Yuji Shimomura-directed thriller, Re:Born, has been the talk of many a fan for the longest time now, but the word is now that the film will stream on horror platform, Shudder, beginning November 7. Shimomura’s sophomore debut reunites the stunt performer, action director and coordinator with cult action star Tak Sakaguchi as both paved the way with many notable directors in the last twenty years for Japanese cult action cinema.
Sakaguchi stars as Toshiro, an idyllic countryside store clerk whose past life as a clandestined special forces operative comes back to haunt him and the young girl in his care. What ensues is a rampaging tale of action-packed close quarters retribution with Toshiro laying waste as a one-man army against his old commander and his gorilla kill-squad. The film made the rounds on DVD and Blu-Ray in some form or another in Japan and the UK, and grew wider appeal as Sakaguchi himself embraced his celebrity for what appears to be one of his last films to date among several in recent memory.
After toruing last year in Austin for the Iron Dragon TV Action Fest, Sakaguchi launched a YouTube channel to, among other things, showcase his own trade in close quarters self-defense taking after CQC specialist Yoshitaki Inagawa who himself appears in Re:Born as one of the main villains. Additionally, Sakaguchi is best known for roles on both sides of the lens in a number of hit movies, from celebrated directors like Ryuhei Kitamura (Versus), Yudai Yamaguchi (Yakuza Weapon), Noboru Iguchi (Mutant Girls Squad), Sono Sion (Why Don’t You Play In Hell?), Shinsuke Sato (Kingdom) and Yoshihiro Nishimura (Rise Of The Machine Girls) to name a few.
In 2008, Sakaguchi made his directorial debut in Be A Man! Samurai School, in which he also starred for its screenings at Fantasia in 2008 and at the New York Asian Film Festival in 2009. Fans got quite the scare several years later when Sakaguchi announced what was said to be his retirement in 2013, though given his progress since then, it’s still a wonderful feeling having seen him stick around, and with the campaign having already begun for Rise Of The Machine Girls and his long-awaited one-take jiadaigeki thriller, Crazy Musashi, we can at least rest ourselves in the idea that his departure isn’t quite happening just yet (I’m also quite sure that my friend, stunt performer Paul Varacchi will be quite pleased with this as much as he would being mentioned in this article, and not for nothing either – were it not for him and fellow friend to the site Kimmy Suzuki importing a DVD/Blu-Ray copy herself and Paul inviting me to his humble abode last year in Brooklyn for a viewing party, I wouldn’t have been able to write a review of my own).
Re:Born also stars Masaya Kato, Takumi Saitoh, Hitomi Hasebe, Yura Kondo, Mariko Shinoda, Akio Otsuka, Issei Ishida and the illuminating talents of Makoto Sakaguchi. Andrew Mack reported the story at Screen Anarchy whose coverage for Shudder also lists releases for the film in the UK and Canada, in addition to titles like Jérémie Guez’s A Bluebird In My Heart, Wes Craven’s New Nightmare, Takashi Miike’s Audition, Shinya Tsukamoto’s Tetsuo, and more.