You're Under Arrest: The Motion Picture (of 1) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Friday, October 07, 2005
Release Date: Tuesday, September 27, 2005
What They Say
The hard-working men and women of the Bokuto Traffic Corps are back on the scene, but this time they've got more to worry about than everyday traffic violations! During a routine arrest, they recover a secret document. Contained in it are step-by-step instructions to terrorists on how to wipe Tokyo off the map! Even the precinct station isn't safe from the bloodthirsty murderers that want this information, or from the rogue who wrote it. Can Miyuki and Natsume rally their fellow officers in time to save themselves and the city? Or is Tokyo doomed to destruction at the hands of a vengeful madman?
Two years after the original release of the movie, a proper version finally gets released with the better video and audio that this movie deserves.
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The original release had a decent and definitely solid stereo mix to it but this was a theatrical release originally that had a great 5.1 mix in both Dolby Digital and DTS. While we won't see the DTS this time around we do finally get the Dolby Digital mix and it's a significant different in terms of directionality and clarity. Everything just feels more alive and sharper as it plays out never mind the action to the rear speakers. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally released in theaters in 1999, the transfer for this movie is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. The source materials and transfer for the original release was again, just like the audio department, solid and pretty much free of problems but it was a letterbox presentation while a higher quality anamorphic print was out there with more detail and resolution. The difference it's quite night and day but the transfer overall looks much better and the areas where we had some minor issues such as the reds are pretty much cleaned up here. As good as the original was, this is much more enjoyable and good to see without the letterbox bars on our widescreen setup.
I really have to admire what they've done with the packaging here. They took the original cover artwork for the first release, which was the same as the Japanese regular edition release, but blacked out the background, filtered Natsumi in blue and did Miyuki up in silver foil as a silhouette. It simply looks sleek and with the small text along the bottom I at first thought a Criterion release got into my box. The back cover keeps to the black and silver look which is very classy and provides several shots from the show around the summary. The discs production and technical information fills out the bottom part of the cover. The original release had a foldout poster but nothing is included here for an insert.
The main menu is a nice static piece with some of the thumping instrumental action music playing along that has a full body shot of Miyuki holding her air rifle while there’s a background headshot of Natsumi mixed into the red coloring, pretty much replicating part of the feel of the cover of the Japanese release. Access times are nice and fast and menus load quickly with no transitional animations.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With a couple of years between viewings and remembering how disappointed I was in this release the first time around for the technical elements, I was really glad to finally sit down and watch this movie again free of some of the most basic of issues where it felt like I was getting a watered down inferior product. Though I'm far past where I was taking in a ton of the TV related material which was coming out at the time, all of it came rushing back pretty quickly and it was good to revisit some old friends..
The film is one that lets the cast really flex nicely, though the majority of it is really limited to our two natural leads, Miyuki and Natsumi, but also extends more to the Chief than to anyone else. While people like Ai, Yoriko and Nakajima do move in and about the storyline, they’re never really prominent and really play minor supporting roles for the most part. This may disappoint those hoping to see more of the full cast interaction that they’ve come to love in the series, but I think it works well in keeping the focus more distinct here and it helps the plot move along nicely.
And what a fun plot it is, unless the mere thought of terrorist stories scares you silly. Taking place roughly a year after the TV series ends, we learn that both Miyuki and Natsumi were selected to pilot a cross-training program where they’d go to different police locations, such as the headquarters, and acquire new skills while passing along their own. Miyuki for example spent her year working in the science lab division, picking up more skills that play up her attention to detail and detective work. Natsumi we’re not too sure about, but we know they had one hell of a going away party.
With their return to Bokuto, they find themselves enjoying taking to the streets again, but they also learn that some odd things have been going on throughout Tokyo lately. Scattered occurrences of streetlights going out, phone lines going dead and other bugs have lightly persisted but not caused much trouble. They learn that it’s something more serious though after Yoriko and Ai come across an abandoned car that has a stash of weapons on it that leads the higher-ups to send Arizuka and Kinoshita to arrest the Chief.
A former desk jockey detective becomes the focus in name as we learn that a few years ago he designed a project plan to deal with terrorists invading the city to wreck havoc on the financial institutions of the world. To write the response plan, the detective had to first write up the scenario for the terrorists to play out so that the police could respond. Before he could write that part however, he disappeared and provided a link to the Chief, which is now being played up to find out exactly what’s going on.
While this is all mostly supposition and inquiry, things get very active when a group of terrorists does start to attack parts of the city and their plan proves to be highly effective, threatening the destruction of multiple bridges, taking down various grids and so forth. With this going on, the officers of Bokuto spring into action and the plot rolls forwarding a very strong active way, very unlike the bulk of the TV shows. This provides a beautiful contrast to them with its mostly serious mood, dark imagery and great pulse pounding sequences as it gets closer to the end. This is the kind of police movie that plays up a fairly standard idea, but does it in such an engaging way that I never looked at the clock, rather being fully engrossed in the film and the characters.
In the end, the only thing this release is really missing over its original is the fold out insert that was included but that's not much of a loss. I think we're getting a slicker cover, a far better audio presentation and a far better video presentation. While the film does have plenty of slow moments, when it all kicks in at high speed and gets underway the payoff is there both in terms of the presentation and the story itself. It's not what we got with the TV series but that's sort of the standard when it comes to doing movies like this. While I had reservations about recommending the original release I can definitely recommend this one with ease.
Japanese 5.1 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.
Mania Grade: A-
Audio Rating: A-
Video Rating: A
Packaging Rating: A
Menus Rating: B+
Extras Rating: N/A
Age Rating: TV 14
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: ADV Films
Running time: 90
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: You're Under Arrest