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Moon Child (2003)

DVD Cover (Danger After Dark)
Genres:
Action, Action Thriller, Horror, Sci-Fi Horror, Vampire Film
Director:
Takahisa Zeze Takahisa Zeze
Starring:
Hyde Hyde
Gackt Gackt
Leehom Wang Leehom Wang
Tarô Yamamoto Tarô Yamamoto
Susumu Terajima Susumu Terajima

6.6 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by WinterMercy
Added: August 03, 2004
Sho, his older brother Shinji, and their friend Toshi are orphans. At such a young age, they're forced to burglarize and steal to keep themselves alive. Upon Moon Child's opening, a very different set of characters is introduced: Kei and Luka. The opening scene is very hazy and disoriented, playing various audio clips of news programs from the New Year celebration in China (I assume, because my Chinese and Japanese are very rusty and under-developed). The lights streak across the screen and one character is shown with a bloody mouth, leaning against a wall. Another grabs him and they proceed to run. There isn't really much in this opening scene until you watch the movie fully, but after that it all makes plenty of sense. To put it as bluntly as possible, this movie is a vampire's story set in near-future Mapella, China. To make it less blunt, this movie is about these three friends and their vampire partner, hustling money from rival gangs, all while maintaining their childlike humor and lovable dialogue. The story revolves around this group of friends as they grow older. As the story develops, close friends die and join rival gangs. Although the violence and rivalry of the two gangs is pretty evenly spread through this movie, the friendship between the vampire Kei and his orphaned friend Sho is an underlying theme that spans the whole film. Through thick, thin, death, and life, Sho and Kei are there to help each other. That seems to be the moral of the story.

Set the emotional value of this movie to the side and you've got a few damned good action sequences in here. In the first gun-action scene, the characters are dodging bullets and cartwheel-shooting. Although I must say, since the 'battles' in this picture are gun-based, either everyone has horrificly bad aim, or the main characters are incredibly good at avoiding bullets. The action sequences are fast paced, but devised well enough for the watcher to tell what's going on, leaving a few seconds for a potential jaw-drop. More importantly, the effects in this movie aren't so over the top that it takes away from the enjoyment. This movie is also devoid of these cheesy 'Matrix' rip-offs that most movies have made a mockery of. And since not everyone gets hit with every bullet shot, it's pretty believable, as far as action sequences go.

Simply put, this film is hilarious, breathtaking, and exhilarant, all at separate times. As the drama unfolds and characters are introduced, you're pulled into the story. As the gun battles commence, you're drawn into the sheer action or it all. As a character misses a kick and smashes his foot into the ground, you're too busy laughing to realize there's still a well developed plot. The characters are developed (the drug addicted brother, who still walks with a limp from being shot in the leg in the opening scene), the cast plays them perfectly to roles, and they fit into the story like they were intended.

The soundtrack isn't superb, but it isn't over the top either. It goes along with the dramatic parts in the movie perfectly, and meshes so well with the action sequences that I hardly remember if there's even music in the action sequences.

One of the downfalls of this movie (for the American consumer) is that not everyone can understand Japanese, nor can they understand the other languages that are spoken in the film. You'll have to rely on the subtitles, but that doesn't take too much away from the quality of the movie.

However, since there are just 'a few damned good action sequences', you have to appreciate the story for what it is in order to get any enjoyment out it. Hope you like drama, because despite what the back of the DVD/VHS box says, it's definitely a drama. It's still enjoyable and fulfilling enough that I'd recommend it to any drama/action fan, as well as anyone who enjoys vampires and a bit of Japanese culture. It's even got quite a bit of humor in it. As far as the story, it's too good to spoil. You'll have to watch it yourself.

Overall, this movie gets a 9/10, with a penalty for the American viewers. Had I assumed everyone knew Japanese, I would allot the full 10/10 ranking this movie deserves. Regardless, go out and rent yourself a copy. It's worth a watch.
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