“Packs in plenty of highly imaginative action... infused with a vicious energy” — James Mudge, BEYOND HOLLYWOOD
“High octane adventure” — Richard Lim Jr., FILMSBLITZ
Director: Shinsuke Sato
Screenplay: Yuusuke Watanabe, from Hiroya Oku
Cast: Kazunari Ninomiya, Ken'Ichi Matsuyama, Natsuna, Takayuki Yamada, Yuriko Yoshitaka
Producers: Takahiro Sato
Print Source: New People Entertainment
Two young men wait among the crowd on a subway platform, a flicker of recognition passing between them. Before they can speak, a man falls, helpless, on the tracks. One youth jumps down to save him. The other reaches down to help, and falls himself. The train is coming, fast, and they don’t have time to climb back up out of its way. The train slams into them — and they find themselves, from one split second to the next, in a clean yet unfurnished apartment overlooking Tokyo. In the room with them are several other men — a gangster, a slacker, a pair of nervous salarymen — who seem just as confused and disoriented as they are. Also in the room is a sphere. A large, smooth, hard black sphere, which quickly reveals itself to have strange and amazing powers. Text scrolls across the sphere, explaining that the old lives of all in the room are now over. Their new lives belong to the sphere. That’s when the weapons come out, and the players’ first target for extermination revealed.
A slick, eerie, ultraviolent science fiction mindbender laced with sharp black humour, GANTZ is the first half of the two-part live-action adaptation of Hiroya Oku’s wildly popular manga and anime series. Fans have been eagerly awaiting this movie, and here it is at last. Not unlike THE CHASING WORLD, which screened at Fantasia in 2008, GANTZ proposes an almost identical alternate reality parallel to our own—and perhaps even connected to it — in which an enigmatic game of kill-or-be-killed plays out, and endlessly repeats itself, its desperate contestants mere puppets to a mysterious force beyond their comprehension. The cast is red hot with rising young stars, notably Ken'Ichi Matsuyama (L from DEATH NOTE, also in KAMUI GAIDEN), Kazunari Ninomiya (LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA) and Takayuki Yamada (a Miike regular, in 13 ASSASSINS and also MILOCRORZE at Fantasia this year). Director Shinsuke Sato — appropriately enough, also a video-game developer — previously brought us the stylishly violent THE PRINCESS BLADE and the impressive 3D animated feature OBLIVION ISLAND: HARUKA AND THE MAGIC MIRROR (screened at Fantasia last year). Here he delivers a jolting thrill ride, loaded with sleek and precise special effects, that at the same time draws the viewer into a dark and disturbing puzzle. Will the second act of this tale, GANTZ: PERFECT ANSWER, reveal the truth behind the black sphere and its diabolical plans?