by Chris MaGee
For the longest time one of my favorite Japanese films was only available in North America on crappy Chinatown bootlegs. That film is Sion Sono's 2005 film "Hazard". Frankly, I didn't understand why the film was so obscure. It has Jo Odagiri in the main role of a young man who comes to New York looking for excitement and as he describes it "hazard", it's got guns, crime, dirty cops, and free wheelin' thugs, and of course it's directed by Sion Sono, the man who brought us "Suicide Club", "Strange Circus", "Exte", and who recently picked up the Grand Prix at the New York Asian Film Festival for his 4-hour epic "Love Exposure". Maybe "Hazard" has remained one of Sono's more obscure films because it doesn't fit into his more popular ero-guro output, but now Sion Sono fans, Japanese film fans and fans of good movies can rejoice because "Hazard" is finally being released on a Region 1, English-subbed DVD on July 14th care of Canada's own Evokative Films.
And don't expect one of those budget DVD releases that just have the film and maybe a trailer in the package. Evokative has pulled together a bunch of great extras for this release including an exclusive video interview with Sion Sono, a making-of featurette, and a booklet with more interview content with Sono and a forward by a guy named Chris MaGee... Oh wait! That's me! For now you can read my review of "Hazard" here and once next Tuesday roles around run, don't walk to your local music or video store and pick it up!