Monday, 27 October 2008

Dalton Trebeck's Japan Trilogy

The Japan Trilogy is as follows: Into Death Us We Kill, Respect For The Mad Buddhist Death and A Father's Tale.

Into Death Us We Kill has many good points. It's the first in the two films made by Derek Q DeLain, who also directed A Father's Tale. There are no American supporting parts. Trebeck says ten lines in the film. There are no subtitles, the Japanese saying a few words here or there and you know what they mean. People butcher one another in many a small Japanese town. Many a young lass goes into the online porn trade, tutored by aging men. Through it all Dalton murders his way to get back his kidnapped daughter, taken in the first scene in Tokyo. Its episodic, essentially Trebeck going from town to town, murdering gangster scum and accidentally killing many innocent bystanders. Trebeck looks increasingly unhinged throughout. He ends up finding his daughter dead, then decapitates all that he sees in a small town. This is a film with three whorehouse shoot-outs, two destroyed police stations (the police are in on it), ten castrated businessmen (one is a politician) and no message beyond brutal revenge. It's great but unseen largely in America due to its insane levels of violence.

Respect For The Mad Buddhist Death is a Warwick Jehane film, the first collaboration stalled by many falling outs. It's the only one of the three Japan films that received real American distribution and is the best one. It has the dumbest plot but the best direction. It has Dirk Michael Wheatley being a CIA agent turned priest, butchering Buddhist Japanese children in the first five minutes, his friend played by Gabriel Van Dyke sent in to kill him. Gabriel loses an arm and a leg in a brutal fight. Then we cut to Dalton. Dalton is murdering a family of yakuza, is betting attacked by men, women and children, hacking them all to bits with a sword. He walks out of the house, looks around, goes to the next house. Next scene he gets a call from Van Dyke, telling him of Wheatley being in town, gone mad. Dalton goes to meet Wheatley, sees that Wheatley has gone too far, tries to kill him. What we have is a ten-minute long fight which goes from Buddhist temples to hotels, murdering literally hundreds. Dalton is left for dead, is rescued by surviving Buddhist, is brought back from death. Wheatley stays on the hunt while Dalton recovers, killing people, burning bodies and buildings then disappearing. He looks tortured. Buddhist track him from spirits, sending Dalton after him, Dalton always too late, finding burned out remains and being blamed, as a white man. So he repeatedly has to fight his way out. Which he does without pity, destroying already injured men. Wheatley then falls in love with a Japanese woman, then kills her for being unpure. Then he does it again. Dalton keeps reliving old assignments, all scene, where he kills people, feeling ashamed. Dalton also kills a pig that is said to be the re-incarnation of an old enemy. That's unusual, even for a Dalton Trebeck film. Finally, after a few near misses, Wheatley attacks a yakuza mainstay, Dalton running in halfway through the scene, they both killing the yakuza before turning on one another for a brutal yet quick fist-fight, Dalton literally beating Wheatley to death before himself being shot by a child survivor. This is a film, massacre after massacre, that offers continually inventive, off-hand brutality. It's genius.

A Father's Tale is the quiet one. There is literally no violence for the first hour. Trebeck finds a baby from a dead prostitute and looks after it. He is in a Japanese village (one of the ones destroyed in Into Death Us We Kill). For the next hour he looks after the baby, interacts with the locals, speaks some Japanese, and is kindly to all. He does a pretty good job of being human. He plays a CIA agent who is hiding out, having been turned on by old friends. The film becomes an action movie when the father of the baby returns to the village, a thug trying to be a businessman, finds out about the dead hooker (who he wanted kept alive, was in love with). This man hunts down those who killed her, or plotted to have her killed. Trebeck is off-screen for half an hour here as this guy kills a lot of people. Finally the two men meet, Dalton deciding it is best to hand over the baby to the father, that he will look after him. Dalton moves on, continuing to be in hiding. This was supposed to be a start of a Japanese series but due to the lack of Trebeck action it was never released in the US. It did well in Asia and the Trebeck part was recast film to film, different director every film, no continuity, the films becoming violent and ungainly. They do not bear watching.

So it was odd to Eastern Europe after these Japanese films. Is a shame. He did a great job there.

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