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Chanbara Beauty OneChanbara お姉チャンバラ Eri Otoguro, Manami Hashimoto, Tomohiro Waki, Chise Nakamura, Ai Hazuki, Hiroaki Kawatsure, Sari Kurauchi, Tomoya Nagai, Taro Suwa, Tetsu Watanabe, Satoshi Hakuzen

Chanbara Beauty (a.k.a. OneChanbara, Bikini Zombie Slayers, Bikini Samurai Squad, お姉チャンバラ): straight to DVD zombie-fest based on a hack-and-slash video game centered around action-girls. The four titles and heartbreakingly dubious synopsis say more about the film than any review could, but if you still want to find out if this is any good… It’s always refreshing seeing headstrong, empowered, female action leads unleashing industrial-sized cans of whoopass, grabbing here gender by the balls and proving to everyone that women in modern cinema are no longer… oh, wait… is she wearing a fluffy bikini? Never mind!! Rule one of making a live-action adaptation of any game/manga is instantly broken: don’t do it with shit CGI and no physical effects!!! Made in 2008, looks like something cheap from 1988. Stylistically, it’s topped off with a shitty grey-washed out filter – rendering the movie devoid of almost any colour. The action direction is confusing: too dark, too shaky – and the non-action scenes are long, frequent and boring filler / padding. To cut this review short, I can’t remember the last time that hacking up zombies last felt so boring and arduous. I doubt that even fanboys of the computer games (which I’ve never played) could find any redeeming features in this stinker.

Score: 1.5/10

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Rubber [Blu Ray]: For reasons unknown, a discarded tyre comes to life, and starts a murderous rampage using its psychokinetic – head exploding – powers. There’s an awesome short movie in here, but in order to ‘beef it up’ into a film, several (ridiculous) elements are thrown in that don’t really do it for me. A film that’s punctuated with meta sequences and references should have a better reason for doing so than simply adding to the runtime; the entire observer side-story just broke up and detracted from the fantastic personification of a demented tyre. The SFX and direction are impressive – the tyre’s personality is built up piece by piece as he shakes, moves, inquires, turns, breathes, rolls, crushes and showers all on its own. Moreover, the film has an art exhibit / music video style and feel throughout, with fresh visuals and great cinematography featuring the Californian desert. The BD picture is among the best I can remember watching, every texture is rendered crisp and sharp; audio is generally flat, but bouncing when the music kicks in. I liked Rubber, but really wanted to love it – ultimately, it should have either been a 20 minute intense short, or full-on 80 minute character study of the tyre.

Score: 7/10