I’m sure it’s not as if Japan is cranking out all the cool SF that we don’t get in the US, but man, Samurai Commando 1549 is completely the cool SF that we don’t get in the states. The premise: the Japanese Self-Defense Force invents time travel by accident, the guys they sent back start changing history, and another group has to go back and fix the problem before history (and modern Japan) are destroyed. Aw yeah.
When they get back there, of course, the commander of the first group turns out to have taken a bit more interest in the course of Japanese history than might have been wise, and yeah. Samurai with machine guns. Archers taking out unwary tank drivers. Helicopters strafing calvary units. Big explosions. And I’m not even spoiling some of the cooler shots.
The overall plot is kinda shaky, in that the villainous master plan is a bit questionable, but eh — you get the whole honor thing and the retired military guy who is pressed back into service and the bonds of respect and friendship that transcend time periods. So that’s all good. Most of the actors were fairly appealing, too. It’s an easy bunch of people to cheer and/or boo, as the case may be.
I think what really struck me, though, was that — aha. In the U.S. version, it would have been all about the adjustment to the new time period and so on and so forth. This movie just takes it for granted that people can figure out how to cope with a new time, which seems reasonable, and gets on with the business of setting up the fight scenes.
Also, cool explosions.