Moon Over Tao: Makaraga (1997) Poster

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Beyond Good and Evil -- to Ultimate Wackiness
wordmonkey16 December 2004
Few films try to jam as much into their plots as this one, and it pulls it off in the best tradition of zany, creative, mid-budget exploitation film.

Samurai, aliens, magicians, and a demonic monster all converge to make this adventure complete, and its bloodthirsty finale will appease many people's need for gore. You'll wonder what arcane drugs writer/director Keita Amamiya took to come up with the loony and violent scenarios that populate this twisted fantasy/sci-fi hybrid.

Amamiya has done many of the "Kamen Rider" pictures, which explains his need to have sexy, helmeted female UFO-nauts in this picture. Indeed, other than the extreme violence, the film feels like a 1960s-era movie, complete with a stop-motion beast straight out of a Ray Harryhausen film.

Not to be missed for fans of bizarro midnight movies!
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Some good old cheesy fun
K_Todorov13 April 2007
"Moon Over Tao" is a wacky, entertaining movie that successfully blends together the samurai, fantasy and sci-fi genres. It feels very much like a retro-piece with a lot of silly effects and of course, chambara level of gore and blood splatter. Direcor Keita Amemiya directs it accordingly with a less focus on story than in action. And it pays of in the end.

Story is that of two men, one a Buddhist monk with magical powers and the other a highly skilled samurai warrior with an indestructible sword. The two have began a journey to discover the source of the indestructible swords. Along the way they meet a young girl working as a beekeeper. Respectively the girl later meets three alien samurai chicks that start fighting without a reason, as one of them is mortally wounded she enlists the girl to help them find and stop a the strange beast/weapon. After a mutual agreement with the help of the two men, the three of them set of and discover the source of the indestructible swords and the strange beast/weapon. It does not take long before said beast/weapon is awaken and then all hell brakes loose.

To put it simply, the story is silly. Characters are as complicated as those found in a Jean Claude Van Damme movie, some even border on the annoying level, yes I do mean the girl beekeeper with that. All you really need to know is who are the good guys, who are the bad and how many walking meat-bags are there on their side. In this case a lot. And thank God for that, because fights scenes tend to get bloody with some good all classic chambara effects, such as the blood geysers and chopped of limbs. It get's even better when the beast/weapon gets loose. You see it has a certain habit that involves eating it's opponents. Amemiya does a good job with the action and gore and it's all just fun to watch. Choreography is reasonably well done, with the individual showdowns standing up from the more massive scenes. Creature effects are surprisingly good, combining CGI and a designed prop for close-up use. While everything else is done in the old fashioned way, meaning none to minimal use of any other CGI. One other concern that Amemiya has with "Moon Over Tao" is the ever lasting question of how many people can cram in an action scene. Luckily the cannon fodder is plenty. The showdown between our two warriors and the evil warlord's henchmen is pretty massive in terms of body count and respectively entertaining.

"Moon Over Tao" should not be taken as a serious movie, or as a highly intellectual movie. Those that do take it as such will definitely hate it. What Keita Amemiya really made is a homage to the old days of chambara movies where gore and wackiness was abundant. And really this is for people that loved this type of cinema.
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Mediocre fantasy-fest...
FryPappy14 October 2002
Moon Over Tao is at best a mediocre fantasy film. There are some interesting ideas present, but the film quickly tires with slow scenes that drag, and all-too-brief action scenes. It doesn't help that some of the acting (especially the lead girl) is terrible. Some of the effects are rather nice, and the music is pleasant, but it's not enough for this film.

When I read the other user comments on this film, as well as having seen the preview trailer (which is far better than the film itself), I was expecting a fun, simple fantasy action movie. What I got instead was a fairly unexciting disappointment.
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Amamiya's best film
kaneko5 April 2001
Fun fantasy, with a good cast and neat-looking effects. Amamiya keeps things moving along quickly, and has a good balance of dramatic elements with goofy fun stuff. The score is magnificent. Yuko Moriyama is cool, as always, though I wish she were in the movie a little more. Toshiyuki Nagashima is a great, dignified lead. Hiroshi Abe is one of the coolest dudes in cinema today, and it's a pleasure to watch him killing loads of bad guys in efficient ways.
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Very wonderful Japanese fantasy film!
Chibi Riza16 April 2000
I finally got to see this,after waiting for 2 years or so to come out,and let me tell you,it was definetly worth the wait.

"Tao no Tsuki" (Moon of Tao) is one of the best films that distort Medival Japan.Forget "Ninja Scroll",Tao is the one,PLUS,there is a really big hard-to-destroy monster in there by the name of Makarage (is that how you spell it's name).

But be warned,the ending is rather distressing.*No spoilers,SORRY!*
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Harmless trash.
imdb-195486 August 2011
This is a simple, very simple, fantasy film.

The central premise is OK, a buried evil being freed by a man seeking power.

The acting is bad, the two leads are OK but the rest of the cast are completely unconvincing especially the bee-keeper girl.

The fight scenes are very power rangers with lots of fake blood thrown in.

The creature is weird but in an almost funny way, they use cheap CGI and it looks like those 1960s films when such things were new, Jason and the Argonauts style.

The ending is predictable.

It's not an awful film, I didn't feel the need to switch it off, but it's not good.
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