Mike Yokohama – A Forest with No Name
Time Out saysA misbegotten start for the project to revive Nagase's 'Mike Hama' character (introduced in a '90s trilogy by Kaizo Hayashi, here credited only with the story idea) in six made-for-video features, each by a different director. Mike is hired by an anxious father (Harada) to retrieve his daughter from a cult run by a woman doctor (Suzuki); Mike infiltrates by posing as a new recruit and discovers that adherents are turned into murderous and/or suicidal time-bombs by a secret buried deep in the forest adjacent to the cult's rural HQ. Aoyama directs this feeble variation on Invasion of the Body Snatchers with his usual half-assed pretensions, delivering neither a viable thriller nor a credible allegory of Japan's youth-identity problems. The only surprise is that the film's translators have renamed the hero 'Mike Yokohama' - presumably fearing legal action from the Mickey Spillane estate.