Written by: Michael Den Boer on April 4th, 2013
Theatrical Release Date: Japan, 2011
Director: Yudai Yamaguchi
Writers: Yudai Yamaguchi, Keita Tokaji
Cast: Tak Sakaguchi, Miho Ninagawa, Kai Atô, Mickey Curtis, Junichi Gamou, Miho Harita, Mari Hoshino
BluRay released: April 9th, 2012
Approximate running time: 98 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive
Sound: DTS-HD 5.1 Japanese, Dolby Digital Stereo Japanese
BluRay Release: Well Go USA
Region Coding: Region A
Retail Price: $29.98
Deadball was co-written and directed by Yudai Yamaguchi, who’s other delirious blood-soaked concoctions include Battlefield Baseball, Meatball Machine and Yakuza Weapon.
Deadball, like the other film’s being produced by Sushi Typhoon are clearly made for a certain type of filmgoer and this film, like its predecessors clearly know how to give its fan base what they want and then some. For those who are uninitiated into the wonderful demented world of Sushi Typhoon, I envy you and let’s just say by the time you are done watching your fragile mind will never be the same.
Content wise, the plot primarily revolves around a loner named Jûbei Yakyû and his murderous fastball. The main subplot involves his younger brother, who has followed into his delinquent footsteps. And wanting to save his younger brother from the no good life he has lead. Jûbei Yakyû agrees to help a government official uncover corruption and brutality that is happening at the prison, where his brother currently resides. Without giving away to much more of the plot. Let’s just say, that what he is in for is a lot deadlier then baseball and that the corruption is deeper then those working at the prison.
Visually Deadball does not miss a beat as every moment of carnage is photographed for maximum impact and not to be overlooked is the way the camera leers at the femme fatale team of super sexy babes that play Jûbei Yakyû team in the friendly game of Deadball. Of course each and every death is done in a creative and unique way that is sure to satisfy even the most blood thirsty gore fans.
Also though the blood and guts aspect of the story at hand is surely what gets the butts in the seats. The film does try to inject some social commentary / satire into the mix, most notably its exploration of how those in power abuse their power. It should be noted that many of those is power in this film are decked out in their finest Nazi attire and there are a handful of ‘zeighile’ thrown in for good measure.
Performance wise, the entire give enthusiastic performances which only make the absurdity that is unfolding onscreen all the more entertaining. The film’s strongest performance comes from Tak Sakaguchi (Battlefield Baseball) in the role of Jûbei Yakyû. His character can be best summed up as a modern Japanese take on the Clint Eastwood character ‘The Man with no Name’. Another performance of note includes Miho Ninagawa (Marebito) in the role of a sadistic Nazi obsessed warden named Ishihara.
Deadball comes on a 25 GB single layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive anamorphic widescreen. There are no problems with compression, details always look crisp, black and contrast levels look consistently good. Overall this is another strong transfer from Well Go USA.
This release comes with two audio options, a DTS-HD 5.1 mix in Japanese and a Dolby Digital Stereo mix in Japanese and removable English subtitles have also been included with this release. Both audio mixes sound clear, balanced and robust when they need too. Also the DTS-HD 5.1 mix in Japanese does a superb job with more ambient aspects of the soundtrack.
Extras for this release include cast interviews (7 minutes 36 seconds – anamorphic widescreen, in Japanese with English subtitles), a ‘Making of’ featurette (12 minutes 18 seconds – anamorphic widescreen, in Japanese with English subtitles), a spinoff short film titled ‘Final Deadball’ (20 minutes 43 seconds – anamorphic widescreen, in Japanese with English subtitles) and a Sushi Typhoon trailer gallery. The interviews with cast are pretty standard stuff, like questions about the characters they portray and other production related topics. The ‘Making of’ is not much more than a collection of on-set footage. By far and away the most interesting and entertaining extra is the short film ‘Final Deadball’, which revolves around an inmate, who’s choice not to participate in the baseball game at the center of the main feature temporarily saves his life. Unfortunately for him, though he is now a free man. His has not escaped that deadly game that claimed so many other lives. Throughout this short he is pursued by a deadly baseball that ends up killing just about everyone around him. Also included with this release are trailers for other titles also available from Well Go USA. Overall Deadball gets a solid release from Well Go USA.
Note: This film is also being released by Well Go USA on DVD.