When I got my review copy of Gun Crazy: Traitors Rhapsody, I sat back and wondered why the title seemed familiar. Got online. Did a quick search. And lo' and behold, I actually reviewed another entry into this series back in 2004. I guess it goes without saying, that first film proved to be less than memorable. Even rereading my review I only have a faint rememberance of the movie. That is sort of a good thing. If the film had made a worse impression, I would have entered this addition to the Gun Crazy cannon with more trepidation.
Aki Fukase (Kasumi Nakane) is a newbie cop fresh out fo the academy. She's also the daughter of the chief superintendent, so she is supposed to start out light, but Aki is itching to get in on the action. During her first tag along to an undercover drug deal, things go horribly wrong. The exchange is interrupted by some terrorists buying explosives from the drug/arms dealers. The terrorists bump off the dealers and leave the undercover cop alive but a living bomb.
Lets just assume the terrorist trio brought along that link of chain and a padlock and possess the ability to put together a bomb in roughly ten seconds before their escape.
Aki is the only one who runs away as the bomb ticks down, and the rest of the cops are incinerated. Due to action movie code of honor and, no doubt, a Japanese sense of nobility, she is seen as a coward rather than how I see her, highly sensible. Aki is given light duties (automobile vandalism) and is teamed with the forces least respected cop, a disillusioned, disobedient, drunkard named Shirai. Aki is left guilt ridden, traumatized, and gun shy, but, naturally, with Shirai's help she starts to get back on the road to redemption.
The terrorists are a bunch of former hippies who have gone from chaining themselves to trees to looking and behaving like the random ass, Euro guys fatty Segal beats down in his recent DTV actioners. They make ransom demands and secretly plan a big hit on Japan's main power plant with the standard Bond-villain dreams of creating a new world. Curt Jergens would be proud. The main leaders old girlfriend (Mitsuho Ohtami) shows up and tries to convince him that they could go back to their life of saving the eskimos (no joke, parka-clad flashbacks incuded). She has also changed from the life of being a tree hugger to a gun-toting, hussy dressed, underworld badass. Plotwise it is never explained, but, in truth, Aki is such a soft lead character, they probably figured the film needed some kind of badass chick to make up for it.
Like the other entry I reviewed, this one is barely over an hour and was directed by Atsushi Muroga. Gun Crazy: Traitors Rhapsody is a cop/action film with all the standard cliches in terms of character and how the plot unfolds. Its low budget, so there really wasn't much room for intricate action scenes. You would think, as compensation, the film makers might throw in at least some gratuitousness to liven things up, be it sex/nudity or violence. Nope, its strictly PG-13 all the way, and you are more likely to find more intense gun battles on an old episode of Hunter. So, I guess its for the milquetoast crowd who wants something crime, cop, action oriented, but doesn't want something too offensive. For true lovers of the bullet ballet, its not so much "gun crazy" as it is "gun protracted yawn."
The DVD: Media Blasters.
Picture: Anamorphic Widescreen. Low budget, quickie action film, so the image quality is purely serviceable. Middle of the road composition, decent sharpness, colors, and contrast depth. Technically there is some noise and slight shimmering.
Sound: 2.0 Stereo. Japanese language with optional English subtitles. Decent audio mix, clear but without much presence. Nice subs, timed well and no glossing over the foreign-ness with lines like, "I hate fermented soy beans and cops. They both stink."
Conclusion: This year, one of the things I was doing instead of tuning into the Oscars was watching Gun Crazy: Traitors Rhapsody. I had no interest in the Oscars because I've only seen one of the nominated films (Babel). Why? Because I spend my nights reviewing direct to video, Japanese crime flicks like Gun Crazy: Traitors Rhapsody so that you will know its only worth a rental at best on a very bored weekend. Otherwise, I gotta' say, skip it.