Battlefield Baseball

Cheekily dedicated to all who love America's favorite pastime, "Battlefield Baseball" is an occasionally bloody and perpetually schlocky pitch from Japan to the apocalyptic sports genre typified by "Rollerball." Erratically structured and poorly lensed, first feature by former scripter Yudai Yamaguchi dabbles with amusing satire.

With:
With: Taku Sakaguchi, Atsushi Itoh, Kouichi Nagata, Yoshiro Takayama, Hidetaka Nishio.

Cheekily dedicated to all who love America’s favorite pastime, “Battlefield Baseball” is an occasionally bloody and perpetually schlocky pitch from Japan to the apocalyptic sports genre typified by “Rollerball.” Erratically structured and poorly lensed, first feature by former scripter Yudai Yamaguchi dabbles with amusing satire but in the main is strictly Little League. Cult sidebars beckon on the fest circuit.

Handsomely enigmatic thesp Taku Sakaguchi (from the Yamaguchi-scripted “Versus” and “Alive”) toplines as Jubei, a rebel student and Seido High’s only hope against the punk and zombie-infested Gedo High in the upcoming Koushien baseball tournament (a real-life, annual inter-school event). Despite having renounced the sport after accidentally killing his father with his “super tornado pitch,” Jubei is lured by duty back to the game, where he’s joined in the high body count play-off by a team assembled from the school’s losers and oddballs. Early glimpses of wit, such as music video parodies and a false start on the opening titles, become increasingly distant as pic continues its high strikeout rate. English title on print caught was “Battlefield Stadium”; original Japanese one means “Koushien Hell.”

Battlefield Baseball

Japan

Production: A Media Suits production. (International sales: The Klockworx Co., Tokyo.) Produced by Ryuhei Kitamura, Hidemi Satani. Directed by Yudai Yamaguchi. Screenplay, Yamaguchi, Isao Kiriyama.

Crew: Camera, (color), Kou Furuya; editor, Shuichi Kakesu; music, Daisuki Yano, Nobuhiko Yano; art director, Isao Hagiwara. Reviewed at Puchon Intl. Fantastic Film Festival, South Korea, July 14, 2003. Running time: 86 MIN.

With: With: Taku Sakaguchi, Atsushi Itoh, Kouichi Nagata, Yoshiro Takayama, Hidetaka Nishio.

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