directed by Shinji Higuchi, Cellin Gluck
starring Koji Yakusho, Satoshi Tsumabuki, Toshiro Yanagiba, Yu Kashii, Shinichi Tsutsumi, Ken Ishiguro, Colter Allison, David Austin, Tyrone Power jr, Nicholas Dombrovskis, Christopher Ryan Doyle, Norman England, Isao Hashizume, Masato Ibu, Takaya Kamikawa, Kreva, Jun Kunimura, Matt Logan, Dave Monahan, Takehiko Ono, Ryuta Sato, Fred Spiker, Pierre Taki, Yoshiyuki Tomino, Shingo Tsurumi, Shugo Oshinari
screenplay by Satoshi Suzuki, based on the novel Shusen no Lorelei by Harutoshi Fukui, music by Naoki Sato
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The last days of World War II in the Pacific: The first atom bomb has
already been dropped on Hiroshima when Captain Masami (Koji Yakusho) - a
man known for his dismay of suicide missions and therefore often called a
coward - is entrusted with the command of a German experimental sub to
intercept the delivery of any more atom bombs to the Allies.
The sub has some sort of super-minisub attached to it, the Lorelei,
which has a sort of mental super-radar attached to it that works by far
better than the then customary conventional sonar - thing is, the mental
radar is attached to a young girl, Paula (Yu Kashii), who is a telepath,
and who feels the pain every time someone dies, so after each battle (with
casualties), Paula is totally devastated. What makes the situation even
worse is that Paula has to be kept a secret from most of the sub's crew
safe from Lorelei's navigator Origasa (Satoshi Tsumabuki).
However, not even the Lorelei can keep the Allies from dropping a
second nuclear bomb on Nagasaki, and it soon becomes clear they want to
bomb Tokyo too the very next day ... which is when things take an
unexpected turn, as Captain Masami's immediate superiors (Shinichi
Tsutsumi, Ken Ishiguro) turn out to be traitors who want the Lorelei
handed over to the Allies and who want Tokyo bombed - ironically enough
out of patriotism, because they think only a properly destroyed Japan can
rise like Phoenix from the ashes. They even go to quite some lengths to
have all peace negotiations between already beaten Japan and the Allies
Masami however does not share the opinion of his superiors, manages to
overthrow the mutineers on board, gives his crew a compassionate speech to
intercept the atom-bomb-carrying plane after all, and in the end, his sub
with the Lorelei attached to it takes on what seems like the Allied fleet
of battlesheep and manages to shoot down the plane just after take-off.
Then he has the connection with the Lorelei - with Paula and Origasa
aboard - cut so they can get away while he and his ship guard their back
and are ultimately annihilated ...
In writing the story of this film, a totally fictional account of the
final days of war spiced up with science fiction and fantasy elements,
sounds quite exciting, but unfortunately the finished film is less so,
it's a rather unreflected warfilm that celebrates heroisn, patriotism and
self-sacrifice, elements that totally drown the more interesting aspects
of the story. The fact that the film is directed way too slickly for its
far-out premise doesn't help one bit either, and the film's heavy reliance
on badly done CGI-effects in scenes that cry out for conventional
miniature work totally sinks the film. A pity, this could have been fun.