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  • I have always loved this movie since I first saw it in the eighties but have been stuck with the shorter (105 or 115 minute)American versions. I finally found a full, 156 minute, version last year and it really makes a difference. As is the case with most Japanese movies edited for America, from Gojira to the present, they have a tendency to take out the poignant parts and edit so that some of the original plot points are completely lost. Here you gain more scenes at the Japanese base camp with them dealing with the loss of their families back home and a really powerful scene when they contact a young American boy by short-wave that has lost his parents. There are also more scenery-chewing scenes with some of the leads, especially with Henry Silva going way over the top. If you like the movie, this version is definitely worth looking for.
  • I saw the original one in cinema when it first came out in 1980 in Japan. Great adaptation of an original novel by Sakyo Komatsu. It was an epic of more than two hours, which shook my youthful soul with the power of love.

    I was flabbergasted by how this epic was mutilated when I saw it again in video in USA. The one you can see in USA has no resemblance to the original version, where, I recall, much longer portion of the film was spent describing "the walk". Also all the episodes in Japan were omitted, so most of the Japanese characters in Antarctica made no sense. In a nutshell, the "American" version only talks about American people, so there is really only half the story left in the film. If you can get the original version, it is a very emotional film, 8/10. The "American" version is not worth anything, 4/10.
  • I played a Russian army officer. I remember the director chewing me out in Japanese and with animated gestures, because I was not standing with as rigid and military a posture as was expected of an army officer. I was on set with many of the lead actors: Chuck Connors, well past his "Rifleman" days, quipped between takes: "Not bad for fourteen grand a day." Bo Svenson: He carried a whoopie cushion and sidled up to people, making fart sounds, which he thought was hilarious. He also took a lot of pride in showing us his underwater demolition license. George Kennedy: Self-absorbed, sullen and forbidding, spoke with no one. Those three were all really big, tall men. Edward J. Olmos: Nice guy, friendly, engaging. Cec LInder: Liked to play poker between scenes. A very elegant gentleman, exuded mentshlekhkayt. Olivia Hussey: Stayed in her dressing room most of the time, listening to Bob Dylan on a cassette-player. One time, she made her way to the set to watch a scene being filmed and said "hello." She was a breathtakingly beautiful woman, famous for being in Zefirelli's "Romeo and Juliet."

    This, I'll never forget ( and no disrespect intended): Local Toronto actor Ara Hovanessian was cast in a small part. He had a dressing room with his name written on a piece of paper tacked to the door. Figuring it would be a positive career move -???- he tore off the "essian," and re-named himself there and then. I can still that crudely ripped piece of paper in my mind. Ah, show-business . . .

    Wolf Krakowski Kame'a Media:
  • Having read all the bad reviews this movie has received because of its poor videoquality and editing, I nonetheless bought it yesterday on DVD from a local store in Oslo. I just simply had to buy it in spite of the numerous warnings.

    The reason is that I'm a huge fan of similar movies like The Andromeda Strain, The Satan Bug and the Cassandra Crossing which are all great.

    Regarding the movie itself I was pleasantly surprised. It has good acting, good story and decent production values to boot. All the necessary ingredients for making a compelling movie.

    Sadly this is ruined by an almost unviewable videoprint. It seems to me that the DVD-edition I bought used an old VHS videoprint as the source. The sound is equally bad.

    Finally, some of the shorter prints of the film is plagued by abruptness. The version I acquired runs approx. 108 minutes. You get the feeling you've missed out on something. Nearing the end of the film one of the main characters returns from Washinghton to Antarctica. But we get no explanation as to how he made the journey. Which off course is a prudent question to ask, since in between his departure and arrival, a nuclear holocaust has transpired and several years have passed.

    The longest version runs approx. 150 minutes. Hopefully I'll someday get my hands on that copy. And I urge everyone else to stay clear of the shorter prints and aim for the full 150 minute version instead.

    Kind regards, Chris
  • What's not to love about VIRUS? I bought the DVD (which supposedly features the 'director's cut') and discovered that I'd got the truncated American version, sighed and sat down to watch it anyway. For the next two hours I was caught up in an epic, world-wide story that never stalled or felt unconvincing for a second. This is a matter-of-fact tale of the apocalypse, showing what would really happen if a killer virus was unleashed upon the world's unsuspecting population.

    The Japanese production values are top notch and in particular the post-apocalypse sequences are expertly staged: a desolate world indeed is built up after the calamity that unfolds. Following in the best 'disaster film' traditions, an all-star American cast delivers the goods, from a particularly affecting Glenn Ford as the doomed president to Robert Vaughn as his trustworthy adviser and Henry Silva as a war-mongering general. Add in Olivia Hussey, George Kennedy, Edward James Olmos, tough guy Bo Svenson and even a cameoing Sonny Chiba and you have pretty much the movie-lover's dream cast.

    Of course, given that this is in reality a Japanese film, the acting honours really go to Masao Kusakari, playing an ordinary-guy scientist who undergoes tremendous ordeals and feats of bravery by the time the film ends. Kusakari is the film's real hero and he's never less than excellent. I enjoyed the way this movie explores the real-life consequences of such catastrophic events, such as what happens when eight women are shared between hundreds of men, and at some point I'll track down the full uncut version, which I suspect will be even better…
  • I was so impressed by this movie that I hunted for it on IMDB to place a comment. It boasts a stellar American cast in a delightfully international story. Rather than spoil it for a new viewer, I offer these two items of advice: 1) don't be put off by the occasionally over-the-top acting and 2) read ALL the credits at the end.
  • It was 17 years ago (1983) that I watched this movie as a new release in Guadalajara, Mexico. I was 15 years old and I still remember it well. That is how much it moved me.

    What if a man made military virus killed off the world except for the coldest place on Mother Earth? What if (at the height of the Cold War) Cold War enemies had to team up to survive? What if the few hundred men and women left in the world had to procreate mankind? Further (and what makes me remember this movie), how do they handle a new threat to their lives?

    I strongly recommend this movie.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Unquestionably the end-of-the-world as beget by a lethal, unstoppably infectious man-made disease cataclysmic sci-fi thriller to end 'em all, an unmitigated take-no-prisoners-and-don't-pull-any-punches corker which at the time was the single most costly (a hefty $17 million), audacious and prodigiously ambitious shoot-the-fireworks-straight-to-the-moon-and-back film production made in Japanese motion picture history, a grand scale endeavor which took two whole years and the participation of five entire continents to get made. Naturally, and somewhat ironically considering the all-star international name cast, this hell-broke-for-humanity merciless skull-popper received short shift in the United States, forgoing a theatrical run for the undeserved direct to cable and video route. To make matters worse, this two and a half hour epic was badly butchered by American distributors, who cut roughly 45 minutes out of the film.

    A plane crash in the Alps gets the grimly serious plot ball rolling with an electrifying bang, unleashing the East German conceived MM-88 virus, a highly dangerous, contagious and impossible to curtail mutant DNA strain designed for chemical warfare purposes which both mimics the symptoms and exacerbates the severity of other more common and controllable sicknesses. Pretty soon all of 863 people are left of the world's once teeming, now quickly dwindling population, specifically 855 males and just eight females. It's up to this barely hanging on by a thin, flimsy, easily breakable thread bunch, who are valiantly eking out a tough, exacting, human spirit-testing existence in the freezing Artic because the virus can't take effect in 10 below chilling cold weather, to put things back together by starting afresh from the ground up. Alas, there's still a dire threat to be found from a fully operative doomsday device activated by a hawkish US general (ripely overplayed to the fire-breathing hilt by Henry Silva), which will be set off by an impending earthquake and destroy the few remnants of human life on this planet in an infernal blaze of nuclear holocaust glory unless it's shut off in time.

    Director Kinji Fukasaku, who also graced us with "The Green Slime," "Message from Space," and both "Battle Royale" films, builds on the heart-crushingly grave, uncompromisingly dark and downbeat tone with terrifyingly effective results, skillfully creating and sustaining a fiercely dour, distressing and disturbing all-hope-is-lost sensibility that's equally fatalistic and nihilistic in its depressing implications on mankind's self-destructive warmonger nature and desperate desire to keep on going in the absolute worst of situations. Sundry secondary characters are randomly dispatched like so many dominoes that have been lined up just so they can be knocked down (the little boy who commits suicide over a CB radio when he can't find anyone to talk to is an especially devastating sequence), hospitals overflow with dying patients, martial law gets declared all over the world, decomposing corpses litter the streets, and the few triumphs made by the struggling against savagely punishing odds ragtag group of folks who are still alive and kicking are very bittersweet hard-won victories indeed. The performances are uniformly superlative: Glenn Ford as the stalwart, pragmatic president, Robert Vaughn as a regretful senator, Chuck Connors as a steely, intrepid British naval submarine captain, Olivia Hussey as a resilient pregnant woman, Sonny Chiba as a South Pole base commander, Bo Svenson and Masao Kusakari as a dynamic pair of mighty fighting men who go into action to prevent a second catastrophe, Cecil Linder as a diligent doctor, Edward James Olmos as a hot-tempered Latino country leader, and George Kennedy as the fatherly admiral in charge of the Artic base all essay their roles with laudable conviction. Teo Macero's gorgeously elegiac orchestral score, Daisaku Kimura's agile, crystalline cinematography (the sweeping panoramic shots of the wintry, desolate, godforsaken Artic terrain are breathtaking), and a hauntingly bummed-out ending further enhance this hard-hitting knockout.
  • kiddhowe22 January 2006
    Warning: Spoilers
    Movies that depict disasters are plentiful so if you have time to view only one chose Virus (Fukkatsu no hi). It is a well developed story that holds your interest. The characters are believable people that you can relate to. The international cast adds to the flavor of the film.

    In a world where governments try to stay ahead of each other in developing weapons (armament and biological), Virus gives us a look at a situation that could happen in our lifetime.

    The above reasons are why I rated it 8 out of 10. Now to why Virus did not rate a 10. One character in the film was very one dimensional, although he was necessary to the story line he should have been given some quality we could relate to. One situation in the story was skirted and inadequately addressed, the consequences of rape in a society where women are in short supply. The women in the story directly asked what action was to be taken to prevent another rape from occurring and rather than answering that question the storyline segued to how the small number of women would have to accommodate more than one man. In their situation both the safety of the women and the new social interactions between men and women deserved to be addressed.

    All in all I have viewed Virus (Fukkatsu no hi) several times and have enjoyed it each time. I think you will too.
  • Excellent movie! I was fortunate enough to have seen this one of a kind film twice when it was shown in a Japanese TV station a year ago. I didn't seem to care at first because it was in Japanese and I don't understand it, but somehow I didn't turn the channel cause the film suddenly showed me these actors like Robert Vaughn in the White House. It seemed peculiar, and the movie looked very apocalyptic, like something really awful is going to happen. Riots and people suddenly dying.

    This movie is awesome, one of a kind, artistic, just so in many great ways to describe it. Be warned though the UK version of Fukkatso No Hi aka Virus, aka Day of Resurrection, aka The End, is cut severely to meet western standards so avoid that version. Japanese version is the best. This movie is amazing, nothing like it.
  • Like others have said, most copies are incomplete, and a bit lost.

    The one I got from Amazon a couple years ago is missing many scenes. Most importantly the last one (referred to in the opening, so that it no longer makes any sense).

    To make it worse, the sound is like an 8 track in a noisy 68 Pontiac!

    The original is one of my favorite movies. Well done, good story, wish I could find it!
  • This was the most expensive Japanese film of the time. The film didn't get any USA booking and played straight to cable before landing to video. In fact, several public domain labels now carry the film, when the film actually have a copyright! I saw both version of the film, and I think the uncut version is the best. A deadly virus is loose and wipes out all the U.S. population except for a group of people in Arctic. Most of the Japanese plotline was edited out, making the early stage of the film choppy in the US version. In fact, the end was also changed. Good American and Japanese cast supported by Canadian cast. But several actors like Ken Ogata (of MISHIMA fame) and Sonny Chiba still had little to do in the long version of this film. So I suspect a longer print might have been made. There was reports that a big accident happen on the set back then and several crew was killed.
  • Hi, I have just ordered the DVD from CD Japan, here is the link; it is a 2 disc set with remastered audio. it isn't available through amazon which is why i have made this post.

    Great movie and must have in the original format. I was looking for the DVD for ages and finally found it. A bit steep in price but was in a great packaged DVD box. region 2. English soundtrack (some scenes contain the Japanese additions which in my opinion add to the story and makes it less 'choppy')

  • Firstly let me say that this review is based on the full uncut 156 minute version of the movie.

    After watching this I can see why it was a financial failure when it was released and did not get more publicity. It is easy to see that the powers that be in the US and other countries featured would have preferred it never be seen. Just too close to the truth of what has happened on a smaller scale more than once.

    Ironic that a virus created by the US that kills almost everyone gets labeled Italian Flu. Do some real research of Spanish Flu that killed millions and you will know what I mean.

    This is a movie full of big name actors of the time, but you need to see the uncut 156 minute version to do it justice. All of the big names perform their roles well and while being very bleak the movies gets the story across with appropriate use of subtitles.

    Do not expect high end CGI or special effects, there are none, just a well put together movie that IMHO stands the test and is worth seeing some 35+ years later.

    Probably one of the best Armageddon movies you will see if you are prepared to sit thought it. This is not a hollywoodised movie in any way.

    Solid 8/10 for me, not sure I would watch it again though, a little bit too real for comfort.
  • I just purchased a used copy of the Sonny Chilba Action Pack which includes the uncut Japanese 156m version of the film. By far the best transfer of the film to a media that I have seen thus far. This version is extremely better than the edited US version. Every bit worth the money spent to acquire it. Looks like it is presented in 1:1.85 aspect and not grainy. The cut Japanese scenes bring a better viewing experience to fans of this film like me. There are English subtitles where needed. The scene that prompted me to post this on here was a scene where the Japanese Antarctic team get a radio signal from a 5 year old American child unable to operate a radio correctly. VIRUS is one of my favorite movies about the end of the world.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I came across "Virus" on DVD at the dollar store recently, and though I'd never heard of it, a quick look at IMDb revealed that the film had a pretty decent rating so I risked a buck on it. I loved disaster films when I was a kid so I'm surprised this one slipped past my radar back then. After further research I learned that there are several different cuts of this movie available and that the DVD I purchased is in fact the shorter U.S. cut, which is missing almost an hour of footage (mainly featuring the Japanese characters and their back stories). Despite that, I still found "Virus" to be a pretty entertaining (if a bit depressing) film and I'm interested in tracking down a copy of the "true" version of the film.

    Apparently "Virus" was the most expensive film made by a Japanese company at the time of its release (1980), featuring a large cast of both Japanese and Western actors. Unfortunately it never got proper worldwide distribution and was a major financial failure, which is a shame because this was a pretty damn good flick, even in this truncated version. The American cast (who are featured more prominently in the cut I saw) are all genre stalwarts who appeared in a lot of similar disaster films around this same time period -- Glenn Ford as the President of the United States, Robert Vaughn as his Senatorial foil, Henry Silva as a crazed Army general, and so on. I was particularly tickled by the total mis-casting of Chuck "Rifleman" Connors as the captain of a British submarine, because he doesn't even try to affect a British accent. (Perhaps the Japanese producers figured "Screw it, we're just going to dub over him with a Japanese actor anyway.") It does tend to be a bit talky, could've used some more action scenes, and obviously its Cold War era politics are now out of date, but overall "Virus" was a pretty decent little end-of-the-world/apocalypse saga.

    As the movie opens, some cloak-and-dagger types meet in an East German hideaway and exchange a vial of a new biological weapon known as MM-88. The plane carrying the men away from the exchange point crashes in the mountains and the virus is freed, causing a worldwide epidemic of disease that all but wipes out humanity from planet Earth. The only survivors untouched by the disease are a small group of researchers and military types stationed in Antarctica, where the virus cannot spread due to the cold temperatures. These 800-and-change survivors find themselves not only faced with the prospect of repopulating the barren Earth (with only 8 women in the population!), but also preventing yet another catastrophe, because in the final days before the fall of the U.S. Silva's character had armed a missile defense system which pointed all of America's nukes at Russia. An earthquake in the region threatens to cause the defense system to activate, which would then result in a retaliatory strike from a similar defense system on the Russian side. So just as our group of survivors is getting used to the idea of living in this Brave New World, now they have to worry about a follow up apocalypse! An American soldier (Bo Svenson of "Walking Tall" fame) and a Japanese scientist are dispatched to the ruins of Washington, D.C. to de-activate the missile system before all Hell breaks loose on Earth (again). I will not violate the Spoiler Warning rules by telling you how it all turns out, but let's just say it's not the typical Hollywood outcome.

    "All-star cast spectaculars" like these were a dime a dozen in the late 70s and early 80s and a lot of them stunk. "Virus" doesn't. It's a shame that such an ambitious project went all but unnoticed on this side of the ocean at the time of its release. Now that the U.S. version is apparently in the Public Domain and is readily available at an affordable price, it's worth taking a look at a film that had more to say than your average disaster flick. "Virus" is one of my better Dollar Store DVD pickups of late, and one of the few that I'm likely to watch again in the future. Now, where do I find a copy of the "true" original cut of this film? Time to do some searching.
  • Virus runs for 2hrs 35 minutes. Some of it came across as being a little cheesy and this in part was due to the soundtrack music (which grew on me and I am now searching for the LP), but overall the film gives a chilling feeling and the best "end of the world" scenario film I have ever come across. Everything that should be in this type of film is present and pulled off successfully (thanks in part to it's all star cast and good acting). Only film that I know of which has the actors give very realistic responses and moods to an impending potential doom. Besides it was by the director of Battle Royale so you know it cannot be all that bad.
  • This film centers on a virus that is made by the American military and then stolen by the East Germans. On the flight from East Germany to Zurich the plane crashes which releases the virus into the atmosphere resulting in a devastating world-wild contagion. Although incredibly deadly the virus has one major flaw in that it goes dormant in freezing conditions. As a result, the people living in Antarctica are saved from its contamination provided they don't allow any infected people from the outside world in. So over 850 men and 8 women are essentially cut off from everybody else. At any rate, this is a decent post-apocalyptic film with an all-star cast. Unfortunately, except for a very few actors, none of them had the allocated screen time to really establish themselves and develop their characters. This gave the film a "paint-by-numbers" feel which I thought damaged the overall effect. Additionally, from what I understand there is a long version of this movie available which is supposedly much better than the shorter version I happened to view. If that is the case then that probably explains some of the scenes which looked like they had been cut which contributed to the choppy effect I described earlier. In any case, while the 108 minute version is okay it might be better to obtain the longer version if possible--if for no other reason than the fact that the story might flow a bit more smoothly and the actors can showcase their talents a bit more.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    VIRUS is a film I first saw in the early 1980s and didn't think too much of it at the time . Much of my discontent was down to the fact that the ensemble cast just seemed a little too ensemble - there's no real character that the story tries to focus on . Indeed this makes the story feel somewhat mechanical from a narrative point of view . When someone turns up to explain plot turns they disappear quickly never to be seen again . Recently I found out that I had seen the American 108 minute version rather than 156 minute original cut but I can't help thinking perhaps the 156minute cut would make things any more coherent

    Perhaps the problem lies in that post apocalypse fiction isn't best suited to the cinema screen . One can't help thinking its perfect medium is either literature or mini-series . NO BLADE OF GRASS would have benefited greatly from being a 4 hour mini-series rather than a disjointed 90 minute film and breaking up VIRUS in to an episodic series would have helped its story telling too

    From the outset we're treated to some obvious and ridiculous exposition involving the MM88 virus where characters go in to details about things they must surely know or don't need to know . At any second you expect a character to reply " But we're commie agents trying to steal a biological warfare weapon not characters in a film so please STFU " In fact when they get on a plane with the stolen virus they spend so much time talking they don't notice the mountain in front of them thereby setting up an inciting incident at its most painfully obvious . The film that becomes clichéd as people in power - in this case the staff at The White House - watch on television as the world succumbs to " The Italian flu " which is in reality the MM88 . If that's not bad enough an insane General primes America's nuclear deterrent to take out the Soviet Union just in case they decide to launch a nuclear attack

    " But if the world has been wiped out by the Italian flu why would anyone bother priming nuclear weapons ? "

    Yes but that's to do with a later contrived plot turn where survivors in the Antartic are safe from the virus since it can't reproduce in sub zero temperatures . That and the fact it's a Japanese film and we all know how the Japanese feel about nuclear missiles especially when they're being pointed by Americans

    Actually this is the confusing bit . If the survivors are confined to the south pole surely they'll become extinct anyway ? After all it'd be impossible to become self sufficient , you'd be unable to grow crops etc . Perhaps that's why Antartica has no indigenous population ? There's nothing to indicate that the Italian flu will die out so mankind is doomed anyway even without an imminent nuclear strike

    This condemns the film which is a great pity because in parts it's compelling enough for people interested in speculative fiction . The idea of a myngonist relationship is a thing of the distant pass in this new society is touched upon but like so many other ideas in VIRUS is quickly skated over and then forgotten about
  • I remember more than 500 TV spots a day,full of adv. all over Japan in 1980,the 1st release of this movie .The Japanese publishing Tycoon Haruki Kadokawa produced several movies and did big success at that time.This is his 1st attempt to international market with some familiar American faces.I've heard several good comments on director Kinji Fukasaku in these days,but we know this is also what he made even if the production was under the influences of tycoon Kadokawa(He also plays one Japanese in Arctic basement). Most of Japanese movie buffs and critics ignored this 150m-length rip off at that time including myself. I saw this 150m.version on satellite Hi-Vision-TV recently, and found out my instinct was right.Top-quality print and Dolby sound don't save this total disaster.Directing is poor, dialogs are ridiculous(even on original Japanese tongue). These good actors(including US cast) act like hell.Chuck Connors plays British? ha-ha. Please don't look for Sonny Chiba & Ken Ogata on 150m-print. Their roles as just little as on 108m-US print.Such big guys like George Kennedy and Bo Svenson and Chuck Connors are chosen only for they are taller and bigger than Masao Kusakari(He's quite tall guy as Japanese).Because they have to treat Kusakari as small and powerless kid as on novel and script. Olivia Hussey was married to Japanese singer Akira Fuse the same year and was very popular in Japan. The worst part is Glenn Ford & Robert Vaughn in White House. You'll burst into laughing with their stupid dialogs and acting. And final scene is also one of big problems. No human being cannot do such inter-continent walkabout, I can tell. Now I remember many of my pal laughed and despised this at that time.I'm really ashamed as one of Japanese for International releasing of this. Only Janis Ian left good original title song. Now you can buy Japanese full-length DVD.But remember, I have warned you....
  • An excellent disaster movie from Japanese director Kinji Fukasaki. The film, starring an international cast, isn't your typical Hollywood fare, and they would probably never make a film like this in the disaster genre.

    The film obviously doesn't have the budget of a Hollywood movie, but Fukasaku makes up for this in terms of plot and performances by the actors. He also seems to have a carefree attitude when it comes to killing of main characters no matter how famous they are compared to the rest of the cast. He has Glenn Ford, who may have been the biggest star in the film at that time. He doesn't seem to care as he kills him off after only thirty minutes. Considering that he is meant to be the President, this is a major thing in the film, but Fukasaku plays everything downbeat.

    If this was an American movie, it would have the Americans saving the world from the virus of the title. Instead the virus wipes out almost the entire population of the world with only around a thousand people left alive.

    The film has some recognisable faces from American cinema such as George Kennedy who seems to have starred in all the disaster movies that were going. The film casting is a little silly in parts in terms of casting people like Chuck Conners as a British Naval Captain, but this is only a minor fault.

    The only drawback that I can find is that the version I watched seems to be heavily edited from the original running time. Now this doesn't ruin the flow of the film, but major chunks of the film are supposedly missing. Also missing are some performances such as Sonny Chiba's character, who I only noticed once in the films complete running time, which is a shame as he is one of Japans biggest stars.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    First of all, let me warn you about a VHS version that is floating around out there that purports to be the full 155 min. cut of this film when in fact it is only 108. It has Glenn Ford and Edward James Olmos on the front of the box and is made in Canada, unfortunately I can't remember the name of the company. The movie itself is pretty damn decent and is fairly bleak. The U.S. Military creates a lethal virus, MM88, for use in germ warfare. Naturally, someone steals it, let's it out of it's box and wham! all hell breaks loose. About 99.9% of the world population bites the big one and a relative handful, 855 men and 8 women are left in the Antarctic. Along comes a British sub with Chuck Connors in command! I guess the Japanese, who made this, think all English speaking people sound alike. Glenn Ford does a nice sweaty turn as the President with Robert Vaughn as his pain in the butt U.S. Senator. Bo Svenson is a Major in either the Army or Air Force because with that long hair, ain't no way he is in the Corp. This is a well made end-of-the-world type picture and it is too bad that is was a flop.
  • I remember the first time I saw this film, I was rather enthralled. I kept watching just to see what would happen next. You knew something was up once this virus was released and the world would begin to slowly die. I thought some of the items touched on were intriguing enough, as in the post rape of a woman in the research center and how they had to come to grips with morality and social precepts in a society where the gender ratio was WAY out of balance.

    I've been a big fan of anime for as long as I can remember, and this has all the ear marks of the tragic hero (?) overcoming impossible odds to survive (Hokuto no Ken meets Delta Force?). At first it doesn't seem as the main character has won anything... walking away from the nuclear destruction in Washington to having a metaphysical conversation with a dessicated corpse in a ruined church.... rather stirring. I truly think the film needs a second look. Don't just watch it once... come back to it and look deeper. In a way, it's like spaghetti or chili, always better the second time around from the pot :)
  • The best disaster movie you will never see. If you can get the Japanese cut, it has almost an extra hour, which I imagine probably gave a lot more depth to the film, just a guess. The American version I did get my hands on was pretty good on it's own....(read more) This is not really a movie about saving the world so much as surviving the numerous apocalypses the world can throw at you, even after the entire world population dies at the hands of a super virus, those surviving in Artic research stations(the virus cannot survive the cold) some 8880 men and 8 women(the scene where the women address how 1 on 1 "relationships" are going to be impossible, is one of the most genuine, poignant, and unique in the film, the Apocalypse doesn't hit home till you realize there's 8000 horny scientists, crawling over each other to play Adam and eve, those not-if-you-were- the-last-man-on-earth scenarios horribly reversed.), still have to deal with the fact that both the Russian and American automatic nuclear missile systems are still in operation, and a coming earthquake is liable to force them to launch, one of which is pointed at the Antartic research station. So two men on foot, one Japanese and one American take a trip to DC, to turn off the machine. A lot of the save the world stuff takes place in the last 20 minutes, the rest is all death and survival.

    This was at the time of it's release the most expensive Japanese film ever made, and it shows, as we get scenes from Germany, Japan, America, and yes the Antartic, real submarines too. If you sat through "Outbreak", "The Day After Tomorrow", and many of the now numerous end of the world films, this wont be anything too new, there are some scenes which are undeniably cheesy(the "walk" at the end).

    However, because I've got a U.S. cut, and U.S. cuts, as a rule of thumb, are generally dumbed down and streamlined, sad but true. So I don't know how to give an accurate review, this movie as it is at the 108 minutes I saw it, was decent with a fair serving of 80's cheese, I have a feeling though with a little more time, this might have felt as epic and grand as it intimates in it's best moments. "Virus" is also a terrible title for this film as well, which has little to do with virus', or bacteriology, it's a good global destruction movie, "The End" is a much better fitting moniker. Director would go on to later success with "Battle Royale".

    Note: I picked this movie up because it get's referenced a lot in Junot Diaz's "The Brief And Wonderous Life Of Oscar Wao" as the title characters favorite film, and in the right context I can see why.
  • "Virus" is a prestigious and massive international co-production that is guaranteed to leave some sort of positive impression on you, whether because of its unique gimmick of destroying planet Earth twice in one movie, the grim and overall very nihilistic tone of the film or simply because it gathers an unlikely all-star cast of versatile nationalities. The version I own and watched is the infamous and generally disliked American 'short' cut of 105 minutes. Everyone else claims the full & original version of 155 minutes is the only real deal, but personally I won't make any further efforts to track that one down because the shorter version already astonished me enough and I'm not big supporter of long (horror/Sci-Fi) movies anyway. The premise is deliciously paranoiac and easily one of the greatest 'the-end-of-existence-is-upon-us' stories I've ever beheld. What makes the film even greater, however, is that the slow extinction of our entire human race is atmospherically depicted from everywhere around the world. The first half of "Virus" largely exists of disturbing and genuinely harrowing images of people from all over the globe helplessly awaiting their inescapable fates. The film passes through all the major cities (London, Paris, Milan, Tokyo…) and realistically illustrates how the number of inhabitants alarmingly decreases until there are absolutely no survivors left. An airplane carrying on board the top secret and military-developed germ warfare virus MM-88 crashes and the immeasurably lethal weapon slowly spreads itself. The entire world population dies from as a result of the Italian Flu (don't know why they blame the Italians, though) and not a single government in the world is capable of saving their citizens. A few months later only the militaries and researchers stationed in Antarctica are left, because the cold temperature seemingly protects them from the virus. Inevitably the survivors face new ordeals, as there are only eight women left and approximately 850 men. But all daily issues of copulation and interracial stress suddenly become insignificant when the Antarctica base camp becomes the target of previously programmed nuclear missiles that are close to getting launched. Director Kinji Fukasako ("Battle Royale") masterfully maintains an atmosphere of both tension and absorbing melodrama. The ending leaves you speechless; the international cast perfectly and almost naturally supports each other and most of the post-apocalyptic images are breathtaking. Some really awesome names were involved in this production, often just to nonchalantly through the screen and disappear again, like Sonny Chiba, Bo Svenson, Edward James Olmos, Glenn Ford, Robert Vaughn, Henry Silva and the indescribably beautiful as always Olivia Hussey. "Virus" is a truly affecting film and quite an unforgettable demonstration of earthly unity, what with the Cold War going on at the time and all. Highly recommended, I don't care in which version.
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