Legal Alien: A Scotsman in Montreal

Funky Foreign Flicks

My bro got me a DVD for Christmas, specially imported from Japan. It was a 3 DVD set in a shiny silver box and said on the front in big letters CASSHERN. It looked cool, so I turned to the back to find out what it was about, but was confronted with lines of Japanese. Ah. Still, my bro had seen it, said it was good, and I guess had picked up on the fact that I like stuff like this.

I watched it over the weekend and it was pretty immense. It revolves around a war and some weird experimenting that goes wrong and ends up creating a threat to humanity - then, along comes the 'hero' to save the day. That's bascially what happens, but isn't really what the film is about at all. Like many animes the central theme is all about humanity's historical desire for hatred and war and thus questions our existence.

It's set in the future - but is one of those 'old' futures where it looks like everything runs on steam and coal; everything is dark, lots of fires and smoke. Very reminiscent of Metropolis. Also, it's almost entirely CGI/green-screened but is done incredibly slickly so you can't tell the difference unless they want you to.

There are some really strange parts in the film - several things happen which have no explanation, none are sought and none are offered. It just has to be accepted (the main one being the deus ex machina that is the solid lightning which creates the neo-sapiens). Still, if you've watched enough Japanese stuff, this will be pretty much second nature by now.

The action scenes are really cool though - especially when Casshern takes on an entire army. It's a scene very similar to the start of the Samurai Jack cartoon series, especially when he karate chops a robot in half.

It's a bit of an epic at 2hrs 15mins, but is well worth it. I have no idea what is on the other 2 DVDs yet and oh yeah, it fulfills all the requirements of being a classic Japanese movie by having an ending which makes virtually no sense whatsoever.