STUDIO: Subversive Cinema
MSRP: $29.95 RATED: NR
RUNNING TIME: 137 Minutes
• Commentary
• Deleted Scenes
• Short Films
• Music Video
• 2 Documentaries
• Trailers

I like baseball. I like zombies. I like movies. How could this go wrong?


The Flick

I wanted to like this film, I really did. It seemed pretty cut and dry; you combine to completely opposite genres and see what kind of abominations become of it. But inevitably, it took a few viewings to understand what I liked and what I didn’t. Surprisingly, the pros and cons came from directions I never would have thought of.

The set up is pretty simple; the new kid (Jubeh) with a knack for baseball joins a school with a floundering team that desperately needs a player with his gifts. After impressing the principle with an array of game related skills in a spaghetti-western style martial arts show down, Jubeh is recruited to help the school reach the championship. There is only one catch; they must face the deadly zombie-like students of Gedo school, lead by their demonic coach (who resembles something similar to the Creeper).

Refusing to participate in the game because of the baseball related death of his father, Jubeh runs away while the team plays against Gedo without him. After being literally slaughtered by Gedo, Jubeh realizes what he must do… Play the game and seek revenge and redemption for the massacre of his classmates and death of his father.

The set-up for the most awkward sports related porno, ever!

And the pitch!

The idea is actually a lot more interesting than the movie itself. While Battlefield Baseball shamelessly gloats that it is presented by the team that brought you Versus, there is a fraction of the gore and infinitely more cheese than the latter. One would think that a film with the word Battlefield in it would hold some spectacular fight scenes and buckets of blood, but unfortunately, it fails to deliver. Instead, Battlefield Baseball is a low-budget slapstick horror comedy that resembles something closer to the Three Stooges than any zombie movie this reviewer has ever seen.

The one thing that is noticeable throughout the entire film is that most of the fighting is done off screen. A tad disappointing considering the great zombie slashing in Versus. This trend continues up until the end, where both teams face off in a final showdown, in which some rather mediocre chop-sake ensues – a modest payoff for a rather misleading movie.

With all the things going against it, there is a way to truly enjoy the flick. First and foremost, you have to watch it without the expectation of brutal and unforgiving kills. The movie is a comedy, plain and simple. If you can watch it with that in mind there are far more things to enjoy besides the desire to see people bludgeoned with bats.

If only these girls were 10 years younger, Dave Davis would be in heaven.

The standout silliness of one character named Boncho, who is constantly replaced by different actors of various ages and sizes, is probably the most enduring joke of the film. It is cheap, but oh so effective. For those who have not seen the movie, Boncho is a character that always seems to meet what appears to be an untimely end, but is later resurrected for some ridiculous reason and replaced by another actor due to ‘plastic surgery’. Besides that there is the hilariously bad musical number in which Jubeh has a flash back and sings a song about how he killed his dad by throwing a baseball at his head. With harmony sung by his mother, the bit is beyond horrible and runs right back to genius. Other things, like a fight scene between a woman only credited as ‘Old Bag’ and Jubeh deliver the chuckles, in the end, the true side splitter is the PSA given at the film’s finale by the narrator. I will not spoil it, but the message is completely unexpected yet completely fitting when put in contrast with the rest of the movie.

While there are many things to love and hate about this movie, it really does not deliver completely in any respects. The gory parts are unfulfilling and the comedic bits are only funny because of their appalling nature. There is nothing about this movie that has enough to save or kill it, but it is an experience. Perhaps 10years down the road this movie will be considered a ‘cult classic’, but for now it remains as is.

7 out of 10

Lately, North America has borrowed much from Asian cinema. But I think there is something lost in the Japanese Hellraiser remake.

The Look

Much in tune with Versus, this movie looks quite blurry, flat and dull. While the quality is slightly better than the latter film mentioned, it is still fairly amateurish and gives the impression of being shot on camcorder. Most of the special effects are poorly rendered and cheap – in particular a laughable scene involving a flaming baseball. As snobbish as it would seem to grill a movie of this caliber on film quality, the reality is, it looks pretty shoddy.

5.5 out of 10

The Noise

It says 5.1, but do not be fooled. Some parts are separated into rear speakers, but this is in fact an expanded stereo track. What that means is that only the occasional ambient noise or folly sound added in post production for this DVD are audible, not the original movie. For the majority of the film this is forgivable, but in action scenes that could have benefited from dividing up the sound, it is quite noticeable how neglected your rear speakers are. In addition to that, you also have to crank your home theatre quite high to create any kind of atmosphere, which can be annoying when the loud plosives kick in and crunch your satellites.

6 out of 10

Another naive victim of Santorum.

The Goodies

Wow, love or hate it, this disc is stacked! What’s more, it is not filled with endless crap! Even though it is a single disc, the people over at Subversive managed to pack this DVD with more content than it probably deserves.

First up are the featurettes, which believe or not, are actually interesting. 2 in total, these little guys cover a lot of ground in a short period of time. What was most amusing about the presentation was the first featurette, which begins with actor Tak Sakaguchi (a talented man from across the ditch, who you may remember from Versus) being interviewed by a child. The process is cold, distant and awkward, and because of this it is amazingly humorous. They talk and explore many aspects of the production, including acting, action and off camera tension. Although, like most of this flick, there is something undoubtedly lost in the translation, you get a good idea of what it was like to be on set. Only of course, if you like me can barely grasp English, can understand Japanese.

The music videos are rather uneventful, save for the song about Jubeh killing his father. Which are not only broadcast in karaoke, but also feature some unnamed Asian hottie throughout!

A segment from the new ABC special "Drunk Baseball Dads: Gone Wild!"

The commentary is done completely, and expectedly, in the mother tongue of cast and crew. Fortunately for me, it is also subtitled. While most of the captions were very quick, as the conversation is quite active, I got the feeling I was watching the banter of the Army of Darkness commentary, only in another language. The crew is totally aware of the hammy script and laughs it off, pointing fun and themselves and other aspects of the film. It is great to know this movie caught no one in left field (pun, totally intended).

The short films are, well, interesting. Most notably, one scene completely retold with Lego men. It is basically an audio loop of two scenes, cut between various poses of Lego action! The funny bit does not come from the use of Lego people to replicate the scene, but the endless duration of the loop itself. It is mind-numbingly long, and you can help but break a smile at its stupidity. Sometimes, it is fun to be simple.

Lastly we have the trailers, which on any other package would be omitted. But fortunate for us, these trailers are actually pretty cool. Last year at Rue Morgue’s Festival Of Fear, I scored a DVD from Something Weird Video containing nothing but about 100 trailers from various flicks they distribute. It is a fun background piece when working at home, and features some genuinely interesting films. Such is the case for Subversive. There are only a handful of movie trailers, but they definitely grab your attention.

It is an amazingly comprehensive package and mucho props go out to the team at Subversive for putting it together. Hopefully their other films are treated with such love.

10 out of 10

Actually, my heart desires to play with Natalia Cruz.

The Artwork

The sinister gaze of Jubeh looking over his shoulder while fields of massacred corpses are spilled out in front of him. If it were not for the sub par rendering of the whole damn thing this layout would have scored higher, but since it is basically 2 images of differing resolution and texture, it is a bit amateurish. Granted, if you liked the cover for Versus, this is virtually identical, so what do I know? It is still eye grabbing, but only in a glancing kind of way, after you hold the DVD it seems less interesting.

7 out of 10

Overall 7.1 out of 10