Just-ridiculous Japanese B-movie blend of baseball and insanity
Loves: Crazy-go-nuts movies, Army of Darkness
Likes: Wacky Japanese stuff
Dislikes: Gross-out gags, baseball
Hates: Nazi robots
After all, it's not usually someone of a sound mind who constructs the story of a super-powered juvenile delinquent forced by a Nazi to join a criminal baseball team. But that's the case here, as Jubeh (Tak Sakaguchi) finds himself tossed into Pterodactyl Hall following a murderous vigilante spree. The thing is, Jubeh was once a promising young pitcher, but when pushed too far, he took his own father's life with his incredible throwing ability, causing him to swear off baseball, so it causes a conflict with the Nazi-loving leaders of the prison, as they want him to join the Hall's baseball team. To be honest, I kind of lost track regarding the motivation behind the prison having a baseball team, but it didn't seem like that big of a deal in the big picture, especially with the image of a line of guys getting savage cavity searches competing for my attention.
The problem is, once we get to the big game (of course there's a big game) the movie loses most of its sense of humor and revels in gore and action instead, with a teaspoon of sexiness from the bad girls of Saint Black Dahlia High, the opponents Jubeh and his team face. We get to see a tiny bit of the other Pterodactyl Hall deviants (introduced bluntly in a ham-handed bit of exposition from the team nerd/mascot (played in drag by Mari Hoshino)) but really we only need to know Jubeh, because everyone else, including the very attractive Black Dahlia girls, are interchangeable as the film goes off the rails in an orgy of explosions, dismemberments and blood spurts. The two halves of the film barely connect outside of sharing the same characters, and if you enjoy the tone of the first part you'll miss it fondly as the film grinds to its completion, attempting to wrap up a plot that didn't really matter (or make a great deal of sense.) If it found its finale on the diamond, it would have been a much better film in the end, as some unnecessarily complicated wrap-ups stand between you and the credits.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track here gives the side and rear speakers a good deal of work, with nice atmospheric effects in the surrounds, though there's so much happening at times it can get a bit overwhelming and there's a lack of differentiation between the channels. However there's more than enough oomph to the mix, with some strong low-end and a clear presentation throughout. Most importantly, when it's going down on-screen, the audio keeps pace.
"Making of Deadball" (12:18) is a run of clips of on-set footage, showing how the film was made. The most interesting things here are the up-close looks at the effects work on the film, some of the filming flubs, and the strangeness that makes Yamaguchi happy.
Though the insights these extras provide were welcome, a spinoff short, Final Deadball (20:43) is the most intriguing extra. An alternate branching of one character's story, it's something like an episode of The Twilight Zone, in a story that's somewhat about trying to escape your destiny. It's pretty much nothing like Deadball in tone, but it's worth a look.
Wrapping thing up are eight Sushi Typhoon trailers, including one for Deadball. These are entertaining in their own right.
The Bottom Line