The Great Chase/Review
From The Grindhouse Cinema Database
The Great Chase has a real promising premise, but the film is unfortunately one of the lesser efforts on director Norifumi Suzuki’s career. More than a Suzuki film The Great Chase an actor, or actress, vehicle. Etsuko Shihomi has certainly done better movies on her career, but her cuteness is used more efficiently here than usual. The spy movie-esque storyline of a race driver turned govenment agent allowes her to jump from one silly disguise to another, making sure she won’t spend more than 5 minutes in one set of clothes. And yes, the school girl outfit is included.
The rest of the cast plays much for the same purpose. Suzuki has gathered up an impressive collection of Toei action film regulars, including Eiji Go, Bin Amatsu, Fumio Watanabe, Masashi Ishibashi and many others, all of them criminally underused. They do have their moments, but none of them really get to shine, parly because of the limited screentime given to each player.
Considering the film’s easy going nature the gruesome violence comes as a surprise. Dagger to the eye shots are basic stuff in Shihomi movies but in The Great Chase such graphic images feel almost out of place. Action wise the movie is a few kicks behind what we’ve come to expect from Shihomi. Most of the fighting is a bit stiff, with the exception of the ending. The last 20 minutes offer an exhilarating action finale, packed with stunts, music and karate.
The Great Chase is not a bad movie by any means, but it doesn’t reach the level of excellence you’d exepect from this director / cast combination. Suzuki’s direction is notably less inventive than what he’s capable of. For fans of Shihomi the movie however offers 80 minutes of solid, even if not very ambitious entertainment. She even gets to speak two words of bad but kinda cute english.
Reviewed by HungFist