Written by: Michael Den Boer on December 20th, 2004
Theatrical Release Date: Japan, 2001
Director: Yasuomi Umetsu
Writer: Yasuomi Umetsu
Cast: Ivan Buckley, Melissa Charles, Lynn Fischer, William Frederick
DVD Released: December 18th, 2001
Approximate Running Time: 60 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 4:3 Full Frame
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1
DVD Release: Kitty/Media Blasters
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $29.95
Mikura and Harada are part of a vigilante who will take any job for the right price. A former detective Kurokawa is the leader of the group. There are several heavies that we meet through out the film; still the man bad guy is Momokichi a mafia boss who owns the baseball team the Peach Twisters. Things start to go wrong after Mikura and Harada kidnap Momokichi. He dies before they complete the job and their client refuse to pay them. To make things worse they now have to contend with his daughter Momomi even more sadistic then her father.
After watching Yasuomi Umetsu’s Kite I went into Mezzo Forte with lofty expectations. On the surface Mezzo Forte may resemble Umetsu’s Kite which is also about a female assassin who teams up with a young boy and in both films they are sent of their jobs by a detective. The main difference between the two is that in Kite they have no free will while Mezzo Forte Mikura and Harada have an equal say. The scenes in Mezzo Forte were allowed to see Mikura and Harada during their down time add a realism to them that was lacking in Umetsu’s previous film Kite. An amusing moment happens early on when Umetsu pays homage to himself as Kite walks by Kurokawa as he talks to a detective. The action sequences are expertly crafted and Umetsu script offers some of his most developed characters to date. The way he meticulously composes each and every frame add to the look and feel of them. Mezzo Forte’s sex scenes are slightly more graphic then Kite’s and the overall tone the film is help by moments of comic relief through out. Mezzo Forte has many great ideas and my only complaint is that they are given enough time to breath in this film.
Mezzo Forte is presented in its original 4:3 aspect ratio. The colors are nicely saturated and flesh tones are solid through out. The source material used is in excellent shape and there is no sign of artifacts or problems with compression. Two audio options are available for this DVD release. The original Japanese audio in Dolby Digital stereo and an English dubbed track in a Dolby Digital stereo. Both tracks make good use of the front speakers and surrounds. The action scenes pack a lot punch and the dialog is crisp and easy to hear. English subtitles that are easy to read and follow have been included.
Extras include three storyboarded scenes that play the finished scene on the right with the storyboard on the left and a brief interview with director Yasuomi Umetsu that ends with outtakes from the film. Other extras include trailers for four other releases from Kitty Maiden Diaries, Sex Demon Queen, Stainless Night and Kite also directed by Yasuomi Umetsu. The extras are nothing more then filler and it would have been nice to hear more from the director like the interview included on the Kite release. Mezzo Forte is graphic in its content as this film takes no prisoners and it is meant for mature audiences. Those who are familiar with Yasuomi Umetsu’s previous film Kite are sure to enjoy his latest Mezzo Forte which takes a lot of similar themes and expands on them.