26 September 2000 | Dan_Harkless
For Jennifer Jason Leigh die-hards only
I bought this DVD not expecting a whole lot given its price tag of $6.99, and it was neither better nor worse than I expected. Only bought it because Jennifer Jason Leigh, who stars, is one of my favorite actresses. BTW, you might be confused looking at the DVD's front cover (which IMDb reproduces), because it shows a picture of co-star Ann Jillian with a caption of "Jennifer Jason Leigh". Dunno if the schlock DVD producers didn't know the difference or if they just thought the photo of Jillian all dolled up like a prostitute would be more eye-grabbing.
The film itself is about as good as you'd expect a U.S. TV "movie of the week" from 1983 to be. Interestingly, there's some nudity (the breasts of Jennifer Jason Leigh and a couple of other actresses make an appearance), so I wonder if it was produced for a pay-TV channel.
I was surprised to find out after watching the film that it's based on a true story (I don't think they mention this in the credits anywhere). You'd never think this given the unrealistic nature of many of the events in the film.
Other than the stilted dialogue, lack of imagination, bog-standard camera setups, and whatnot, an annoying factor is the cross-racial casting. True, the average American can't tell at a glance from where in Asia someone comes from, but Asians can tell, and Asiaphiles can tell. Much worse than the non-Japanese-looking actors, however, is the absolutely horrible pronunciation of Japanese dialogue. Oddly, none of the Japanese dialogue is subtitled, which wouldn't have been too terrible for me, as I speak Japanese, but the language is so butchered by the non-Japanese-natives that I couldn't comprehend much of it. In one scene an American actress seems to use nonsense syllables when she's supposed to be speaking Japanese (perhaps she couldn't remember her line or they didn't get it translated for her in time or something).
To sum up, fans of Jennifer Jason Leigh (or T2 score-writer Brad Fiedel) may want to watch this out of curiosity, but others need not bother. Personally, I had to watch Leigh's wonderful performance in "The Hudsucker Proxy" afterwards to wash the bad taste out of my mouth.