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Review Score (1995): Reservoir Dogs a la John Woo!

genre: action, crime, heroic bloodshed

Writer / director Atsushi Muroga clearly is a huge fan of action cinema. And unlike most of us, he actually embraced this passion to make his own films. I know that there is a tendency to put filmmakers like him on equal footing as Tommy Wiseau (The Room) or Amir Shervan (Samurai Cop) but that would not be fair one bit. Technically, Score is light years above to The Room and Samurai Cop. Apart from a few flaws, Score demonstrates that he is very competent. But it is very likely, you never heard of this man. And that is a big shame if you ask me!

So what is Score? It's a blend of Reservoir Dogs, City on Fire, Hard Target and Natural Born Killers. That latter part in the form of a Japanese couple who are incredibly annoying to everyone in the film and us, the audience. It's clear to me, they serve as filler and easily could have been removed without this having a lot of impact on the film. If you are familiar with the films I mentioned, then you will recognize quite a lot. Action wise, I was completely on board. Plot wise, it's purse nonsense and illogical. The little plot elements that are present just serve to put events in motion. Normally I am fine with that. In this case, though, I would have preferred more nonsense and more action. Too many times, the film stands still at the cost of the action. Now, I am very aware that this is because of the ultra low budget for this film. Most of the film seems to be shot on one location, and I guess they tried to make it look like it wasn't.

The action in Score is stellar. Atushi clearly knows how to choreograph and shoot action. Some sequences actually resembled some of John Woo's finest works. The only problem I had is that, like many who try to copy John Woo, for some reason haven't figured out yet to make the action last. Too many interruptions in between. Woo himself also intertwines action with non action, however he does it for dramatic purposes. The non action scenes usually intensify the action. Plus, he makes sure all the scenes flow well, like it's one huge ballet performance. You can hardly fault Atushi for not being able to accomplish this, since John Woo is a GOD after all. Who can compete with that? But seriously, it's astonishing and quite amazing how John Woo still hasn't been topped yet!

I do have to mention that for a low budget film, the actors are quite good. They all give it their best and do act like they are in a huge blockbuster film. Except, for the knock off Natural Born Killers. They outed themselves as wannabe's. While I enjoyed the action, it's not a film I can recommend to everyone. For that, it's just too lacking. But for a fan of heroic bloodshed, this one is hard to pass up, no matter how flawed. 

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