Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Japanese Director Ryuhei Kitamuraís Manga influenced Sky High comes stateside in a special two disk version which includes the Directorís cut version of the movie.  I watched the theatrical release version for this review and may watch the Directorís cut later as I was under whelmed by the version I ended up viewing.

 

As the story goes, a serial killer is removing the hearts from young women in Tokyo. Detective Kohei Kanzaki (Shosuke Tanihara) is the investigating officer, he is also due to get married in a couple hours.  As Detective Kanzaki waits for his bride, Mina (Yumiko Shaku) at the altar, she appears to the congregation with her heart conspicuously absent from her chest.  She walks down the aisle in her bloody gown, then collapses and dies in her future husbands arms.  Mina soon appears at the Gates of Rage, which the guardian tells us is where people who die from murder or misadventure go.  I havenít quite figured out what Ďmisadventureí is yet, but Iím working on it.  She has three choices:  Enter paradise and be reborn, haunt the earth forever as a ghost, or find your murderer and torment him for the remainder of his life.  This options, unfortunately, puts you in hell forever when the murderers life is over.   Before Mina chooses her final destination, she descends back to earth to save her love, because the guardian of the gate warns her that if one commits murder or suicide, they will spend an eternity in hell.  And Detective Kanzaki has killiní on his mind. 

From there the story goes on to a genetics industrialist with a smokiní hot, samurai sword wielding secretary who are actually doing the killing.  Seems they need these hearts to do some ka-razy devil re-calling so that he be bring back his comatose wife.

First things first, this one fine looking film.  The lighting effects and composition where spectacular.  Also, if one Kitamuraís goals were to assemble some of the finest looking Japanese actresses that that nation has to offer, then he succeeds gloriously.  Really, there are good-looking women in this film.  What the story seems to be missing is focus.  The industrialist, Kudo, is just a guy who needs the hearts to bring back his beloved wife.  Heís not really a bad guy, per se.  Then why does he string up his victims and hang them from drop ceilings and what not?  How in the world do these people walk around so long without hearts?  Please, someone, tell me why the smokiní hot secretary is helping Kudo?  Does she love him?  Heís doing this for his comatose wife, so she has very little chance of a meaningful relationship Iím thinking.  These are just a few of the questions I have for this movie.  The most jarring one is spoiler, so jump ahead to the next paragraph.  When they finally defeat Kudo at the Gates of Rage, (by shooting him with a magic bullet no less) Mina, the new gate guardian, tells him that his soul is purified and that he now gets to choose his destiny.  Come on now, dude has tortured and maimed numerous women, and HIS soul is purified?  Unless the director is making some wild statement about the lunacy of atonement, then itís all lost on me.

 

Sky high isnít a bad film, just a one thatís a bit out of focus and jumbled.  Perhaps the directorís cut fixes these issues?  If so, Iíll let you know.

 

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