"Give this a try if you're still lamenting the death of The X-Files."
AKA: Crossfire, Cross Fire, Kurosufaia
Director: Shusuke Kaneko
Producer: Kazuya Hamana, Hideyuki Honma, Kazuhiko Seda, Setsuro Tagami
Writer: Screenplay: Kota Yamada, Masahiro Yokotani, Shusuke Kaneko. Original Story: Miyuki Myabe. Based on the novel by Miyuki Mayabe.
Cast: Akiko Yada, Hieaki Ito, Ryuuji Harada, Masami Nagasawa, Yu Yoshizawa, Hidenori Tokyuama, Toshiyuki Nagashima, Kaori Momoi, Ayako Fujitani
Running Time: 115 min.
Plot: Junko Aoki is a pyrokinetic; a psychic who can generate fire and intense heat through concentration. At first, she fears to use her powers, but when a friend is senselessly murdered, she unleashes violent flaming revenge on the killers. And it doesn't stop there...
Availability: This title is available at HKflix.com
NUMSKULL'S REVIEW: All right, get this:
Junko, a 20-year old girl, can set people on fire just by thinking about it. Seeing this power as a curse rather than a blessing, she shuns the company of others for fear of "losing it" and unwillingly causing harm. She starts to come out of her shell after meeting a man named Tada and his kid sister Yukie. Alas, sweet 16-year old Yukie falls prey to a group of sadistic teenagers who make snuff films for fun and profit, and Junko's murderous impulses fight their way out of suppression.
Sounds like it's got the letter "B" written all over it, right? Well, the temptation to dismiss this as an exploitation film targeted at gore freaks and cult types is a strong one, but it's actually very solid and polished. It draws inspiration from a variety of geek-friendly sources both foreign (Unbreakable and The Matrix spring to mind, thanks in part to the bullet-freezing bit) and domestic (such as Akira and the Ring trilogy, especially Ring 0), but its scope reaches farther than the basic premise would indicate, and it's all handled with a restrained, disciplined stylization. The special effects are pretty good for the most part, but there is one particular scene where it's painfully obvious that a mannequin was set ablaze rather than a computer image or a stuntman. (That can be Ringo Lam's next project: Dummy On Fire.)
Junko is eventually made aware of an underground vigilante organization of "Espies" (an "Espy" being an individual with some sort of psychic power; past Espies include such illustrious figures as Jesus Christ and Mohammed) called The Guardians who unhesitatingly punish those who escape the legal system. The Guardians are, naturally, eager to ally themselves with a woman who can reduce people to little piles of ash by simply willing it to happen (and isn't bad looking into the bargain)...but her suspicion of their true colors and her inherently gentle nature hamper their plans. Following the trail of incinerated scum are a pair of detectives. The male is a firm believer in the supernatural; the female is more down-to-earth and skeptical. I can't recall their names just now, so let's just give them a couple of substitute names. Hmmm...how about "Mulder" and "Scully"? Yeah, those'll do nicely.
The tension runs deeper and the suspense grows thicker as the stew into which Junko, Tada, Mulder, and Scully have been stirred is brought to a boil by a villainous mastermind and other Espies wreak havoc with their own powers; the film's finale has perhaps one false climax too many but wraps things up in a pretty satisfactory manner.
Give this a try if you're still lamenting the death of The X-Files.
NUMSKULL'S RATING: 7/10