Deadball — Another Hole in the Head 2012 — movie review
Posted on December 7, 2012 by Chris Nelson
I saw Yudai Yamaguchi’s Battlefield Baseball way back in 2003. I’m anything but a baseball fan, but the film appealed to me with it’s mix of zombies, epic dismemberments, and all around craziness. It was definitely a fun little diversion, but one I pretty much forgot about immediately after watching.
Cut to the 2012 Another Hole in the Head film festival. I notice a little flick called Deadball. I decide to check it out. Turns out, it’s the Battlefield Baseball sequel. At first blush that seems a bit unnecessary to me, but I figure I’ll watch it anyway. And, as it turns out, it’s better than the original. Miles better. In fact, it’s fun enough that I start to wonder why I don’t remember the previous one all that well. What a nice surprise!
If you’ve never seen Battlefield Baseball, no worries. This is sort of Evil Dead 2 to Evil Dead 1. It’s more re-tread with better budget than actual sequel. The film concerns a young man, Jubei Yakyu (played by Tak Sakaguchi. Yup. Same guy from the first film, and his name is what you think it is), cursed with an insane pitching arm. I say cursed, because once, during youth, he threw so much heat, he accidentally killed his father. Literally bust his face open. With a fireball.
Wracked with guilt, he and his brother, Musashi (yup, another famous swordsman), traded their baseball dreams for a lives of atonement and delinquency, respectively. Years later. Jubei and Mushashi have long lost track of eachother, but Jubei holds hope of finding his brother and setting him straight. Now an inmate at a maximum security prison, Jubei’s zeroing in on his target. But he might be in for more than he bargained for, as the prison warden has a special game of baseball she hopes will catch Jubei’s interest. Only this one is played for lives rather than runs.
So yah, Deadball is about death-baseball. And it’s funny. Hella funny. I literally couldn’t stop laughing. From Tak’s constant acquisition of off-screen cigarettes, to it’s parodying of 70′s film tropes (Tak actually sings a thematic enka tune “A homerun that makes you cry for me…”), to bloody nose fountains, to the deadly team of hardcore stripper killers (I think ‘Blind’ is the best), this stuff is engineered to make you bust out laughing. It’s also jam-packed with references from 70′s cult cinema, with particular emphasis on titles available on DVD in the late 90′s. Think Anchor Bay titles like Ilsa: She-Wolf of the SS, and American Cinematheque releases like Audition (there’s actually vomit-dining to be seen). Add to that cross-dressing idols, cyborgs, and much much more, and you’ve got yourself a bona-fide winner.
I don’t want to say too much more, so as not to spoil most of the jokes, but suffice it to say, Deadball is a total blast. If you’re one of the few people to have seen the previous film, know its’s superior to Battlefield Baseball in every way. It’s also the only baseball film to feature extended sequences of anal fisting. Well, maybe aside from that one scene in Moneyball. So yah, if you think this might be your kind of thing, go see it. Tonight.