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Ultimate Fighter: Grappler Baki
Genre: Action / Martial Arts
Rating: NR, Parental Guidance Advised
Format: Original Japanese Dialog, Subtitled (VHS), English Dubbed (VHS)
Screenplay / Director:
Parental Guidance Advised
Profanity: I don't remember, but I don't think there was much.
Violence: More or less constant and graphic, but generally not too gory. There is some blood, several broken bones and joints, and of course the "cord cutter" attacks.
Baki is a mysterious martial artist who has only been entering tournaments (and possibly has only been training) for a few years yet wins every match, frequently with a single strike. He's a classic mystery martial artist who lives only for the fight, always training for the next contest and truly only happy when someone's trying to kill him.
In addition to traditional tournaments, he is also champion of Tokyo's underground circuit, a no-holds-barred arena where fighters are routinely crippled or even killed. There Baki must face his most ruthless opponent, a man who's "cord cutter" technique consists of reaching into an opponent's body and snapping their nerves and tendons. After a long drawn out fight, Baki wins, is patched together by the doctors, and remains champion.
It's difficult to describe the plot in this movie because it doesn't seem to have one. I kept fast forwarding through the fight scenes, trying to find something interesting, but there were just more fight scenes. It was like watching "Dragon Ball Z," but without the humor, interesting people, or even a semblance of a plot line. There is also no character development to speak of. There is one female who is concerned about Baki's obsessive nature, and looks to be a possible love interest, but she immediately drops out of the story.
The movie is also filled with all sorts of anatomical errors. At one point, Baki's opponent reaches into Baki's bicep and breaks his "arm nerve," completely paralyzing the arm. No mention is made of the fact that there are four nerves in the arm at that point, none of them directly below the bicep. My personal favorite is where the same opponent reaches into the side of Baki's neck and snaps his optic nerve. In real humans, the optic nerve runs straight back into the brain and never gets near the neck.
On the plus side, the animation is decent, and the fight scenes (that is to say, the whole movie) are decently executed. If you like endless violence, this is definitely the movie for you. On the other hand, if things like plot, character development, dialogue, and creativity are more your thing, avoid it at all costs. Leave the room if necessary.
- DB, 98.11.20