Moon Over Tao: Makaraga — movie review
Posted on September 2, 2011 by Chris Nelson
Trick, Chocolate), Toshiyuki Nagashima (Gonin 2, Platonic Sex) , Sayaka Yoshino (After Life, Maborosi), and Yuko Moriyama (Zeiram 1 and 2 , Kunoichi: Lady Ninja ), the film sees a monk (Nagashima) and a samurai (Abe) undertaking a investigation into indestructible swords. You see, a group of bandits have been seen wielding indestructible weapons, and government officials want to quell any potential uprising. Little do they know, however, that the swords are linked to a mysterious meteor, itself housing an even greater weapon: The Makaraga. The recovery of this weapon, a planet killing monstrosity, has been undertaken by a trio of alien travelers (Moriyama playing triplets). I think you can probably tell where the film goes from here, but suffice it to say, monk, samurai, alien, and even a bee-keeper girl (Yoshino) end up teaming up to battle a giant space monster. Along the way you’re treated to some epic battles employing special effects galore, and some pretty decent martial arts.
Now, I’ll admit up front, I didn’t check out Moon Over Tao for it’s story. I’m a longtime Yuko Moriyama fan (since the 90′s.), and this film offered 3-times the Moriyama of any other film. Yes, this alone was enough to get me in the door (I have pretty much all her films. Even the atrocious Tokyo Raiders). But what got me to really enjoy the film (again, above Moriyama) were the practical special effects work Amemiya’s film displays. Now, if you’re familiar with Amemiya’s work (Mechanical Violator: Hakaider or Zeiram, for instance) this all goes without saying. If not, know that there are crazy mechanical bugs, trippy space gadgets, squishy transformations, and tons of impressive explosions. Sure, they may not look as clean as today’s CG blowouts, but their raw physicality has a charm the digital creations never attain. There is a bit of ultra-cheesy cg toward the end, but it’s brief enough not to detract from the rubber-monster bliss.
Moon Over Tao isn’t a great film, but it’s good cheesy fun. At the very least, it’s worth checking out for early appearances by Hiroshi Abe, its chaotic fights, and its over the top special effects. And yes, the eye candy. I totally dug it.