"Returner" is a Sci-Fi action film – a popcorn film for boys of all ages.
That being said, a lot of girls probably would not mind watching it, just to check out Takeshi Kaneshiro.

Miyamoto (Takeshi Kaneshiro) is out for revenge. As a child he saw his best friend killed by Mizoguchi (Goro Kishitani), and he has been trying to get revenge ever since. One night when Miyamoto is out taking money from the bad guys and return them to his clients, he recognizes Mizoguchi as the boss of the bad guys. In the ensuing firefight Mizoguchi gets away, but a bullet hits Milly (Anne Suzuki), who suddenly appeared out of nowhere.

Well, not out of nowhere exactly – but from the future!

Aliens have invaded the Earth, and they are ruthlessly killing everyone, who attempts to oppose them. As the last pocket of resistance in faraway Tibet is losing to the aliens, they use a new invention to send Milly back in time to the place, where the first alien appeared. Her orders: Kill the alien before he can tell the rest of the aliens about earth.

It takes some fancy tricks on Milly’s part to convince Miyamoto, that she really is from the future, and more tricks to get him to help her, but eventually she succeeds – and we are off to the races.

They have two days to save the world!

"Returner" is filled with references to nearly every science fiction film made (well, a lot of them at least), and it has some cool effects. In one scene Miyamoto borrows a gadget from Milly that slows down time for the wearer. He enters a room full of bad guys, dodging bullets that he sees coming at him in slow motion, killing all the bad guys and reload his gun in a spectacular fashion – a cool scene.

Takeshi Kaneshiro and Anne Suzuki are well chosen, but even so Goro Kishitani steals nearly every scene, in which he appears.

Since "Returner" Takeshi Kaneshiro has gone on to more fame in "House of Flying Daggers" and Anne Suzuki likewise in "Hana and Alice" and many more – and she just turned 18 this April! Director Takashi Yamazaki has not directed any films since "Returner", but he did play a minor part as an actor in "The Twilight Samurai".

So if you want a couple of hours of fun, "Returner" is a good choice. Don't start thinking to much, just roll with punches, eat some popcorn and have a beer or two.
Uffe Stegmann
August 27, 2005
P.S. There are a lot of good Asian films out there that we have not reviewed yet. Please remember that our site is only a hobby site – we do have a day job to put bread on the table. I saw “Returner” a couple of years ago, but had not gotten around to reviewing it, until I got a heads up from one of our visitors. Thanks Russell!

Original Title
Takashi Yamazaki
- Juvenile (2000)
Takeshi Kaneshiro
- House of Flying Daggers (2004)
- Turn Left, Turn Right (2003)
- Returner (2002)
- Space Travelers (2000)
- Sleepless Town (1998)
- Too Tired to Die (1998)
- First Love: The Litter on the Breeze (1997)
- Fallen Angels (1995)
- Chungking Express (1994)
- Heroic Trio 2: Executioners (1993)
Anne Suzuki
- Initial D (2005)
- Steamboy (voice) (2004)
- Hana and Alice (2004)
- 9 Souls (2003)
- Moon Child (2003)
- Returner (2002)
- Juvenile (2000)
- Snow Falling on Cedars (1999)
Goro Kishitani
- One Missed Call (2003)
- Returner (2002)
- Inochi (2002)
- Graveyard of Honor (2002)
DVD Availability
Available on DVD from YesAsia: