Written by: Michael Den Boer on May 4th, 2009
Theatrical Release Date: Japan, 1986
Director: Toyoo Ashida
Writer: Susumu Takaku
Cast: Akira Kamiya, Yuriko Yamamoto, Kenji Utsumi, Chikao Ôtsuka, Toshio Furukawa, Kaneto Shiozawa, Tomiko Suzuki, Teiyû Ichiryûsai, Arisa Andô, Junji Chiba, Hidekatsu Shibata, Junpei Takiguchi, Takeshi Aono, Hiroshi Ôtake, Daisuke Gôri, Takeshi Watabe
DVD Released: May 19th, 2009
Approximate Running Time: 110 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Full Frame
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo Japanese, Dolby Digital Stereo English
DVD Release: Discotek / Eastern Star
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $29.95
Fist of the North Star was directed by Toyoo Ashida (Vampire Hunter D). Fist of the North Star is based on a Manga that was created by Tetsuo Hara and Buronson. The screenplay for Fist of the North Star was written by Susumu Takaku, whose other notable screen credits include The Golden Bat and Goke, Body Snatcher from Hell. Fist of the North Star began as a TV series and the plot for the movie picks up where the original TV series left.
The plot is laid out in such a way that gauging who the characters are and where they have been previously are clearly defined. This film holds up well on its own even if you haven’t seen the TV series which preceded this movie, you should be able to digest everything that unfolds.
The fight scenes are this film’s strongest asset. The fight scenes feature rapid fire martial arts, limb ripping, head crushing and are dipping with blood. Story wise things are kept simple with the main character Kenshirô unwilling (at first) cast into a Christ like role. All of the bad guys in this flick are suitable foes for Kenshirô, especially Shin his friend who betrays him and kidnaps Yuria the woman he loves. The barren landscapes of a world after nuclear fallout are superbly rendered. Ultimately The Fist of the North Star is a carnage filled adventure that quickly pulls you and it doesn’t let up as it builds to a satisfying conclusion.
Eastern Star presents Fist of the North Star in its original 1.33:1 full frame aspect ratio. This progressive flagged transfer has nicely saturated colors, accurate looking flesh tones and details look razor sharp throughout.
This release comes with two audio options Japanese and English, both audio options are presented in a Dolby Digital stereo. Both audio mixes sound crystal clear and robust. Also included with this release are removable English subtitles that are easy to follow and error free.
Extras for this release include a preview (1 minute 43 seconds – in Japanese with English subtitles) and a theatrical trailer (2 minute 28 seconds – in Japanese with English subtitles), a gallery with 17 images and detailed characters profiles.
Overall Eastern Star give Fist of the North Star a strong DVD release that makes ups for its lack of extra content with its solid audio / video presentation.