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Death Trance (2005)

Tak Sakaguchi , Honoka Asada , Yji Shimomura  |  R |  DVD
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Tak Sakaguchi, Honoka Asada, Lynn Fischer, Yko Fujita, Ben Hiura
  • Directors: Yji Shimomura
  • Writers: Yji Shimomura, Jun'ya Kat, Seiji Chiba, Shinichi Fujita
  • Producers: Kana Takeuchi, Kumi Kobata, Yoko Hayama
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dubbed, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), English (Dolby Digital 5.1), Japanese (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), Japanese (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Dubbed: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Tokyo Shock
  • DVD Release Date: June 27, 2006
  • Run Time: 89 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #267,633 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Death Trance" on IMDb

Special Features

  • "Making of Death Trance" featurette

Editorial Reviews

In an unknown place and unknown time, a lone Samurai known only as Grave (Tak Sakaguchi) thirsts for the ultimate battle. Grave has stolen a mysterious coffin from the holy Tougan Temple — a coffin said to contain a great power. Trapped inside the sealed coffin is the Goddess of Destruction, confined and held at bay from laying waste to this world. Grave fearlessly travels the land dragging the coffin behind him, aware that what lies within is what he seeks — if only he can open it. Unknown to Grave, a young temple monk has embarked on a quest to return this relic to its proper home before anyone can unleash an unstoppable cataclysm. So begins the race to claim the coffin...but who will get there first?

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This divisive film drips style! February 6, 2007
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Even in my house, this film gets mixed reviews. My husband found it mediocre. He walked away with a puzzled sense of incompletion, while I'm left wanting to chew over metaphor, color, design. I loved it.

Maybe it has to do with what you're looking for. Great acting? Not really. Tak Sakaguchi is gorgeous, but seems fairly stiff. He doesn't stray far here from his role in _Versus_ (which I also loved.) Great plot? Not if what you're looking for is a traditional, linear story. Familiarity with Japanese mysticism could help; the writers presume a certain knowledge base that many western viewers will lack. But more than that, they allow viewers to interpret elements on their own...or not. My husband saw meaningless distraction in the emphasis on hunger; I saw metaphor, pointing to an insatiable appetite of a different kind. The cyclical plot made sense to me in the context of reincarnation/rebirth.

I think the plot as given is a template; you can use the little details dropped through the story to build something grander for yourself...but you don't have to, because arguably the story isn't the point. This film is much about style over substance. It's all sensation--sounds, visuals, movement. Sometimes it's heavy-handed and clumsy, yes, but on balance it does an excellent job. It's like an early Mark Romanek video, "Closer" with martial arts. Set design, color and costume are at least as important as dialogue. Composition is striking, but organic. Why are these women dressed like that? Who cares? In the universe of _Death Trance_, they belong!

A lot of different influences seem to have gone into this production.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Death Trance, starring Tak Sakaguchi in the lead role of Grave, a master samurai who has stolen the coffin that keeps the Goddess of Destruction imprisoned. His goal is to release her in order to fight the ultimate battle. Such is the synopsis on the back of the box, and that's pretty much all there is to the movie.

Like Versus, Death Trance doesn't rely on an in-depth script or complicated plot to progress what story it has. Mostly, Death Trance is a fighting movie. Everyone is fighting at some point, and everyone wants to get their hands on Grave's stolen coffin. There's Sid, played by Kentaro Segeal (sp?), a monk from the Temple named Ryuen, and a woman who knows the true story about the coffin. Following the coffin regardless of who has it is a little girl from the temple.

There seem to be attempts at making the plot interesting, but the story's synopsis on the box is pretty much it's own spoiler. Other minor characters talk about rumors about grave, saying that he's a giant man who plans to eat the little girl later. Other rumors are that the opened coffin can grant any wish you desire. Obviously these aren't true, and it doesn't make much sense that these keep being repeated.

Grave is well-played by Tak Sakaguchi, whose acting skills have certainly improved since his days on Versus. This is also his first lead role since Versus and Battlefield Baseball. An interview with Tak, which is one of the two major extra features on this disk, reveals how he tried to protray the character and what he thought of him. There's also a "making of" feature which is actually pretty short and half of which are just repeated of the Death Trance trailers and some of Tak's interview.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I love it so much ;_; July 20, 2006
It's kind of like Versus, except with more plot, less gore, and Tak looks a lot prettier (if that were possible). It is genuinely funny and very fast paced, so that you don't even notice 90 minutes pass by. The action is awesome, as it should be since Tak was the action director. I can't stop watching it over and over, and already infected my friends with it. The only possible problem is the ending, which is very frustrating and offers no resolution, so be prepared.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
For those of us who LOVED "VERSUS" and have been waiting for TAK to star in the sequel... "Death Trance" will definitely suffice in the meantime. The Director of "Death Trance" was also the Action Director in Versus, which was 90% of what made Versus so good to begin with, so Imagine that 90% plus, Tak Sakaguchi, the other 10% needed to make the movie great.

On a plot scale it rates about a 3 out of 5, but the action scenes, the tributes to Versus and the great camera angles and zooms dedicated to continually making TAK look great, are enough to call this movie a keeper. It's FUNNY, FAST, and Tak introduces his stunt team "ZERO" (meaning zero casualties) who basically, don't pull their punches when they work. So talk about a huge touch of realism to any action movie, when the star and his stunt people are really hitting each other! It's just a really FUN and entertaining movie. And with the way they end it, you are left wanting MORE!
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Only if you like Tak and Dir en grey... October 8, 2006
This movie is funny, sometimes intentionally, most of the time not, just like Versus, which well... is one of my favourite bad movies of all time. Versus 2 should be good, since Ryuhei Kitamura has improved considerably over the years... but I digress, you're here for Death Trance, or Tak Sakaguchi...

Tak Sakaguchi is the best bad actor in Japan, and you will probably only like him if A.) You watch anime or read manga. or B.) You like hot guys. I am an A-type Sakaguchi lover. He has a very animated look to him and is surprisingly a good action director, with his "Zero Team."

The other reviewers I'm sure have summed up the weird sub-par story, so I'll skip directly to the soundtrack and DVD features. The soundtrack is performed by the amazing Japanese Rock/Metal band "Dir en grey." If the well-choreographed action scenes don't rock your socks off, then the soundtrack will. As for the DVD, the menu music is great, and there is a great interview with Tak Sakaguchi who talks about his experiences. It is very entertaining and some of the best documentary material I've seen recently.

Only watch this film, if you like Tak, Dir en grey, and taking a chance on a movie. Whether this movie is Great or Horrible (yet hilarious) is up to you. There are only two bad actors in the film, and one of them has a very small part. The other one has a co-starring role, and is armed with a bad haircut and some sort of missle launcher.

No matter who you are, this movie definately leaves you thirsting for a sequel, just like Versus did.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Movie night with friends- fun action, great visuals, hilarious plot
My friends came up with this review:
"Those beautiful moonlight alabaster thighs reflecting majestically were the basis of my senior thesis and I have the weirdest boner... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Anon
5.0 out of 5 stars That sword handle...
Watch this - with friends. Alcohol must be imbibed and food must be proffered if they are to stay throughout the length of the film. Read more
Published 14 months ago by H. Skipper
3.0 out of 5 stars Strange, but oddly captivating
I fell upon this one by chance and watched it because it was $2.99. I do like this genre, so it could not be too bad. Read more
Published 15 months ago by William A Todd
5.0 out of 5 stars great!
I love this movie! It's a b movie certainly, but the action is great and the props are great too. For anyone who like sci-fi, fantasy, ninja, horror movies
Published 18 months ago by Abigail J. Gardenour
3.0 out of 5 stars I wouldn't watch it again
Not to say the movie was bad, but there was not enough action for me and the "chosen one" sword was a little much. Read more
Published on February 12, 2012 by G. Mortillaro
3.0 out of 5 stars Its Cool
It is a good movie, but I believe there is an anime series out there on it, I take that back - It will be a good movie if you seen the series, but if you haven't the movie will... Read more
Published on July 18, 2011 by Tyson Hollins
4.0 out of 5 stars "Did you take my coffin?"
I didn't dislike Versus, the first collaboration between martial artist Tak Sakaguchi and action director Yuji Shimomura, but I was debilitatingly confused by its meant-to-be-weird... Read more
Published on May 10, 2011 by Mike Sehorn
5.0 out of 5 stars Death Trance Blu-Ray
Hey everyone, I just finished watching the blu-ray. I had already seen the film previously on DVD which I enjoyed so I had to pick up this version

Picture Quality -... Read more
Published on April 21, 2011 by Vrak
5.0 out of 5 stars The New Breed of Samurai Action
This movie is obviously the new breed of samurai action. Set in a place and a time where anything's goes. Motorcycles, rock music, and samurais. Read more
Published on March 8, 2011 by Cammie Kim
2.0 out of 5 stars So bad it hurts.
I was really looking forward to watching Death Trance, especially since I'm a sucker for a good martial arts flick. Read more
Published on April 6, 2010 by Kevis Hendrickson
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