“Re: Born” is a title that makes sense once you watch the latest film from Yuji Shimomura (“Death Trance”), but it might as well have been called “One Man Army.”
Tak Sakaguchi (“Versus”) has come out of retirement for this brutal Japanese martial arts film where he plays a former special forces soldier named Toshiro. His code name is “Ghost” because of the way he can way he could sneak up on people in battle. As our story begins, Toshiro has been out of the game for several years. He runs a convenience store and is raising his young niece Sachi, occasionally experiencing some PTSD-like dreams that have him wanting to get back into action.
Turns out, Toshiro really pissed off his former commander “Phantom” when he left the special forces because of what he considered shady activities on the side. For him, it’s always a battle of good and evil. No matter how many times he has fought for his life, Toshiro only has a few superficial cuts and scars. It’s always the other guy who gets hurt.
Phantom ends up kidnapping Sachi and taking her off to his compound to lure Toshiro out of his retirement and into harm’s way. With the help of Max and Masani (who were recruited to assist by Toshiro’s cousin Kenji, previously blinded and disabled in battle to protect him), they head off to rescue Sachi and settle the score.
It’s not an exaggeration to say that the last 45 minutes of this movie are one long continuous fight scene. There are almost no breaks in the action and it’s fully relentless. As Toshiro and his fellow warriors make their way into battle with the Japanese Defense Force soldiers, it’s quite interesting to note that “Ghost” fully eschews the usage of guns. His teammates back him up occasionally with gunfire, but he always approaches in a sneak attack, disabling the guns of his opponents and offing them with knives and his hands for the most part. The other guys honestly don’t even need to be there as he takes on what feels like hundreds of men and keeps on ticking.
“Re: Born” has some simply awesome fight sequences. With highly choreographed, briskly edited, and non-stop action, it has the thrills and body count of a hundred Hollywood blockbusters.