Saturday, September 14, 2013

WTF Japan?!?: Battlefield Baseball

Let's play...crazy!  Today's film is Battlefield Baseball, a crazy Japanese film.  That's almost a redundant description at this point, huh?  This crazy film came out in 2005 and I actually watched it quite a while ago. Hell, I've owned the film on DVD for like two years!  So why the wait?  Hmm...good question.  I hope you weren't expecting an answer.  The reason for re-examining the film is that the Sequel finally found its way to the U.S. (at least on Streaming).  So, before we can look at the new, we must look at the old.  Baseball is based on a crazy Manga of the same (badly-translated) name.  It's about a team of killer baseball players- literally!  The lives of the team rest in the hands of Jubeh, the mysterious transfer student with a dark past.  Will his great power supersede his hang-up over playing the game?  All you need to know is that this film is crazy, it has zombies in it and Tak Sakaguchi continues to kick ass.  To find out the rest, read on...
The Superintendent has a dark, scary dream about his entire team being killed.  Unfortunately, his dream may turn out to be prophetic as the dark Gedo Team are set to play them.

More on them later...
Jubeh (Sakaguchi) is the new Exchange Student.  He's a real bad-ass, as he's an expert at the titular Battlefield Baseball.  It's...well, it's too odd to explain.  You kind of have to see it.

All you need to know is that he can hit you so hard and fast that you have to change your appearance.  No, really.
Unfortunately, that dream comes true as the Gedo Team proves to be quite deadly.  That or they just put a bunch of props on the field.

How does the Team get away with murder?
They have a corrupt Referee, of course.

Seriously, I love a world where Zombie Baseball Players can kill you scott-free since they brought their own Ref.  Could you imagine if that worked in real life?
Jubeh is hesitant to play the game, since he accidentally killed his father with a pitch.  He's super-strong, so even the comically-over-sized glove was not enough...somehow.

Oh well, an upbeat song solves everything.  You should know that I'm not kidding by now, right?
Jubeh's Super-Tornado Pitch will save the day...hopefully.  Only one way to find out- fight!!!
Oh and two characters come back as cyborgs.  One of them is a good one, while the other is intentionally-cheap.  It's a weird gag, but, kind of in line with everything else.

Fun Fact: the Gedo Team are green, since that's what the Romero Zombies looked like in color in Dawn of the Dead.  Now you know.
The climax of the fight involves the Coach and Jubeh battling.  All seems lost when we see the greatest weapon of all: the Poison Bat named 'Poison Bat.'  It's reveal is...well, you just have to see it.
I won't SPOIL how the whole thing plays out, other than to tell you that this happens.  To see the rest, watch the movie.  It's weird fun.  The End.
Everything about this makes no sense...and I love it.  This is pure, unadulterated (fun word, right?) crazy.  Unlike some other Japanese films, it's actually kind of balanced well.  Seriously, Cromartie High School: The Movie was really weird and nonsensical.  Unlike that film, I could actually follow the plot.  Granted- there's not much to follow, but that's not exactly accidental.  The best way to describe the film is as a wacky send-up of Horror, Action and Baseball Film Cliches.  Hey- I've heard of weirder descriptions.  Need I remind you of Top Secret!- the film that parodied Elvis Movies and WWII Films?  There's not much actual Baseball here, but that's not a knock against it.  The film has lots of strange humor- like Four Eyes and his Mother-, weird moments- like the Poison Bat bit- and, well, more weird moments.  It's a movie that either works for you or doesn't.  Films like this have no middle ground- for better or for worse.  I love it.  You...may not.  While you decide, try not to focus on what's in the background of the following shot...
Next up, the long-awaited sequel.  Having already conquered Zombies, what could Jubeh possibly face next?  Stay tuned...

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