Yudai Yamaguchi
2003, Japan, 87 minutes
Japanese language with English subtitles

Sunday, 3.21, 11:00pm
Wednesday, 3.24, 2:00pm

Every now and again, you will see a film that is so mind-bendingly alien and totally unpredictable that the utterly baffling onscreen weirdness is completely hypnotic and entrancing. Such is the case with Battlefield Baseball.

You've never seen anything quite like this before - I think it's the world's first high-school kung fu baseball action musical adventure comedy. Consider it a bizarre hybrid of The Bad News Bears, The Breakfast Club, Rollerball and Brain Dead with zombie baseball players, severed limbs, deadly pitching, an evil coach with Bruce Campbell's chin and a very strange dog.

Tak (Versus) Sakaguchi stars as Jubei Baseball, the troubled loner who transfers to a new school. Standing up to the school bullies, he eventually joins their baseball team, even though he vowed never to play again after he pitched a ball right through his father. The school's arch-rivals, the Gedo team, win every game they play, perhaps because they prefer to use spiked bats, explosives, knives and spears. Theie sporting prowess is legendary because they engage the rival teams with their unique 'fighting baseball' style. Batter up!

Adapted from the popular Manga by Gataro Man, Battlefield Baseball is the directorial debut of Yudai Yamaguchi, the screenwriter and Assistant Director of Ryuhei Kitamura's Versus and Alive. It was a blockbuster box office hit in Japan last year, but don't hold your breath waiting for the American remake, because it's never going to happen.

- Bruce Fletcher