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Sushi Girl (2012)


Upon his release from prison, Fish is brought to an abandoned restaurant by his old associate, Duke, to celebrate his newfound freedom. However, there's unfinished business that Duke is determined to solve.


I'll be honest. I wanted to see this because of the cast. And man, I'm glad I did.

So let's start there. Truly an ensemble, the film is led by Tony Todd (Candyman), with the likes of Noah Hathaway (The Neverending Story), James Duval (Independence Day), Mark Hamill (Slip Stream), and Andy Mackenzie (Macgruber). Chuck in some cameos from Sonny Chiba, Jeff Fahey, Danny Trejo, and Michael Biehn, and you have a cast. It's all very Tarantino in both actor choice and delivery, but more on that later. Rounding them out is Cortney Palm (Zombeavers) - the titular Sushi Girl.

Because of the films narrative, it relies very heavily on strong performances from the cast. It mostly delivers. Stand out for me was Mark Hamill who I hadn't seen in a live action role in years. And doesn't he come crashing onto the scene. The lead of Tony Todd is a strong choice. He can, and has, carried many a film. So with such talent at hand, does the film deliver?

The premise is simple. A robbery, one man went to jail, and the diamonds disappeared. Now with the gang back together, someone in this room must know where the stash is. I won't go much more into it than that, no spoilers on this one. The story plays out well. It has neat twists and turns, nothing is obvious, and the ending is very satisfying. One immediate thought though, is that of Reservoir Dogs. It's...awfully close in premise. Angry gangsters, single room setting, pointing fingers. The similarity is undeniable.

The direction is solid, Kern Saxton helms (his one and only seat in the chair at feature length) - so no flaw there. The film falls at the writing. Kern (Co-writer) and Destin Pfaff (who also wrote something called Porntourage (!)) drop the ball with repetitious, and sometimes stale dialogue. No matter how legendary the cast, if the dialogue is poor in a film like this, it's destined to fail. With this cast, in the hands of someone with Tarantino's dialogue genius, this would have been up there with Pulp Fiction. Sadly, it wasn't to be, and barely made a wave in the bargain bucket DVD bins.

But that said, it is actually worth watching for the more than capable story line, and of course, the outstanding cast.


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