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Returner Reviews

A low-tech variation on THE TERMINATOR, this Japanese sci-fi action picture pairs a hardened, modern-day killer and a tough but idealistic teenager from the future to kill an alien, the Daggra (Tibetan for "enemy"), whose arrival in the year 2002 started all-out war between Earth and the flying saucers. The year is 2084, and a ragtag band of human warriors are ambushed by an alien trojan horse. Their only hope is a time portal, but the battle-toughened soldier who offers to go through is cut down by alien fire, so plucky little Milly (Anne Suzuki) goes instead. She materializes on board a docked tanker in the year 2002, right in the middle of a shootout between hired killer Miyamoto (Takeshi Kaneshiro) and stone-cold psycho Mizoguchi (Goro Kishitani), who's just taken delivery of a load of kidnapped children whose organs he intends to auction off to the highest bidder. Miyamoto accidentally shoots Milly and, horrified by having shot a child, hesitates just long enough for Mizoguchi to escape. He takes the wounded youngster under his wing and she alternately coerces and bullies him into helping her find the Daggra and prevent the future war that's going to devastate mankind. Unbeknownst to either, Mizoguchi has corrupt contacts within the National Institute of Space Science, where a top-secret discovery is being investigated: An alien spacecraft and its weak, wizened pilot. Mizoguchi sees nothing but potential profit — what weapons the alien craft could yield, and what secrets the gasping little alien could reveal if properly persuaded! And so the battle lines are drawn: Milly and the reluctant Miyamoto against Mizoguchi and his sadistic henchmen, with the fate of the world in the balance. Director and co-writer Takashi Yamazaki mines familiar territory and does nothing especially new with it. On the plus side, Kishitani is a spectacular villain — he may just have scarier hair than Christopher Walken — there are some nice MATRIX-style action sequences and a couple of mutating-machine scenes that should delight anyone who collected Transformers as a child.