cast: Yosuke Eguchi, Kyoko Suzuki, and Takeshi Kaga
director: Masaaki Tezuka
119 minutes (15) 2005
widescreen ratio 2.35:1
Momentum Asia DVD Region 2 retail
reviewed by J.C. Hartley
A remake of Mitsumasa Saito’s 1982 Time Slip (aka: G.I. Samurai) and perversely a version of The Philadelphia Experiment storyline where military hardware, used in hi-tech research, is flung through time with hilarious consequences.
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A unit of the Japanese Self Defence Force complete with helicopters and tanks is used to test a magnetic forcefield designed to protect against EMP generated by Solar flare activity; why such a unit should be used is the first of a series of incongruities. Despite power levels going off the scales the experiment persists and the unit is whisked away to 1549 the age of civil war; the unit materialises in a war zone their place in our time taken by a field of wheat, 72 hours later the wheat reverts to the tarmac of the airfield but a 16th century warrior has returned with it.
Two years later, with Solar flare activity at its peak again, two operatives of the military seek out an ex-commando Kashimi (Yosuke Eguchi) to get him on board for a rescue mission; a black hole has opened up on Mount Fuji and is sucking in reality as history attempts to mend the damage the military unit is doing back in 1549. Kashimi is running a restaurant after some unspecified palaver with the commander of the missing Self Defence Force unit and at first is unwilling to be involved, only after an eerie meeting with the time-slipped samurai warrior, in the film’s best scene, does he agree to go on board as an adviser. The rest, as they say, is history.
The commander of the missing unit has adopted the guise of Nobunaga Oda, an actual warlord responsible for uniting Japan, and plans to rewrite Japanese history in a frankly baffling plot involving some of the forcefield hardware and the splitting apart of Mount Fuji. He has managed, in two years with the resources he took with him, not only to build an oil refinery but also maintain his weaponry and keep a helicopter serviced and flying. The rescue mission becomes a race to save reality.
Samurai Commando: Mission 1549 (aka: Warring States 1549) is a piece of ridiculous hokum earnestly played and with high production values but with considerable gaps in logic, motivation and characterisation; best enjoyed as a trans-temporal shoot-em-up.