Review: Films Set In Japan – ‘The Bad News Bears Go To Japan’ (1978)

We all know that when the writers of a TV show or film franchise (and I use that term in the loosest sense regarding this movie!) run out of ideas they take the project overseas. Now, I’m not too sure how relevant that idea is to ’Bad News Bears…‘ as I haven’t seen the two prequels to this film but it would seem that there were never any ideas in the first place!

Having spectacularly failed to see a baseball game last month whilst in New York I thought I’d slip this DVD into the player to see if I could enjoy another baseball film as much as I liked ‘Mr Baseball‘ starring Tom Selleck. Yes, I do own this ‘Bad News Bears…‘ DVD as indeed do I for almost all of the films set in Japan reviewed on this site. Sad indeed given the average Tokyo Fox Rating of them!

“Caught in a clash of cultures and ready to wreak more havoc on Japan than Godzilla” is the blurb on the back of the DVD which is an overly-used tagline but given that this film is from 1978 it seems like they were years ahead of their time!

In terms of kids films it makes the ‘3 Ninja’s Kick Back‘ movie seem like an Academy Award winner! There’s no doubt that this film is terrible but every film has some good in it and this one is no exception. Its only 92 minutes in length which we should be thankful about! It features some very nice Japanese scenery at times where filmed at various temples and shrines as we see the older kid Kelly dating a child Japanese geisha girl. She doesn’t speak any English yet she seems to understand everything he says. Such a love story is laughable yet is the kind of the story I have heard about happening here! My favourite scene is the fictional advert for a baseball bat which sees one of the young boys use the equipment to take out Godzilla on a miniature Japanese-scenery set.

 

The storyline? It’s bear-ly worth the effort but basically it centres around some vague plot to do with Martin Lazar (Tony Curtis) thinking he can earn big bucks by sending the Bears to Japan for a highly publicized exhibition game against some little league baseball team who were upset that no U.S. team had visited recently. That’s about it really. There’s some very dull baseball scenes at the end of the film as well as some practice in the first part but overall its fairly lacking in baseball action and is instead padded out with some completely irrelevant scenes of karate, sumo and variety show action.

 

Tokyo Fox Rating 3/10

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