Death Trance
Year: 2006
Length: 90min
Role: Grave
Yuji Shimomura
Action Director:
Tak Sakaguchi

Average: 5
Death Trance

"An unknown time. An unknown place. Without reason. With no future. His only desire is... destruction."

I found out about this movie by accident, and boy am I glad I did. I bought the Devil May Cry 3 artbook Note of Nought and it had an interview with Yuji Shimomura because he was the action director. But in addition to the interview, it also had a little segment on his new movie, Death Trance, and that Tak was in it. I shrieked with joy and quickly went to the website they provided. I was absolutely blown away by the trailer and immediately ordered it. I obsessed over it for days while waiting for it to arrive, watching the trailers over and over again. It finally came on the day I had to visit the Convergence convention. All I could do before heading out was hug the box cooing "I love you, pretty box!!" and then spend Convergence showing my friends the trailer... over and over.

On my way back from the convention, I picked up some double cheese and pepperoni stuffed crust pizza and prepared myself for a night of Death Trance. But I didn't prepare myself enough. As an artist at heart, I am highly sensitive to beauty. If I take in too much prettiness too fast, my brain experiences a meltdown from sensory overload. It's probably the closest to orgasm I can get outside of sex. As blissful as such an unbridled high is, it is also terrifying because I lose all control of my thoughts. To avoid all this, I usually try to desensitize myself gradually to things I know might trigger it. I didn't think I would need to take precautions with Death Trance, but I was terribly mistaken.

It's not all that hard to make me happy. I like pretty things. I like blood. I like blood on pretty things. But this? This was something else. I expected Tak to look gorgeous, but he utterly surpassed my expectations in every respect. I swear the older he gets the more he looks like a younger Johnny Depp. The monk, by the way (Takamasa Suga), wasn't bad either... not bad at all. The fight scenes were amazing, and I had to stop and rewind in several places just to soak in the coolness of it all. I also had to take several breaks to pace around and calm down because the movie was actually good and entertaining - it seemed too good to be true. Then came the blood. Beautiful, beautiful blood without the icky gore. I gaped awestruck as chaotic neurons shot sparks in my head. I didn't know what to do. I had to physically bite down on my hand to keep myself from running up a wall.

There was a scene where Tak's character Grave was being drained by humanoid spiders. They had him seemingly helpless in their grasp, but then his eyes flashed red, he tore away from them, and beat them down with inhuman strength. This instantly reminded me of Devil Trigger in Devil May Cry, and linked Tak with Dante in my mind. Brain went haywire and blanked out. I knew I had to take a longer break. I scurried off to my computer and harassed anyone I saw online with incoherent ramblings. I couldn't keep pace with my thoughts, I couldn't control them, I couldn't calm down... time passed and it wouldn't go away. I was getting worried, but enjoying every minute of it.

With no other option before me, I forced myself to come back and sit civilly through the rest of the movie. Still, it was very hard to contain myself and I couldn't help uttering animalistic noises every few seconds to release tension. The final fight, though not much for action, was visually stunning! Like a Hong Kong martial arts flick meets American Beauty. Blood and rose petals floating everywhere. It was great. But the ending made me want to throw the pizza box at the screen. Terrible cliffhanger with no resolution.

Tak was the action director for Death Trance. As he explains in his interview, he felt fights with fake punches didn't look realistic enough, so he decided to do away with the fake punch altogether. He would actually hit the stuntmen and have them hit him. Not hard, but solidly enough to look real onscreen. Brilliant, sweetheart.

Image Gallery
More Pictures

DVD Extras
More Pictures

back to shrine


DISCLAIMER: All images copyright Tak Sakaguchi, Ryuhei Kitamura, Yudai Yamaguchi, Yuji Shimomura, and all respective owners whose work, support, distribution, etc contributed to the making of the movies, interviews, documentaries, etc. I do not know Tak Sakaguchi and have nothing to do with him (yet?). I am just here to admire his work. No copyright infringement is intended.