Black Sun
The Nanking Massacre

Tartan Grindhouse
RRP: 15.99
Certificate: 18
Available 25 September 2006

Black Sun tells the story of the Nanking Massacre. In the early stages of World War II the Japanese invaded the Chinese city in a bid to claim the territory...

Call me old fashioned but I've always considered the primary purpose of a feature to be to entertain, no matter the genre I'm watching. I'll admit up front that I'm not really a lover of war films (there are a couple of exceptions to the rule), but the Nanking Massacre is a real life atrocity from history when a great deal of innocent people were raped, tortured or butchered (sometimes all three) by generals and soldiers with no humanity.

Serve me up any number of hack 'n' slash horror movies and I won't bat an eyelid (although plot should come before gore every time), but you'll forgive me for turning my nose up at the prospect of viewing a graphic and bloody reinactment of one of the worst moments in history. You can't exactly sit down with your bucket of popcorn or your bottle of beer and enjoy this. Okay, I know it's a film with actors playing roles, but it simply made me feel uncomfortable, as if I were helplessly watching the real event take place - especially when scenes were punctuated with black and white WWII footage. If director T.F. Mou's purpose was to shock with Black Sun, then he's achieved his aim; however, I can't help thinking if an historian wants to discover more about this dark chapter in time, why not just seek out the news reels.

No matter what the promotional packaging says, this is not a horror film in the conventional sense and will not appeal to cult fans. Tartan have released some great titles, but if this and Last House On Dead End Street are anything to go by then perhaps they should drop their Tartan Grindhouse range.

Not for me.

Ty Power

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