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A Cheerful Gang Turns the Earth

Thanks to coin from Japanese company Shochiku, helmer Tetsu Maeda delivers a pic which is a qualitative advance on his previous indie effort "Brat Rock." Skedded for release in April, "Gang" will steal the hearts of Japanese auds. In other territories, however, it's unlikely to pass Go.

With:
With: Takao Osawa, Kyoka Suzuki, Shota Matsuda, Koichi Sato.

Not-so-innocent bystanders join forces to create a more pleasant bank robbery experience in colorful Nipponese crime comedy, “A Cheerful Gang Turns the Earth.” Thanks to coin from Japanese company Shochiku, helmer Tetsu Maeda delivers a pic which is a qualitative advance on his previous indie effort “Brat Rock.” Skedded for release in April, “Gang” will steal the hearts of Japanese auds. In other territories, however, it’s unlikely to pass Go.

After meeting during a Yokohama bank robbery, four crafty but cute customers, including obligatory muse Eiko (“Blood and Bone” distaff thesp Kyoka Suzuki), decide they too can pull a heist and even make it fun. Soon, the Cheerful Gang has simultaneously raised the ire of the authorities and the criminal who unwittingly brought them together. Pic bounces along amiably, and thesps hit their predetermined marks efficiently, with Koichi Sato standing out as the blonde haired rough diamond Kyono. Helming is solid and makes good use of CGI — especially in car chase sequences that are an impressive near miss from the real thing. Tech credits are pro.

A Cheerful Gang Turns the Earth

Japan

Production: A Shochiku presentation (in Japan) of a Dentsu Tec, Cine Bazar, Geneon Entertainment, Rentrak Japan, Nippan, Aoi Advertising Promotion, Imagica, Yahoo! Japan co-production. (International sales: Dentsu Tec, Tokyo.) Produced by Ryouichi Fukuyama, Kazutoshi Wadakura. Executive producers, Yuji Shimamoto, Kouki Matsumoto. Directed by Tetsu Maeda. Screenplay, Takashi Hasegawa, Maeda, Kentaro Ushio, based on a novel by Isaka Kotaro.

Crew: Camera (color), Hideo Yamamoto; editor, Mototaka Hikabe; music, Sato "Fisher" Go; production designer, Nao Sasaki. Reviewed at Yubari Fantastic Film Festival (Official Selection), Feb. 26, 2006. Japanese, English dialogue. Running time: 90 MIN.

With: With: Takao Osawa, Kyoka Suzuki, Shota Matsuda, Koichi Sato.

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