Time Slip – DVD Review

Available at Amazon.com

About two dozen Japanese soldiers are sent 400 years into the past in Time Slip. Their Lieutenant, Mr. Sonny Chiba, convinces the squadron that the best way for them to go back, to the future, is to conquer Japan. That thing would change the history of the Warring States Period, anger the god of History, and allow them to return to their present (which is our 1979). It’s a convincing argument when delivered by Sonny Chiba.

Some of the crew decide that they rather ride out their days lounging on their ship and occasionally going to shore for the purposes of raping and looting. The rest of our protagonists take the high road by choosing to gangbang widows, befriend a manic warlord, and mow down 16th century samurai using their 20th century tank, machine guns, and helicopter. All the while we are treated to a score, maggoty with Japanese rock ballads with heartfelt lyrics about getting drunk and choruses chocked full of random English words like “friendly.”

It’s an odd picture, but not a silly one. It’s got a serious and somber tone that seems to defy it’s B-movie premise. What on paper appears to be Saturday morning cartoon fodder, is made into an adult morality play.

The film, better known in the U.S. as G.I. Samurai, can sometimes be spotted on that strange 21st century melting pot known as the drug store DVD shelf. You know, it’s right by Phantoms, next to those 3 episodes of The Andy Griffith Show, and behind Killpoint. It was directed by Mitsumasa Saito, with a screenplay by Toshio Kamata who also wrote another Chiba picture, Legend of the Eight Samurai.

Time Slip co-stars Isao Natsuyagi and Tsunehiko Watase. It is based on an novel by Ryo Hanmura, inspired a comic book series, and was remade in 2005 as Sengoku jieitai 1549 .

The movie looks and sounds clean. It runs smoothly in my bottom of the line DVD player.

Despite being a two-disc collection, very little is offered. There are recent interviews with
Sonny Chiba, Isao Natsuyagi, and others that amount to about 2 hours. There are also a couple of vintage trailers for the picture and a couple other Sonny Chiba movies.

And that’s pretty much it. We aren’t offered a commentary track, or the original Japanese score, or an English dubbed version.

The set doesn’t make very efficient use of 2 discs.

If you’re a big fan of samurai movies, war films, or Sonny Chiba, Time Slip is worth checking out. If Japanese movies tend to make your mind wander, confound you, or if their appeal is lost on you, Time Slip won’t make a compelling argument to change that stance.

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Ronin Entertainment presents Time Slip. Directed by Mitsumasa Saito. Starring Sonny Chiba. Written by Toshio Kamata. Running time: 139 minutes. Not rated. Released on DVD: April 8, 2008. Available at Amazon.com.