.00 (1 rating)
nofreelist.com Ranking: not yet ranked (awaiting 2 ratings)

"SSRI's in survival rations? Tasty!" - a review by timchuma

In the aftermath of a bullet train crash in a tunnel, the three survivors - Teruo, Ako and Nubuo try to make sense of what caused the crash. Teruo thinks they should just sit tight and wait to be rescued, but Nubuo keeps babbling about seeing a red light and talking of "The End".

The tunnel isn't a safe place to stay either as it keeps threatening to collapse, but it is Nubuo's increasing madness that drives Teruo and Ako to escape. After seemingly spending a few days crawling through an underground pipe, the two emerge to a world that is completely different to the one they remember.

There is no sun, the sky is raining ash causing a thick blanket on the ground and not a living thing can be seen. Despite this, Teruo is determined to get to Tokyo and go home. Ako keeps crying all the time and doesn't want to go on. After three days walking through the wasteland, they finally find water.

Some time after this they find a ruined town and survivors of the catastrophe, but something has gone wrong with them and they only just escape being killed with the help of two peacekeeping troops. Looking for answers from their rescuers, they find that they have no idea what happened either. It is never properly explained what caused such a huge catastrophe, we are only given a few clues such as movements in magnetic fields causing people to go insane and a huge upsurge in volcanic activity.

Another shocking discovery they make are two children who have had their fear surgically removed by their father so they can survive in this new world. Their dying mother begs Teruo to take them with him as they will not mourn her loss. They have to escape again.

Later, another confrontation is cut short when a volcano suddenly erupts with no warning and they have to flee. This is probably one of the best sequences in the movie as they try to outrun great balls of fire in their 4WD. Predictably they crash trying to do so, and when they regain consciousness they continue their perilous journey towards Tokyo.

As this movie was adapted from a Manga series, I can see that they would have had to condense a lot of the story into a short time. Although the sequence in the tunnel was good, it was a bit annoying to see the main character falling over every other step. I have heard that in the series that this is based on, they don't get out of the tunnel for two volumes, but over half an hour of it in the movie is a bit much. Some people in the screening expressed disbelief that the main character could survive so many dangerous situations.

There were some great CGI sequences of the volcanic eruptions, but most of the time everything was covered in ash so it was hard to see.

I would recommend this movie to people who like apocalypse movies with some action thrown in. You may have better luck working out the title, the meaning of which eluded me.

timchuma gives this movie 6 out of 10.
Review created on Fri 27 Aug 2004

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