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   Now in our eleventh calendar year
    PCR #542  (Vol. 11, No. 33)  This edition is for the week of August 9--15, 2010.

MOVIE REVIEW
"Eat Pray Love" †by Mike Smith
RETRORAMA
DVD Reviews: Roger Cormanís Cult Classics †by ED Tucker
GROWING UP FANBOY
Summer Memories: Storytown USA †by Chris Woods
THE ASIAN APERTURE
Zeiram †by Jason Fetters
MIKE'S RANT
#1 .... Give Til It Hurts (the Bottom Line) .... .... .... .... .... .... .... Mike's Record Shelf by Mike Smith

Zeiram


Back in 1991, a good friend of mine stumbled on an amusing Sci-Fi action movie. At Kotobuki, a Japanese market that used to be on Dale Mabry next to Wright's Gourmet, my friend just happened to rent Zeiram, aka, Zeiramu. Zeriam is a combination of Alien mixed with Predator with a Japanese touch. I first saw Zeriam on VHS with no English subs. I was delighted to see that both Zeiram and Zeiram II are finally available on DVD with an English dub and subs. Now many years later thanks to DVD, I can finally understand what was going on. Before, I only had one half of the picture and now it is complete.

Zeiram tells the story of tough, no-nonsense bounty hunter, Iria, played by the always sexy Yuko Moriyama. Although Iria is a female character she comes across very masculine because that is just how director Keita Amemiya wanted it. Iria teams up with her trusty computer and guide named Bob, who is much more with it than Microsoft's Bob who thankfully perished in 1995. Together, Iria and Bob tracked down alien life forms for cash rewards.

Zeiram is a tall, imposing mean-spirited life form with a round, hat-like head with a small white face right in the center. Zeiram is dressed in a cloak and his head comes from a straw hat from the Edo period. Zeiram has superhuman strength, a variety of guns and bombs, and the white face can project from his head because the face is attached to a fleshy tentacle that Zeiram uses to stretch out and take a bite out of foes. Also, Zeiram can replicate other organisms after taking a bite and digesting flesh in order to create clones.

The movie begins with two geeky electrians who are forced to work one Sunday afternoon to try to figure out who is stealing electricity. They unwittingly stumble on Iria and her computer and equipment inside a building. In the beginning the two electrians get in the way, to which Iria response to their antics by yelling at them to shut up and roughly pushes them out of the way. However as the movie develops, the electrains become much more useful.

Iria and Zeiram get trapped in an area called the zone that is an alternative dimension. The zone can only exist for a limited time so Iria must act quickly to protect the two electrians and capture Zeiram. Iria must protect human life at all costs because as a bounty hunter from another planet, she cannot be responsible for any death of a harmless life form. To do so would result in the loss of her license and livelihood.

Zeiram is a great action movie from the start as the pacing moves quickly as soon as Zeiram lands on Earth and begins causing trouble. The comedy element of the electrians works well and the electrians actually help to save the day as they are forced to develop courage and help Iria fight Zeiram. The effects work great. In one scene one electrian is trapped inside a truck and is trying to unbuckle his seatbelt. Zeiram uses his face tentacle to break through the glass in back of the truck. The face takes a big nasty bite out of the electrian's arm and smiles Later on, Zeiram tries to create a clone that only comes out as the electrian's head and torso. In disgust, Zeiram steps on the clone's head and thus ends its crying.

The weapons are cool and would fit in with any given American Sci-Fi movie like Aliens and Terminator. Iria uses a massive gun that can only fire one shot that is capable of knocking Zeiram back several feet and temporary out of commission.

Out of all the effects, the one that works the best is when the zone has reached its end and you can see Iria trapped in a world that looks like ours and just on the outside of that world you see a black background with glowing lights and destroyed buildings inside.

Even if foreign movies are not your thing, Zeiram has a lot to offer fanboys and fangirls on any planet. Zeiram is just good Sci-Fi with a Japanese setting, but really, this story could work in any country.

For all those who get hooked there is also Zeiram II, which I will try to review soon, and an anime called Iria: Zeiram the animation. The anime is a prequel that shows Iria hunting down aliens on other planets.

Overall Rating: 4 Stars



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