Written by: Michael Den Boer on November 21st, 2009
Theatrical Release Date: Japan, 2003
Cast: Eddie, Natsuki Kato, Masanobu Ando, Hitomasa Matsuzawa, Kiyohiko Shibukawa, Miki Waterhouse, Aya Waterhouse, Kenichi Honma, Kei Getsu, Yuuta Takayanagi, Yuuta Sakamoto, Eisuke Sasai, Yoshiyuki Arashi, Makiko, Yoshihisa Sato, Takehisa Kawasaki, Yoshikazu Glover, Gon-Gon, Taka
DVD Released: November 24th, 2009
Approximate Running Time: 70 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Letterboxed Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo Japanese
DVD Release: Eastern Star / Discotek
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $24.95
Synopsis: Eleven criminals are unwilling brought to a warehouse. Where they are informed that they have been selected to partake in a game in which the winner will receive 300 million yen. The mastermind behind the game is a mysterious man named the Baron. The object of the game is to be the first contestant to reach the Baron’s estate. Since there are eleven contestants, they are only given eleven hours to achieve this goal. To make things interesting and more of a challenge the contestants have to elude the hunters with guns who stalk them.
Tokyo 10+01 was written, photographed, edited and directed by Higuchinsky, who’s other two films as director Long Dream and Uzumaki where both adapted from Manga’s written by Junji Ito. For his third film Tokyo 10+01, Higuchinsky would find inspiration from Japanese pop culture / cinema and Kinji Fukasaku’s Battle Royale, which the plot of Tokyo 10+01 bears many similarities too. Tokyo 10+01 also features one cast member Masanobu Ando who appeared in Battle Royale and another cast member Natsuki Kato who would appear in Battle Royale 2.
Influences aside Tokyo 10+01 is a scatter brain production that never fully lives up to its potential. After the film’s amusing instruction of the eleven contestants and the rules of the game they are about to play. Everything is downhill from there as the films by the number approach to the subject matter at hand and its predictable ending is lacking in every way. Despite this film many flaws and miniscule production value, the acting still somehow manages to keep things mildly interesting as every character is portrayed as an exaggerated caricature. All in all those expecting something as inventive and awe inspiring as Higuchinsky’s previous film Uzumaki are sure to be let down Tokyo 10+01, while those willing to look past this films many shortcomings might just find themselves embracing this most unusual parody.
Eastern Star presents Tokyo 10+01 in a letterboxed widescreen that preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. This transfer is interlaced and has not been flagged for progressive playback. The image looks soft, colors and flesh tones look accurate throughout. Early on in the film there is a instruction video clip which is played for the eleven contestants and this appears to be the only scene in the film that was shot on film and not on video. Despite the limitations of the video source this transfer while not without its flaws is a more than serviceable presentation.
This release comes with one audio option a Dolby Digital stereo mix in Japanese and removable English subtitles have been provided. The subtitles are error free, easy to read and follow. The audio fares better than the transfers as dialog is always clear, everything sounds balanced and there are no problems with background noise.
Extras for this release include a trailer for the film (1 minute 30 seconds – letterboxed widescreen – in Japanese with English subtitles), a brief behind the scenes clip titled “Promotion” (1 minute 57 seconds – 1.33:1 ‘full frame’ aspect ratio), segment titled “Speech of First Day” (3 minute 40 seconds – 1.33:1 ‘full frame’ aspect ratio – in Japanese with English subtitles), which includes comments from cast members Eddie, Natsuki Kato and Masanobu Ando and director Higuchinsky and a segment titled “Talk Show” (5 minute 2 seconds – letterboxed widescreen – in Japanese with English subtitles), which includes comments from Natsuki Kato and Higuchinsky. All of the comments made during these interviews are your standard fare with very little revealed about the actual making of this film. Also included with this release are trailers for Sars Wars, Uzumaki and The Happiness of the Katakuris. Overall Tokyo 10+01 gets an average DVD release from Eastern Star.