Starring: Tatsuya Fujiwara and Satoshi Tsumabuki
Artsmagic Ltd
RRP: 19.99, US $24.95
Certificate: 12
Available 26 June 2004

Framed for a crime he did not commit, Eijji is subjected to the harsh realities of the Ishikawa island prison camp. Sabu, Eijji's long time friend, must discover who is responsible for Eijji's incarceration before prison life consumes him completely...

Sabu sees director Takashi Miike deliver a haunting tale adapted from the classic Japanese rights of passage novel by Shugoro Yanamoto.

Being a director that refuses to tie himself down to any genre, Miike has delivered a made for TV period drama. Featuring rising film star Tatsuya Fujiwara (Battle Royale 1 & 2) Sabu is part mystery, part period piece.

Whilst some may say that it is overly long, I personally found it engrossing enough that I didn't mind the length - but that doesn't mean the film is an easy journey. The acting seems a little wooden at times, and the production may have benefited from more prudent editing.

At the end of the day Sabu is a good film. There are better examples of the genre out there, but this one certainly isn't the worst.

The picture quality on the DVD itself is good. Low grain and the colour is vibrant. Extra's on the disc include a making of documentary, two interviews with Miike, an interview with Fujiwara, plus biographies and trailers.

All in all a good solid little package and it's nice to see a good collection of extras.

Simon Lee

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