Hong Kong Cinema


  • Made: 1999
  • Format: DVD
  • Region: PAL Reg 0
  • Release Date: September 19th 2005
  • Company: Film 2000 Japan
  • Length: 78 mins
  • Picture: 16:9 - Full Screen
  • Sound: DD2.0
  • Language: Japanese with English subtitles
  • Extras: Trailers
  • Classification: 18


Takashi Miike


Atsuko Sakuraba, Kenji Haga, Shinobu Kandori, Rumi Kazama, Hisao Maki, Fujio Matsushima


Silver is one of a number of straight-to-video films directed by Takashi Miike and based on the Manga and screenplays of Hisao Maki, including the Family and Bodyguard Kiba films, and the upcoming Waru.


Shinobu Kandori is Jun Shirogane, the daughter of a family of secret service agents who returns from a karate tournament in America to find them all murdered. Her ex-lover and secret service partner asks her to use her FBI training to join him, trying to track down the criminals called Viper's Nest behind the deaths of her relatives. It goes without saying that the perfect undercover role in which to tour Japan searching for the crims is as a professional woman wrestler, with her partner acting as the manager. Jun's wrestling alter ego is Silver, and it just so happens that she goes off on her crime fighting in her gaudy get-up too.

The criminal mastermind they are up against is Nancy, a dominatrix and part of the Otsunami yakuza family who has the powerful bank president Sasazaki at her command. Jun is captured and tortured when trying to arrest Nancy, but manages to escape, killing Sasazaki with her lethal coin-tossing skills and then killing Nancy with the power of wrestling. Jun then finds herself the target of 004, a hitman from Viper's Nest who specialises in darts.


A no-budget exercise knocked out in between Ley Lines and Dead Or Alive in 1999, Silver is likely to remain at the bottom of the pile of Miike's output, regardless of how many more films he cranks out in the future. Silver was shot cheaply on video and it really looks it with a flat, texture-less quality to the visuals. The acting is middling to poor, with the lead Shinobu Kandori in particular having little to offer besides her impressive chest. Silver is that cheap and nasty mix of sex and violence that fails to offer up any flair with either ingredient.

Odd flashes of the signature Miike skewed vision crop up in the S&M scenes associated with Nancy, bad special effects of a gangster's face getting literally punched in and the bizarre prologue which sees Jun's family killed by arson thanks to yakuza, but also by a psychotic figure similar to Leatherface who is controlled by flowers; yet these barely help spark any interest in the plodding and colourless plot.

Worst of all is that after a leaden softcore romp between Jun and partner on her birthday, and the subsequent showdown between Jun and the honourable dart playing assassin, the film abruptly ends mid story with Jun and partner taking cover from a sniper who has gunned down the assassin 004. The way in which it ends clearly shows that Silver was meant to be the first in a series of straight-to-DVD films or a pilot for a TV show, but released like this it turns a strikingly bad film into an appalling waste of time. It's unclear whether further parts were ever made, but this release literally has no ending and as such can only be seen as unfinished.


Whilst the picture is relatively clear, the original video source looks so bland that it hardly matters. Sound, too, is serviceable but ultimately scuppered by the curse of being the soundtrack to cinematic slurry. There are extras available, but they all comprise of trailers for other features released by Film 2000, and said films share the common bond of being produced with no budget and seemingly no talent.


The sheer law of averages would dictate that a number of Takashi Miike's many, many films will stink, but as with the reputation he has deservedly gained in the world of extreme cinema, Silver stinks to the extreme . There are bound to be fans out there like myself who yearn to watch as many Miike productions as they can in a sort of completist fervour, but it is my duty to act as a lighthouse and warn others away from the deadly rock of Silver, lest they have their eyes dashed out.

No, really, it's terrible.