'Prisoners of the Ghostland' - Movie Review

Sion Sono is a Japanese director who's developed a reputation for making really weird but interesting and emotionally cohesive movies. I've seen none of those movies, instead opting for this - his most recent as I write in early 2022. Trying to explain the setting was melting my brain, so I'll let Wikipedia try it: "In a region in Japan devastated and quarantined years ago in an accident in which highly volatile nuclear waste was spilled after a crash between the waste transport and a prison bus, a settlement called Samurai Town is ruled by an unscrupulous Governor who has blended elements of Japanese society (both modern-day and pre-modern) and the old American West together at his whim, and is keeping a harem of adopted 'granddaughters' as his sex slaves." I take issue with that last: I don't think it's ever stated that the Governor does that. It's implied, and he's unquestionably a sleazeball who should die, but I still find it a bit hard to mesh that statement with what happened in the movie. In any case, three of his "granddaughters" escape. The Governor puts the criminal "Hero" (Nic Cage, putting in a Nic Cage performance ... the dial may go to eleven, but he's only around five or six here: see "Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance" for the top end of the dial) in a suit with small explosives at the neck, elbows, and testicles, and promises to unlock him from the suit when he gets back with Bernice (Sofia Boutella) - his favourite.

The movie only gets crazier from there - and not in a good way. The script is poorly written, the ideas are often incoherent, and the logic is ... well, there is none. On the plus side, the images are frequently quite vivid. But mostly this should just be avoided.