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The Asian ApertureThe Bad News Bears Go to Japan (1978)
POSTED BY JASON FETTERS, December 29, 2013    Share

Ok I will admit that I am a sucker for movies that involve foreigners, (particularly Americans,) visiting Japan. There have been good ones like Mr. Baseball and lots of bad ones. So it was with mixed feelings that I sat down to watch The Bad News Bears Go to Japan.

To be fair the first Bad News Bears movie was enjoyed by children growing up in the 70ís. The Sports movie genre finally hit a home run with Rocky in 1976. How well will The Bad News Bears Go to Japan measure up?

A hustler named Marvin Lazar sponsors the Bears trip to Japan in order to pay off his debts. As soon as the Bears arrive in Japan via Japan Airlines, culture differences evoke and a pointless fight breaks out between one member of the Japanese baseball team and the chubby catcher. The whole scene is so poorly executed and should have been handled better.

Much of the humor of this movie focuses on cultural differences like the brief unconvincing love affair between the Bearsí homerun hitter, Kelly Leak and Arika.

There are also the usual jokes as when Marvin keeps banging his head inside the small Ryokan the entire team is staying at.

Marvin is not doing any better in Japan as the Front Desk Clerk cuts his credit cards in half. So he tries to smooth talk a Network Director that is all set to broadcast a fight between American Karate Expert, Usher, and Antonio Inoki. Before the match Inoki and Usher takes turns showing how each can break through several boards using punches and hand strikes. When Inoki breaks through concrete by hitting it with his head, Usher attempts to up the ante by smashing through three concrete bricks and knocking himself out in the process.

Now the Network Director is in a panic. Who will go up against Inoki? In order to gain money, Marvin dons a mask and wrestlerís outfit and falls into the ring. Inoki trashes him savagely until the Bears jump into the ring to help out. This is just how pointless the entire movie is.

Finally the Bears play against the Japanese team and before the game can even get interesting a fight breaks out that result in the termination of the Japanese coach. The Network Director is upset because lots of money is being lost and everyone goes home.
The movie ends when both teams playing baseball in a dirt field. They overcome their differences and just play to have fun.

Lots of things are wrong in this movie. First, there are tons of racial slurs aimed at the Japanese players. Iím not sure what the directorís intentions were in allowing this assuming John Berry had any intention at all.

Tony Curtis had some moments but overall gives a lukewarm performance as Marvin Lazar. Curtis is a good actor but with a poor script and uninspired directing from Berry, he just canít pull it off.

The love affair between Kelly Leak and Arika shows Leak as a pathetic stalker chasing after a Japanese girl who just wants to be left alone.

Overall, there was so much potential that wasnít used and the use of humor to show cultural difference should have been better applied. I didnít laugh one time throughout the whole movie.

This is what not to do in a Sports movie and any movie about traveling to Japan.

Not recommended

1 out of 5 Stars

"The Asian Aperture" is ©2013 by Jason Fetters. All contents of Crazed Fanboy are ©2013 by Nolan B. Canova and Terence Nuzum.

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