Fulvue Drive-In.com
Current Reviews
In Stores Soon
In Stores Now
DVD Reviews, SACD Reviews Essays Interviews Contact Us Meet the Staff
An Explanation of Our Rating System Search  
Category:    Home > Reviews > Asian > Japanese > Drama > Manji (1964)

Manji (1964)


Picture: C     Sound: C     Extras: C    Film: D



Manji (1964) is a film that tries too hard to be dramatic, stops being dramatic and starts getting ridiculous.  After ten minutes of this film, I immediately lost all interest in it and got bored with it.  The acting is over the top and poorly executed.  The characters go so over the top that in places you wonder if they could get you out any more of the movie.  It’s a lesbian soap opera (and thought police lesbian at that) that isn’t interesting or fun to watch.   The Director, Yasuzo Masumura, takes no time to allow the characters any sort of character identification.  The sequences of the girls being upset scattered throughout the movie are the worst and most painful scenes to watch.  Imagine a wailing Asian woman crying and swinging her arms like a fourth grader who didn’t get his Spongebob Squarepants toy.


This movie is bad in every way.  It’s boring.  Horrifically acted.  No nudity at all during any of the sensual scenes that are so “important” to both of the characters.   The story - an older lawyers wife encounters a younger woman who she drew a picture of in an art class.  The younger woman decides that the picture doesn’t look like her and in the spirit of Cinemax Original Movies, decides it’s a good idea to see her in “the flesh” so she knows what her body truly looks like.  The two in a “dramatic” shot, the two women are seen holding each other in the buff. If this thin story line isn’t enough for you, try a scene later in the film when the Older Woman’s Husband overhears her on the phone with her lover when she announces that she’s going to “ditch” her husband early in the morning so the two of them can “play God”. Then it gets really bad. What really bugs me about this film is that I hate when movies tease you with nudity.  I think it’s the biggest cop out.  It’s the same with violence in films being cut out.  Would the death of Leon in Leon: The Professional be as dramatic if you didn’t see his head being blown out?  What really doesn’t make a bit of sense to me is that this is POINT of the whole movie to begin with is the psycho-lesbian relationship the two have!


The anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image and Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono sound quality on the disc are both average.  The picture is less than perfect with many shots hard to tell if they’re in soft focus or just transferred badly, not doing justice to the cinematography of Setsuo Kobayashi.  Less is to be expected from the older sound, yet even Tadashi Yamauchi’s score seems to be getting short-changed somehow.  Even the extras on this disc are limited: Original Theatrical Trailer, Yasuzo Masumura biography and filmography, and a photo/stills gallery. There’s also a nice booklet that has some insight into the film, but with hardly any film to enjoy, even that is limited.


Overall, to repeat again, the film is not too impressive in the least.  It feels like a big cop out.  Not only with its lack of nudity but it’s lack of purpose and being capable of giving a damn whether these characters live or die.  It doesn’t matter how many times we see this girl cry, wail or get cut with knives - we still don’t care.  See it at your own risk.



-   James Lockhart


 Copyright © MMIII through MMX fulvuedrive-in.com