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Bodyguard Kiba (Tokyo Shock) 
Written by: on August 10th, 2006

Theatrical Release Dates: Japan, 1993
Director: Takashi Miike
Cast: Hisao Maki, Masaru Matsuda, Daisuke Nagekura, Ren Osugi, Megumi Sakita, Shinobu Tanaka

DVD released: August 22nd, 2006
Approximate running time: 95 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Letterboxed
Rating: NR
Sound: Dolby Digital stereo
DVD Release: Tokyo Shock/Media Blasters
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95

On down on his luck former boxer named Junpei steals 500 million yen from his Yakuza boss. The Yakuza are unable to get Junpei to talk about the 500 million yen before he is sent to prison for attempted murder. Flash forward five years later Junpei is discharged from prison. He hires a Naoto Kiba a karate expert and professional bodyguard to escort him to Okinawa to recover the money he stole.

Bodyguard Kiba was written by Hisao Maki who has collaborated with Takashi Miike eight times including two Bodyguard Kiba sequels titled Bodigaado Kiba: Shura no mokushiroku and Bodigaado Kiba: Shura no mokushiroku 2. Takashi Miike’s Bodyguard Kiba films have no direct connection to the Sonny Chiba films Bodigaado Kiba and Bodigaado Kiba: Hissatsu sankaku tobi. The motives for Miike’s Bodygurad are different then that of Chiba’s Bodyguard.

The first thing that sticks out while watching Bodyguard Kiba was its pacing. There are several moments that could have been trimmed or left out and the story would not have suffered. Direction wise Miike shows even early on in his career that he had a strong visual style. There is a flashback scene which is done in the films final act which shows Miike at the top of his game as this sequence oozes with depravity.

The relationship between Junpei and Naoto Kiba which starts out as hostile soon turns into a strong bond between two men with similar adjectives. In between the many action sequences Miike lets the characters develop into something more human and not into caricatures. The action in Bodyguard Kiba is reminiscent of the Hong Kong action films being made around the same time. The films score is made of an eclectic mix of bad 1980’s action music and heavy metal riffs. There is a double cross which leads to the films jaw dropping surprise finale. Despite is flaw’s Bodyguard Kiba is a hard hitting action film that ends tragically.

The DVD:

Tokyo Shock presents Bodyguard Kiba in a letterboxed widescreen which looks like the films proper aspect ratio. This non anamorphic transfer has been flagged for progressive scan. The image starts off soft before in the first few minutes. Then after that the image looks sharper and colors looks nicely saturated. There is some minor print damage and grain is kept to a minimum. There are no problems with artifacts or compression and edge enhancement is mild. There are few instances of digital fogging during drug related activities and these are part of the source material.

This release comes with one audio option the films original Japanese language track which is presented in a Dolby Digital stereo. Dialog is crisp and music and effects sound full and evenly balanced. Removable English subtitles that are easy to read and follow have been included.

Extras for this release consist of a Takashi Miike trailers collection which includes the following trailers Fudoh the Next Generation, Visitor Q, Ichi the Killer, Deadly Outlaw Rekka, One Missed Call, Negotiator, Izo, The Way to Fight and The Great Yokai War. All these titles are currently available or soon to be released by Tokyo Shock on DVD.

The extras for this release are exactly the same ones included for Tokyo Shock’s Silver which like Family part one is part of The Maki collection. Tokyo Shock gives Bodyguard Kiba its best home video release to date.

For more information about Bodygaurd Kiba visit Media Blasters here.

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