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Returner (2003)

Takeshi Kaneshiro , Anne Suzuki , Takashi Yamazaki  |  R |  DVD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (90 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Takeshi Kaneshiro, Anne Suzuki, Gorô Kishitani, Kirin Kiki, Yukiko Okamoto
  • Directors: Takashi Yamazaki
  • Writers: Takashi Yamazaki, Kenya Hirata
  • Producers: Akifumi Takuma, Chikahiro Ando, Masaki Koide, Toru Horibe
  • Format: Anamorphic, Color, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen, Digital Video Transfer, Surround Sound, Digital Sound, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Japanese (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French, Portuguese
  • Dubbed: French, Japanese
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: February 10, 2004
  • Run Time: 116 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (90 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00011V8JA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #63,437 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Returner" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

There's not a single original idea in Returner, but that doesn't stop this Japanese sci-fi action thriller from being a whole lotta fun. Combining elements of (what else?) The Matrix, E.T., The Terminator, and Independence Day, plus a dash of Back to the Future (among others), the mayhem begins when scruffy survivor Milly (Anne Suzuki) uses a time portal to leap from 2084--when humans are being systematically wiped out by invading aliens--to 2002, where she hooks up with a gunslinging maverick (Takeshi Kaneshiro) whose swirling overcoat and hair-trigger attitude make him the live-action equivalent of the quintessential anime hero. Together, they thwart a Yakuza psychopath (played with hilariously laconic nihilism by Goro Kishitani) who's attempting to steal a recovered alien spaceship to exploit its highly advanced weaponry. In its race to avoid an end-of-the-world scenario, Returner throws in just about everything from the sci-fi anime repertoire, and director Takashi Yamazaki blithely and blatantly shifts from juvenile sentiment to violent brutality, resulting in a clash of tones that makes Returner wildly entertaining but decidedly not for children. Utterly derivative but worthwhile for sci-fi and anime fans, it's a noteworthy case of clever recycling, with energy and ammunition to spare. --Jeff Shannon

Product Description

Energized science-fiction actioner from Japan takes place in a post-apocalyptic future that finds teenage commando heroine Anne Suzuki teaming with leather-coated vigilante Takeshi Kaneshiro to tackle a gangster who deals in black market human organs. Both sides seek possession of a UFO, and its alien inhabitants, which may hold the key to the future of humankind. Takashi Yamazaki directs this wild yarn that salutes "Star Wars," "E.T.," "The Matrix," and other favorites. 117 min. Widescreen (Enhanced); Soundtracks: Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1, English Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1; Subtitles: English, Spanish, Portuguese, French. In Japanese with English subtitles/Dubbed in English.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
48 of 48 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stop The Aliens Before They Start December 22, 2004
The Earth has been overrun by aliens. Only a small group remains hidden and free. They hope to go back in time to the cause of the war and prevent it. But the hideout is discovered and all is almost lost when a young, and untrained, woman jumps through the time gate to our present.

Although untrained as a soldier, she does know the basics of the mission. An alien ship will crash and the occupant needs to be killed before it can start the invasion. It seems simple enough except that future knowledge is not completely accurate. The ship has already crashed and the occupant has been taken away. Now with the help of a local criminal trying to go straight, she must fight harder than she knows to give humanity a future.

Good action, some nice plot twists, and a time paradox or two all combine to make an old plot seem fresh. I bought this one based on a trailer on another DVD and I was not disappointed. The film is fairly intelligent and the hero is wonderfully resourceful, desperate, and caring. Her character does not fall apart as she unravels what is going on and what she must do to stop it. Worth watching.
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62 of 66 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not Bad February 18, 2004
I purchased this movie expecting a cheesy film with bad acting like most recent Japanese live-action movies. I also expected a movie that borrowed heavily from other movies. But this really wasn't either one of those movies, at least not more than any other movie out of Hollywood.
Others have already reviewed this movie (girl goes back in time to save the human race), so I won't spend any more time on it.
The acting wasn't bad at all, especially Ann Suzuki's sometimes-serious, sometimes-rebellious character, Milly. The dubbing was also done well -- it was actually worth listening to. The CG and special effects were very good and imaginative, contributing to the plot. The soundtrack was a little inconsistent, and some of the camerawork was kind of strange, but nothing too distracting.
All in all, this movie stands on its own as a good sci-fi movie. It won't compare to older movies by Kurosawa, and it isn't as refined as many recent science fiction movies from the U.S. (although much better than Roland Emmerich's Godzilla), but it's still not bad by any stretch.
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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars highly entertaining and worth checking out. January 13, 2006
By kc
Yes, this movie has stolen ideas from other sci-fi films and yes, the characters are a bit formulaic but that doesn't take away from it's entertainment value. I really enjoyed watching this movie and was surprised to find that it was not as overly cheesy as I thought it would be. The characters are likeable, the plot is still interesting albeit copied from elsewhere, and action sequences are not too over-the-top. If you enjoy pure entertainment, then you'll enjoy this film. It helps that Takeshi Kaneshiro is in it too!
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38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars HOLLYWOOD COULD LEARN ALOT FROM THIS February 17, 2006
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This was a great time travel sci-fi thriller. Great twists and the bad guy is awesome. I've always believed that it's the bad guy that carries any thriller. Sure the good guy should win but don't forget to have a bad guy that you love to hate.

The camera work and special effects are excellent. I would put this up against any thriller put out by Hollywood since the original Matrix.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best sci-fi movies I have seen in a long time! February 10, 2004
I just finished watching this movie and let me tell you I am quite impressed. Especially after reading all the so called "movie critic" reviews of this movie. You know, I have had enough with the stupidity and hypocrisy of your average critic and I am not going to even bother anymore with reading what they have to say about a given movie. It has become obvious to me that a good majority of them are so concerned about what it is fashionable to say or what they think other critics think they should say that any chance of them giving a sincere and open minded look at a movie seems completely impossible. And you know what is the fashionable thing to say about this movie? That it is derivative, that it is only an amalgam of ripped-off ideas from other movies.
Take for example the editorial review above which says that "there's not a single original idea in Returner...combining elements of The Matrix, E.T., The Terminator and Independence Day, plus a dash of Back to the Future". This is basically a carbon copy of what nearly every wanna-feel-important movie critic on the net is writing about this movie (so who is being derivative here?). But I ask them, how is it any more derivative than the movies that they list as being ripped-off? Or any other movie for that matter. By the impossibly high standards with which they have obviously judged this movie ALL MOVIES would have to be considered derivative. 'Independence Day' becomes no more than a rehash of 'War of the Worlds' and 'Back to the Future' a rehash of 'The Time Machine' and so on and so forth. This is ridiculous. They are obviously being unfair to this movie. Yes it does contain elements from the movies mentioned, as well as elements from a thousand other movies, but so what?
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AWESOME!!! November 6, 2003
Takeshi Kaneshiro, a Japanese and Hong Kong action star does a great job as a mysterious assassin of mobsters. This is a cool movie with great special effects, and good gun fighting sequences. It does borrow from the "Matrix" look with the black outfit and the black coat... but it doesn't take away from the movie's unique take on the genre. This movie is made in Japan, and mostly presented in the Japanese language (with some Mandarin and English), so hopefully the integrity of the soundtrack would be preserved when shown in the United States. This has a ship load of special effects. It has space ships, commercial airplanes transforming into giant robotic beings, air planes, and it has space aliens. This movie deals with time travel, war with invading race of space aliens, Japanese triads, government cover-ups, and guns. Overall the movie works for me in many levels, and I recommend action fans to check it out.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Niiiiice!
I've loved this movie and finally had the chance to buy it. Good special effects and great story line. Awesommmme!
Published 26 days ago by Daniel
4.0 out of 5 stars This movie was recommended to me by someone on Amazon... Its Pretty...
While I cant give this movie *5* stars, I did give it four stars because its a pretty decent done film... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Robert Pylant
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny!
5 star across the board for me! Came unopened as requested, played perfectly, and had me laughing when I watched it.
Published 3 months ago by Katherine Carter
5.0 out of 5 stars LOVE IT.
I've owned the DVD for years, and find myself watching at least once a year. I was actually just checking to see if it had been released on blu-ray and while perusing reviews,... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Tohomoon
5.0 out of 5 stars Returner DVD
This is a very hard to find dvd to find and I had to look several places before finding it.
Published 6 months ago by klingon
4.0 out of 5 stars Extremely Fun Sci-Fi Flick With Humor And Heart!
With unabashed flare, director Takashi Yamazaki borrows nearly every sci-fi plot there is and concocts a neat story that follows an unlikely pair's efforts to rescue an alien from... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Lightning Surfer
2.0 out of 5 stars Well I'm waiting
For acting, the plot, or the point of this movie. I don't know if the world was waiting for ET to meet the Matrix and the Terminator. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Chris Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Really cool Japanese Sci-Fi. An early Takeshi Kaneshiro action film
This film is like a combination of "E.T.", "The Terminator", and maybe "Transformers" all in one film. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Rykre
4.0 out of 5 stars I easily could see this again. I SHALL RETURN!
Ok. I know it's derivative of several sci-fi movies. So what? This review is derivative too. Here's my pros:

1) The main actors are well cast. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Sabooski the Cat
4.0 out of 5 stars A Fun Sci-Fi and Action Blend
I tuned into this Japanese film on one of the cable channels late last night. I had no expectations as the description made it sound like a cheap knock-off from Japan. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Stanley C. Sargent
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