Saturday, September 1, 2007

Moon Child (Japan 2003)

The year is 2014 and Japan is suffering from a major economical collapse that forces it's citizens to emigrate to nearby mainland China. Most of the refugees seek a meager life in a city called "Mallepa", where crime, drug-use, and thugs infest everything. This is also where three street-wise orphans Sho (Gackt Camui, ex-singer of pop-rock band Malice Mizer), his brother Shinji (Susumu Terajima), and Toshi (Taro Yamamoto) survive by pulling off scams and pick-pocket attempts. While the three try to rob a gangster, they come across Kei (Hideto Takarai aka Hyde) a vampire who is weak from not being able to feed and he's about to die. The boys are chased and attacked by the gangster, but Kei steps in to save their lives. Sho and Shinji are taken aback by Kei's thirst for blood, but they aren't afraid and end up becoming good friends. Years later we find the boys are now young men who have continued their hustle of robbing gangsters. Shinji, who now has a limp and is addicted to drugs, is replaced by Kei who takes his place and helps Sho with some pointers. During a robbery, the team runs across Son (Wang Lee Hom), a man out for revenge for his sister Yi-Che's (Zeny Kwok) rape. The team aid Son in his revenge and this is the beginning of the group becoming close friends. Sho and Kei slowly develop feelings for Yi-Che, but don't act on them which in turn creates a small amount of tension. On top of that, Kei grows tired of needing to "feed" in order to survive and he continues to bring up the fact that Sho can succeed without him and he'll just outlive everyone anyway. This begins the downward spiral within the group as their lives begin to change and grow apart at a rapid pace.

Moon Child has a lot of things going on within it's futuristic, manga-inspired, vampire, HK-style gun-play, eight-gun-toting-hero, bullet-dodging, Japanese not liking Taiwanese people in the fake city of Mallepa, storyline. However, the one thing that sticks out the most is the huge inconsistencies in the story. It's a field day of subplots that get lost in the shuffle. The main reason Moon Child is such a mess, is because the story jumps forward through time, leaving huge gaps of to be filled with just a few lines of dialogue. You come back and there are new subplots and characters to put up with. The only thing that is forced in order to keep the time line is that of the group's friendship. When that begins to deteriorate in leaps and bounds, it makes you shake your head. It's doesn't help matters that the characters are so boring to watch. When they interact with each other, namely on the beach, you're supposed to believe that this is forever? The worst is when they don't even interact with what's happening to them! Why don't the friends ever question Kei for not being around for half the day? Has no one noticed that this guy doesn't age? What's with his death-wish mentality at times? Or when he attacked that man at the park, why was he sucking blood from his neck after he hopped ten feet in the air? And so on and so on, it's just plain stupid. All good questions to ask one of your supposed best friends with abnormal behavior. Well, I guess when a movie is mostly laced with pop-stars, this is the kind of product you end up with. So a lesson has been learned and it is as follows: when strong friendships border strangely with a homo-erotic symbiosis between two androgynous guys, but one happens to be a vampire, this won't do anything good for anyone. (Converter)

Buy Moon Child on DVD at YESASIA! (Japan Version w/English Subtitles)

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