Ley Lines (1999) Movie Review

(Movie Review by Bill Paterson) Sad to say, I enjoyed this film the least of the three in the set. I probably shouldn’t take points off just because “Ley Lines” is a little less frenetic than its hyperactive predecessors. But I can’t help it: This one bored me. Although, I did finally see a connection among all three films in the trilogy: women are bad.

Essentially, this is a buddy movie about three bumbling college guys who get lost on a wacky road trip on spring break, lose all their money and meet a hooker with a heart of gold who…Okay, not really. But it is about three guys, and they do take a road trip. Except they’re just trying to get the hell out of Japan, where their Chinese DNA is not appreciated. And the hooker in question is no Hollywood ing’nue. As usual, the only chick of substance in the whole flick is just a real sweetheart. Surprise, she’s a prostitute. One who screws the heroes hard in more ways than one.

Once the fellas get the hint that life in Tokyo is going to be less than blissful, they need to figure out a way to get some cash and flee. For those of you playing at home, yes, this is where it happens. All together now: Enter the bad guy.

It’s like those horror movies, when you’re yelling at the screen for the brainless ‘ho with the huge rack to get out of the house. You might find yourself exclaiming: “No. No! Not the kingpin, stay away from the…ah, damn. They did it. Yep, they went ahead and got mixed up with the kingpin. It’s gonna hit the fan now.”

If you were shot in the ass by the evil character Wang in “Shinjuku Triad Society”, wait until you get a load of Wong in this one. This guy is a peach. There just aren’t enough therapists in the world to get to the root cause of this freak show’s issues. As bizarrely compelling as his storyline is, I found it a littleoff-putting as well.

Maybe this film has more going for it than I’m giving it credit for. Maybe I’m already desensitized after three Miike movies. But this time around, I just didn’t feel the shock and awe of the other two.

I’ll admit I did connect with the main characters, all played more than admirably. I was pulling for them, feeling their pain, but all the while knowing this wasn’t some Joel Schumacher backwash that was gonna end with a big wedding and a sappy ballad.

To be fair, this may have been too much Miike, too soon for a neophyte like myself. It’s not that “Ley Lines” is terrible, but the whole drugs + crime + prostitutes theme has worn a touch thin for me. If I’m missing something, feel free to let me know.

Takashi Miike (director) / Ichiro Ryu (screenplay)
CAST: Sho Aikawa, Samuel Pop Aning, Yukie Itou, Michisuke Kashiwaya

Buy Ley Lines on DVD