Home > Film, Reviews > DVD Review: Deadball (Deddoboru) – A Film By Yudai Yamaguchi

DVD Review: Deadball (Deddoboru) – A Film By Yudai Yamaguchi

Full of unique ways of presenting us with outlandish gore! 

Baseball prodigy Jubeh Yakyu (Tak Sakaguchi) is the most feared and dangerous juvenile delinquent in all of Japan. After accidentally causing the death of his father with a super-powered, deadly fireball pitch, Jubeh swore off baseball and became a criminal and now, at 17, has been sent to the Pterodactyl Juvenile Reformatory for hardened criminals. Headmistress Ishihara, the granddaughter of a World War II Nazi collaborator, runs the institution with an iron fist and the enthusiastic help of her sadistic assistant, Ilsa. After arriving at the hellhole, Jubeh soon learns from governor Mifune that his long-lost, younger brother Musashi had also done time there after a murder spree, but had since died mysteriously.

Despite having sworn never to play baseball again, Jubeh is presented with an ultimatum by governor Mifune: join the reformatory team, The Gauntlets, in the national tournament for juvenile inmates, or witness the death of his innocent cellmate Four Eyes (Mari Hoshino). With the knowledge that the death of his brother is somehow connected to the team, Jubeh agrees, and Gauntlet training begins. Their first opponents: the sexy but deadly “psycho butcher girls” of the St. Black Dahlia High School, a team of literal man-killers. And so the splatterific baseball tournament begins, but Jubeh soon learns that he is not only fighting to win the game, but also to save his own life!

(Courtesy of Bounty Films)

Deadball is full of unique ways of presenting us with outlandish gore and tries (and succeeds) to repulse us with the extreme cavity searches, not to mention the scene in which the inmates are served vomit as a meal. However, the baseball element is a welcome change from the body-parts-as-weapons we are so used to seeing in other films of this ilk. It’s full of humour and absurdities and not just in the splatter department; the running joke with Jubeh producing a cigarette out of thin air and his fist coming out through a telephone receiver and pounding Ishihara in the face, along with a hilarious spoof impression of a former world leader, being some of the highlights.  As always Sakaguchi has the ability to play many of these jokes perfectly.

(Courtesy of Bounty Films)

The whole cast gives it their all but it is Sakaguchi who stands out. This kind of film needs its star to be engaging to give the audience a chance of caring what happens rather than just waiting for the next special effect – Sakaguchi is the man for the job. The character is pretty much perfect for him. His charisma is given ample chance to shine, and shine it does. The role he played in Yakuza Weapon is a lot less likeable but because of his fine performance we root for him anyway.

(Courtesy of Bounty Films)

The budget for Deadball is limited with less than impressive effects. But the over the top make-up, supervised by gore maestro Yoshihiro Nishimura, is one of the reasons why we watch. The screenplay, nevertheless, has virtue and something to say if you should care to listen. Furthermore, the tendency to make these films over-long is resisted and benefits greatly from this.

Deadball is far from ground breaking, yet it’s a funny, well written, gore-laden hour and a half-worth of entertainment and richly deserves to be part of anyone’s exploitation film library.

(Courtesy of Bounty Films)


Label: Bounty Films – Distributed by Eureka! Entertainment

Release date: 7th May 2012

Certificate: 18

Running time: 98 mins

Genre: Comedy/ Horror

Director: Yudai Yamaguchi

Stars: Tak Sakaguchi, Mari Hoshino, Miho Ninagawa, Ryosei Tayama

Review written by Dean Hilliam

Released on DVD on 7 May 2012 by  Bounty Films and distributed in the UK by Eureka! Entertainment

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