Bullet Points: Timeslip
I’m trying to find the words to describe exactly how awesome the final battle is but the words escape me. To watch thousands of samurai brazenly charge into machine gun fire and attempt to stab a tank with a spear makes me so happy. Any man who has ever served in combat has most likely had the thought cross his mind, “I wonder how many dudes I could kill if I was transported back 500 years with my rifle and a butt-load of ammunition.” I know I thought about it several times and after watching Timeslip for the third time I finally feel like I’m gaining a greater understanding of what the situation might look like. This movie is pure entertainment; from the strange music, the crazy battle scenes, the super gay montages, and just the sight of Sonny Chiba firing a machine gun at a cavalry charge from the top of a speeding jeep, you’ll be loving yourself for watching this masterpiece.
The Gist: Lt. Yoshiaki Iba and his squadron of Japanese Defense Forces are heading to meet up with fellow soldiers for a training exercise when they are suddenly and without explanation whisked back in time 400 years to the Warring States Period. They soon find themselves under attack from sword-wielding samurai and decide that the only way to make it back to their time is to join forces with a power-hungry warlord and conquer the country.
The Cast: Japanese legend and throat-ripping enthusiast Sonny Chiba plays Lt. Iba. His leadership qualities could easily be called into question but don’t you think for one second that his reasoning for wanting to conquer the country aren’t sound; we must conquer the country and then the Gods of history will send us back. I dare you to try and find a flaw in that reasoning. Chiba is absolutely at home as both a soldier and as a samurai. I love the transition of Lt. Iba from a dude with a gun to a dude riding horses while blasting fools with a bow and arrow and then leaping from his horse and impaling ninjas with a spear. If you’re into that kind of thing then this movie is for you.
Chiba really rocks that red neckerchief.
The Villain: There isn’t a real villain here. Hell, you could almost say that Lt. Iba and his men play the villains as they are the ones who are attempting to defy history by laying waste to the clans in charge. You may find the plot of Timeslip familiar as there was an American movie titled The Final Countdown which took parts of the story the following year. In it, an American aircraft carrier is transported back to 1941 and the crew debate on whether or not they should stop the Japanese before the attack on Pearl Harbor. While that sounds sweet, The Final Countdown is a big letdown as there is no Sonny Chiba with a sub-machine gun hanging from a helicopter shooting at people.
Just one of the weirdly homoerotic montages.
The Action: The final few minutes of Timeslip kinda drag on but what happens prior to the finale more than makes up for it. Iba and his dwindling crew of men face off with an army of thousands in a 25 minute battle that is so epic it gives me a half-chub just thinking about it. It isn’t the only time that our modern forces are fighting against their potential ancestors but it is by far the most badass. Earlier in the film we see Iba use his tank and helicopter in support of their warlord buddy Kagatori but it isn’t until the end of the movie that we get to see how the modern soldiers fare against the samurai on the open field. Let me tell you right now, this is possibly my favorite battle I’ve ever seen on film.
Riding into battle with style.
Take it Home:
- Alternate Title: When released here in the states it was titled G.I. Samurai.
- Hide your wives, hide your kids: All of the male characters in the movie give off a serious “rapey” vibe.
- Bro-mance: Iba and Kagatori have a seriously bro-mantic relationship.
- It’s called strategy people: At one point Iba dangles from a moving helicopter blasting away with his sub-machine gun at the enemy. This is not the sort of attack that I was taught in the military.
- Don’t tell PETA: There had to have been dozens of horses harmed while making this movie. It looks like they just tie ropes the front legs of the horses and have them run at full speed. It looks bizarrely painful and horrible.