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(aka "Kurôzu zero" or "Crows: Episode 0" or "Crows 0")

 

directed by Takashi Miike
Japan 2007

 

The only way to move up in the ranks of the Suzuran Boys' High School is by fighting. The "School of Crows" - so-called because the students have banded into fighting groups against each other - is the lowest-achieving school in Japan, and no one faction has ever been able to rule the school by unifying all of the factions beneath them. New transfer Genji (Shun Oguri, REINCARNATION) is eager to take on Tamao (Takayuki Yamada, 13 ASSASSINS), whose faction is currently on its way to ruling the ranks of Suzuran. Genji gets some coaching from low-rung Yakuza hotshot Katagiri (Kyôsuke Yabe, DEAD OR ALIVE) who has failed on his own to take on Tamao for putting several of his fellow gang members in the hospital. As Genji fights his way through the various factions to gain respect and support, Tamao and Genji's former friend Tatsukawa (Kenta Kiritani, CYBORG GIRL) forge alliances with other factions leading up to the brutal ultimate showdown.

Takashi Miike's latest (well, latest in English-speaking countries since the sequel has already been out for some time in Japan) is based on a popular manga; and it may take a reading of the source to keep track of all of the characters and their almost Shakespearean subplot machinations: including pop singer Meisa Kuroki as bad-boy-loving Luca Aizawa (also a pop singer), Motoki Fukami as the towering Rinda Man (given a great introductory shot), and pop singer Yűsuke Izaki and his identical twin Hisato Izaki as the Mikami brothers (not to mention the Yakuza whose own actions may render the outcome of the final battle meaningless). Story-wise and stylistically, it may seem like impersonal Miike, but it's funny and exciting with some knockout fight scenes; also, recall that the revered AUDITION was radically different for Miike, who had previously helmed a number of idiosyncratic Yakuza films (on a less comfortable budget than CROWS ZERO and, likely, its sequel which reportedly features the return of a number of characters from this film).

Eric Cotenas

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Theatrical Release: 27 October 2007 (Japan)

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DVD Review: MVM - Region 2 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Distribution

MVM

Region 2 - NTSC

Runtime 2:09:48
Video

1.80:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.5 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo
Subtitles English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: MVM

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.80:1

Edition Details:
• none

DVD Release Date: April 9th, 2012
Amaray

Chapters 12

 

Comments

Despite the back cover's claim of being a DVD-5, MVM's Region 2 NTSC disc features a progressive, anamorphic transfer is dual-layered (with the feature encompassing 5.75 GB of the barebones 5.76 GB whole). The audio is Japanese 2.0 stereo only, even though the original mix is 5.1; and this is a film that does seem diminished by a stereo downmix (particularly in regard to the rockin' soundtrack and exaggerated sound effects during the fights). The Media Blasters/Tokyo Shock R1 edition featured 5.1 Japanese and English tracks. Optional English subtitles are error free and (mostly) help you keep track of the large number of characters. There are no extras whatsoever, but the R1 edition only has an interview with Miike. The 2+ hour film is encoded with 12 chapters.

The film was announced for Blu-ray release in the US at the end of March, but it has reportedly been pushed back.

  - Eric Cotenas

 


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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Distribution

MVM

Region 2 - NTSC

 

 




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