Sushi Girl (Blu-ray) (2012)

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Released 20-Jun-2013

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Audio Commentary-Director, writers and producer
Audio Commentary-Cast and crew
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Sushi Girl: A Documentary
Outtakes
Deleted Scenes-Alternate scenes
More…-Fake TV Commercials a la Sushi Girl
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Producers Diaries
Music Video
Trailer
Interviews-Cast & Crew-Cast and Crew Interviews and the International Premiere
Gallery-Poster-Poster & Promotional Image Gallery
Gallery-Photo-Behind the Scenes Photo Gallery
Storyboards
Trailer-4 Sushi Girl Trailers
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2012
Running Time 98:57
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Kern Saxton
Studio
Distributor
Gryphon Entertainment Starring Tony Todd
Noah Hathaway
James Duval
Andy Mackenzie
Mark Hamill
Cortney Palm
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI ? Music Fritz Myers


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 7.1
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
Spanish
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Six years after a diamond robbery went wrong, Fish (Noah Hathaway) is released from prison. He was the only one of the robbery team who was caught and he kept his mouth shut about the others. Now, on Fish’s release, his old boss Duke (Tony Todd) has organised a welcome home party in an abandoned restaurant. Todd has a fetish for things Japanese, so the centrepiece of the party is sashimi served upon the body of an unmoving, naked woman (Cortney Palm), a yakuza favourite. Also invited to the party is the rest of the gang; brutal thug Max (Andy Mackenzie), junkie Francis (James Duval) and psychopath Crow (Mark Hamill). But Duke has another agenda. After the robbery the diamonds were never recovered, and Duke believes that Fish knows where they are and, if necessary, Fish will be tortured until he tells. To complicate things further, there is a police informer in the group, and the police are listening.

     In Sushi Girl the influence of Quentin Tarantino, especially Reservoir Dogs (1992), is evident. The film uses basically a one room location where the tension builds to a climax of violence, occasional and fragmentary flashbacks to the robbery, quirky characters, graphic scenes of brutal and bloody torture (although, as in Reservoir Dogs most of it takes part off screen and we mostly just see the results), some classic songs on the soundtrack, including Diamonds are Forever from Shirley Bassey, and some familiar faces who have seen better times. The most prominent is a wonderful turn from Mark Hamill, as Crow that is as far away from the fresh faced Luke Skywalker as it is possible to get, but there are also cameo appearances by Japanese action icon Sonny Chiba, Michael Biehn and hatchet faced Danny Trejo that add to the fun.

     Writers Destin Pfaff and Kern Saxton (who also directed and edited the film) do not have Tarantino’s ear for dialogue but in most other aspects Sushi Girl stands up very well in its own right. While the extended torture is sometimes hard to watch, this serves to keep the viewer on edge and one is never quite sure just where the film is heading. As the tension in the room escalates, the film also gives us glimpses of the robbery and its aftermath, plus, and perhaps more telling, glimpses of the “sushi girl” lying naked, still and motionless on the table, hearing and seeing the brutality occurring around her. Needless to say, there is a twist to the tail in this film that, although somewhat farfetched, ties up the loose ends. The film also has a very black sense of humour, mostly courtesy of Hamill, that works well.

     If you are a fan of Tarantino type filmmaking, or even if you are just seeking something different, Sushi Girl is certainly worth a look. The set up for the film is intriguing, the plotting and execution tight, the acting excellent and the film, made with the RED One digital camera, makes the most of the closed in location to build up tension and atmosphere. Sushi Girl may be derivative, it is done very well indeed.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Sushi Girl is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.40:1, close to the 2.35:1 original ratio, in 1080p using the MPEG-4 AVC code.

     Shot using the RED One digital camera and utilising basically one location, Sushi Girl looks stunning. The colours have that flat, almost harsh, digital look but this works well giving the interiors a muted look. As much of the interior uses low lighting for atmosphere it is just as well that detail is very good, blacks and shadow detail excellent. There is some lens flare, but marks and artefacts are not present. Brightness and contrast are consistent, with the flashback sequences having a much lighter look.

     There are subtitles available in English for the hearing impaired, and Spanish.

     The video is excellent.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     The feature audio is English DTS-MA HD 7.1, and there are two audio commentary tracks, Dolby Digital 2.0 at 192 Kbps. The Blu-ray back cover indicates the audio is DTS-MA HD 5.1, but that is incorrect and we get the same 7.1 audio available in the US.

     I do not have a 7.1 set-up and one might question whether a film like this requires that level of audio, but I must say it is impressive even in 5.1. Dialogue is sometimes difficult to hear, especially from Sonny Chiba but occasionally from others as well. The surrounds, however, are constantly in action with weather effects, such as background rain and thunder, doors closing, footsteps echoing, the rumbles of machinery or music. Voices also come from the rears, and there are panning effects with the gunshots and engines in the flashback. The subwoofer adds ambient bass to support the tension, the music and the gunshots and crash after the robbery.

     The original score by Fritz Myers was excellent. It was not overpowering and added nicely to the tension being developed on screen. The score was augmented by Diamonds are Forever by Shirley Bassey, Walk on By by Isaac Hayes and a bit of Toad by Cream.

     Lip synchronisation was fine.

     The audio track was wonderful.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

     There are an extensive range of interesting extras, far more than one would expect from a low budget, independent production.

Trailer

     A trailer for Myn Bala: Warriors of the Steppe (1:39) plays on start up.

Filmmaker Commentary

     Producer / director / writer / editor Kern Saxton, producer / writer Destin Pfaff plus producers Neal Fischer and Suren M. Seron sit together and talk about making the film. The commentary is quite chatty and they laugh and talk over the top of each other a lot and there is not a lot of technical information. They do discuss casting, the set, the 7.1 sound design, comparisons with Tarantino and other influences upon the writing, the music, and the violence and make-up effects. A reasonable commentary track.

Cast Commentary

     Tony Todd, James Duval, Noah Hathaway, Andy Mackenzie, David Dastmalchian plus Kern Saxton and Destin Pfaff sit around together and watch the film. They have a lot of fun; they talk over each other constantly, joke, make inane comments, laugh and mention a few anecdotes about the shoot and the other cast members. This is the type of commentary where the speakers have more fun than I did listening.

Sushi Girl: A Documentary (59:54)

     This is basically on set and behind the scenes cam recorder footage. It is a fly on the wall look at low budget filmmaking, including disputes, stunts, multiple takes, interior and exterior sequences, and messing around on set. Various people chat to the camera, including the director, producer, line producer and some of the actors although no-one is identified by captions and there is no linking narration or text. At 60 minutes it was a bit long for this kind of non-structured, rough footage, but parts were genuine and interesting and this is definitely not your standard EPK!

Alternative Scenes (2:21)

     Two alternative scenes, mostly featuring Sonny Chiba, with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound, one quite long.

Outtakes (16:59)

     A range of cast and crew errors, some reasonably funny.

Fake TV Commercials a la Sushi Girl

     Fake commercials for a plumbing service (1:33), soy sauce (0:36), and a diarrhoea medicine (2:05).

Producers Diaries (7:21)

     Rough on set video in no particular order of people messing around.

Sushi Girl Music Video (3:52)

     Victories and Consequences by Send the Sages. This uses film footage but is not in the film.

Cast and Crew Interviews and the International Premiere

     Sushi Girl was shown at Fantasia Montreal in 2012. This extra is five short EPK type pieces that promote both the film and Fantasia. The first is footage of the film premier, then interviews with director /writer Kern Saxton, writer / producer Destin Pfaff, producer Neal Fischer and cast Mark Hamill, James Duval, Noah Hathaway, Tony Todd, Andy Mackenzie.

Poster & Promotional Image Gallery (1:55)

     23 posters and promotional stills. Silent, they advance automatically after about 4 seconds and take 1:55 to get through, but may also be advanced through the remote.

Behind the Scenes Photo Gallery (8:05)

     Around 98 black and white and colour on set stills. Silent, they advance automatically, and take 8:05 to get through, but may also be advanced through the remote.

Storyboards (4:30)

     54 sets of storyboards for the film, grouped by fours. Silent, they advance automatically, and take 4:30 to get through, but may also be advanced through the remote.

Sushi Girl Trailers (8:44)

     Four trailers for the film.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The US Region A Blu-ray has exactly the same audio specifications, extras and subtitles. There is not currently a UK release, although one is due in October 2013. Buy local.

Summary

     Sushi Girl may be derivative, but it is done very well indeed. Sushi Girl is clever, brutal, darkly humorous and very entertaining, with a wonderful turn by Mark Hamill that is as far away from the fresh faced Luke Skywalker as it is possible to get!

     The video and audio are excellent, and the extras are genuine, extensive and interesting, rounding out a very good Blu-ray package.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Saturday, August 03, 2013
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
'...lies up the loose ends.'? - REPLY POSTED