Yonishi Toshinari’s debut feature film is a genuine action movie, which, despite its low budget, manages to present tons of impressive violence.

The film will screen at the 18th Japan-Filmfest Hamburg, that will be on 31.05-04.06.2017

Eve was a woman whose blood could regenerate human cells. To protect her from the plethora of people who wanted to exploit her abilities, she and her daughter were sequestered to an isolated place, along with three men who were responsible for their safety. However, they were eventually discovered by a team of paramilitary who killed Eve and kidnapped the daughter. After the events, Eve’s blood was sent to West Night, a company who spent years on researching it, succeeded in analyzing its DNA, and eventually developed a medicine named RC424.

Eve’s daughter had her memories erased, was renamed Sapphire, and along with a number of other girls, was trained to be a member of the aforementioned paramilitary group. However, at one point, she starts remembering her past and the role of the leader of the group, Adam, had in her life. He, on the other hand, is not eager to let her go, and is willing to use any measure to turn the rest of the team against her. In that fashion, during a mission that also involves the Russian mafia, all hell breaks loose.

Evidently, the story is present solely to provide a background for the action, as is usual the case with western action films, with “Sapphire” drawing much from them. However, Yoshinari Tonari, unburdened by any rules the western films have to obey, manages to present an impressive succession of action scenes, in a “polished” b-movie style, through a combination of video game, anime and music video aesthetics.

In that fashion, the cinematography is quite accomplished, presenting a plethora of stylistic action scenes, portraying the female protagonists in all their high-heeled, leather bound, sexy and violent glory. At the same time, as the movie takes place inside a school for the most part, the cinematography also gives a claustrophobic sense that fits the film’s general aesthetics, perfectly.

The biggest traits however, lie with the editing, that comprises mostly of fast cuts that give the movie a relentless pace, and the sound that highlights all the action impressively, and particularly the gunshots. The scene where bullets are heard ricocheting off metal surfaces is a testament to the prowess of that aspect. Add to that the, almost constantly playing, epic music, some CGI that even involve a jet, a bit of gore, and some humor in the most unexpected times and you have the backbone of “Sapphire”

Hitomi Uno plays the role of Sapphire with the laconic style usually associated with action films, as is the case with the other protagonists. However, the style of all the gorgeous Girl-with-Guns in the film is impressive, and adds much to the general atmosphere of the film.

“Sapphire” is a refreshing entry to the genre and subcategory and a truly entertaining film that will satisfy all fans of action movies.

My name is Panos Kotzathanasis and I am Greek. Being a fan of Asian cinema and especially of Chinese kung fu and Japanese samurai movies since I was a little kid, I cultivated that love during my adolescence, to extend to the whole of SE Asia. Starting from my own blog in Greek, I then moved on to write for some of the major publications in Greece, and in a number of websites dealing with (Asian) cinema, such as Taste of Cinema, Hancinema, EasternKicks, Chinese Policy Institute, and of course, Asian Movie Pulse. in which I still continue to contribute. In the beginning of 2017, I launched my own website, Asian Film Vault, which I merged in 2018 with Asian Movie Pulse, creating the most complete website about the Asian movie industry, as it deals with almost every country from East and South Asia, and definitely all genres. You can follow me on Facebook and Twitter.