Anime is seen by many a film enthusiast as a deep form of cinema, on par with the noirs and cult classics of the world. And with films like “Akira”, “Perfect Blue”, “Tokyo Godfathers” and “Spirited Away”, it’s hard to disagree with the fan base. However, for each of these four great movies there are a thousand sub-par, derivative B-movies to further encourage the myth that anime is nothing more than animated pornography masquerading behind a veil of unconvincing apocalyptic plotlines and viewed by tubby nerds whose only female influence in their life is their mother. It is fair to say that “Violence Jack” hurts perceptions of the genre more than it helps.
Very similar to “Fist of the North Star”, “Violence Jack” is set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, where a series of earthquakes and natural disasters have ravaged the world, leaving the few survivors to live in slums and underground colonies. It is with these earthquakes that God is supposedly punishing mankind for all its sins, and after the disasters have killed off a sizable chunk of mankind, He sends in Jack, the apparent “angel of death”, to separate the remaining good from the evil.
“Violence Jack” is split into three equally pointless instalments that nevertheless seem to get worse with each one. The original Japanese box set has 12, as Go Nagai’s original manga ran from the mid-70’s to early 90’s, and amassed over 9000 pages. The first (and best, relatively speaking) is ” Evil Town “. The title refers to an underground colony of survivors who only seem to co-exist on a healthy diet of shaky order, heaps of corruption and frequent rapes of the female populace. While digging to see if they can tunnel out of Evil Town , a group of people (led by corrupt rapist cop Calamory), stumble upon Jack, an eight foot tall bad ass trapped within the rock. Soon, Jack has agreed to help the abused women of the colony rise up and fight against the corrupt men and the unruly biker gang.
And that’s all you need to know about this segment. Suffice to say, it’s rather predictable, not very fun to watch, and is full of gore and rape in all forms. If you are new to this sort of thing, you will be shocked by the hundreds of simultaneous violations of female characters, culminating in what appears to be “girl-on-girl rape”. Believe me, I’ve seen it, and I still don’t understand how it works.
The second (and second best — seeing a pattern?) is “Hell’s Wind”, which sees Jack take on another biker gang (someone was pressed for ideas, apparently) in order to save a hot elementary school teacher, so that a group of kids in the wasteland can continue to learn. No, really. Along the way, Jack gets shot around the torso and legs for fifteen minutes and still remains standing; he later catches a rocket in mid-air, spies from the bushes on a topless, muscle bound woman practicing archery, and even has time to slice through the entire Hell’s Wind gang with that trusty 40cm buck knife of his.
“Hell’s Wind” isn’t as good as ” Evil Town “, and, although it does contain some good action, is still a danger to your free time.
The final (and predictably, worst) instalment is “Slumking”, which has Jack battling the gay overlord of the biggest surviving town with a totally pointless, much less understandable subplot about trafficking young girls as sex slaves. This section is so bad I am tempted to give the entire movie a 0-star rating just for including it.
If you buy the DVD after reading this review, my advice is to skip the last section, as it will do nothing to enhance the plot of the movie, your enjoyment as a viewer, or the sense of well being in life that comes from day-to-day. Its only merits are a helicopter scene that I can’t really remember and the return of lesbian rape, for those who hadn’t seen enough the first time around. This segment would normally be classed as “forgettable”, except it is so God awful it will stay in your mind forever.
Overall, “Violence Jack” is an almost completely forgettable ordeal, which cancels itself out in terms of plot: Why would God punish mankind for its sins, leaving only the innocent, smoking-hot women and the rapists to try to get along? And how is Jack the “angle of death”? You would guess that the real “angel” would be a lot more angelic, and have some sort of logic and system for administering death. Jack just arbitrarily disperses death to anyone who isn’t a babe, a cute kid or related to a babe or a cute kid.
Ichiro Itano (director) / Sho Aikawa, Go Nagai (comic)
CAST: Minako Arakawa …. Ricky (voice)
Issei Futamata …. Joker (voice)
Kiyoshi Kobayashi …. Jack (voice)
Maya Okamoto …. Mary (voice)