Facts about the Movie:

- Adapted from a wildly popular manga series, which has done for the Japanese Coast Guard what Top Gun did for Navy pilots, UMIZARU follows a team of 14 recruits who submit themselves to the gruelling, 50 day training course to become elite Rescue Divers. They drink hard all night long, then stumble into the grind the next morning, performing underwater search and rescue while suffering from pounding hangovers. The actors in UMIZARU spent weeks living barracks-style and in intensive training before the shoot began, and it’s the first Japanese film to be shot mostly underwater and with the co-operation of the Coast Guard.

- Positioned as one of summer’s big blockbusters, UMIZARU stars Hideaki Ito (Princess Blade) as the over-achieving, top recruit; pop idol, Ai Kato, as his love interest; and veteran actor, Tatsuya Fuji (everything from In the Realm of the Senses to Takashi Miike’s recent films), as the hard-nosed diving instructor. Both Ito and Fuji are divers who performed all their own stunts. The film is the directorial debut of Eiichiro Hasumi, who assistant directed Bayside Shakedown 2, the biggest live action hit in Japanese film history.

Genre: Action/Drama/Romance
Eiichiro Hasumi
Starring: Hideaki Ito, Atsushi Ito, Ken Kaito, Ai Kato, Tatsuya Fuji
RunTime: -
Released By: Cathay-Keris Films
Rating: PG

Release Date: 18 November 2004 (Exclusively at Cathay Cineplex Orchard)

Synopsis :

A disparate group of 14 young Japan Coast Guard officers are thrown together to spend 50 days of the hardest days of their lives training to become elite rescue divers. Until then, the trainees are "Umizaru", as they are called by the local community for their wild drinking and carousing in town. The bonds of trust and friendship forged under the intense demands and circumstances of the profession form the foundation of a highly compelling and realistically portrayed human drama.

Movie Review:

Prepare to dive into one of the most aspiring movie I seen this year. It makes you one to join the Coast Guard or if you can’t make it, join the diving course and if you can’t swim, like me, just watch the movie. This is the same thing what ‘Top Gun’ did in the 80s for the Air Force. But instead of planes, we have air tanks, flippers and wet-suits. However, there is no boyish Tom Cruise, instead we have a tall, very tan and well built Hideaki Ito whom girls will go heads over heels for.

The story involved 14 guys in their 50 strenuous days of training to be the Japanese elite Coast Guards. And just like the recent fire-fighter movie ‘Ladder 49’, it involves a lot of tough training and team work. It also builds on the relationship between the lead character with his team-mates and also his Captain. As you guess it by now, this is a pretty standard movie. What really important is that is this film entertaining? Is this film worth the price of admission? And my answer is definitely!

This is probably one of the few movies which appeal to both genders. For the guys, there are some training scenes and male bonding scenes that probably remind you of your Army days and also the lead character’s love interest reporter played by a very cute Ai Kato. And for the females, there are just way too many reasons to watch this movie. Namely: the guys, the love story, scenes of butt naked guys if you wish to include that as well and some dramatic moments that sure to have you reaching for that packet of tissue.

The pacing is just right, neither slow nor fast. Good character development, does not resolve too much on flashback, the dramatic scenes does not seem force and the acting are pretty good.

The film is entertaining and emotional. A real crowd -pleaser. This gets a thumb up from me!

Movie Rating: B+

Review by our columnist, StoneApe


  Publicity Stills of "Umizaru" (Courtesy from Cathay-Keris Films)
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