Virus (1980 film)

Virus (1980 film)

Infobox Film
name = Virus

caption = Japanese-language poster
director = Kinji Fukasaku
writer = Kinji Fukasaku
Kōji Takada
Gregory Knapp
Sakyo Komatsu (novel)
starring = Masao Kusakari
Glenn Ford
Sonny Chiba
Chuck Connors
producer = Haruki Kadokawa
editing = Akira Suzuki
music = Kentaro Haneda
Janis Ian
Teo Macero
cinematography = Daisaku Kimura
distributor = Toho
released = flagicon|Japan Jun 26, 1980
budget = ¥3,351,000,000 (approx at 1980s rates)
runtime = 156 min.
country = Japan
language = English / Japanese
imdb_id = 0080768|

nihongo|"Virus"|復活の日|"Fukkatsu no hi" is a 1980 post-apocalyptic sci-fi movie directed by Kinji Fukasaku and starring Masao Kusakari, George Kennedy, Robert Vaughn, Chuck Connors, Olivia Hussey, Edward James Olmos, Ken Ogata, Sonny Chiba and Glenn Ford. The film is notable for being the most expensive Japanese film ever made at the time.


The movie opens with a British nuclear submarine called the HMS "Nereid" entering Tokyo Bay in the then-future of December 1983. The ship's crew and Japanese seismologist Yoshizumi (Masao Kusakari) send a reconnaissance drone to search the city for any survivors, only to find decayed bodies. It also gathers air samples of something called MM88.

After the movie credits, the film goes back to the then-future of February 1982, where a shady transfer is happening between an East German scientist, Dr. Krause, and a group of Americans. It is revealed that MM88 is a deadly virus created accidentally by an American geneticist that amplifies the potency of any other virus or bacteria it comes in contact with. The scientist wants a sample taken to a colleague in Switzerland, Dr. Leisenauer, so a vaccine can be developed. However, the Americans, who are actually secret agents, are only interested in recovering the MM88, which was stolen from a lab in the US the year before. Escaping an attack by East German soldiers (where Krause is killed), the spies crash their plane and the virus is released, creating a world-wide epidemic initially known as the "Italian Flu."

The governments of the world watch helplessly as their citizens fall ill and die by the millions. Too late does American President Richardson (Glenn Ford) learn from Senator Barkley (Robert Vaughn) and Dr. Meyer (Stuart Gillard) that the Italian Flu is in fact MM88.

Within seven months, the world's entire population has died off except for 863 scientists and support personnel wintering in Antarctica. The virus becomes active at -10 degrees Celsius, and the polar winter has spared the 855 men and eight women stationed on the southern continent. The "Nereid", which was on patrol at the time the epidemic began, joins the scientists after sinking a Soviet submarine whose infected crew attempt to make landfall near Palmer Station.

The survivors, led by, among others, Admiral Conway (George Kennedy), Dr. Borodinov (Chris Wiggins), Dr. Nakanishi (Isao Natsuyagi), Captain Lopez (Edward James Olmos), and Dr. Latour (Cec Linder), set up a government to deal with the realities of their situation, including the obvious problem of several hundred men living with only eight women. The film comes full circle when the Nereid heads for Tokyo Bay, on its first mission under the "Federal Council of Antarctica."

However, just as the group begins to repopulate their new home, it is revealed that an earthquake will set off the United States nuclear arsenal, since Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman General Garland (Henry Silva) activated the Automated Reaction System (ARS) before his death, believing that the Soviet Union would use the confusion caused by the pandemic to launch an attack on North America.

The Soviets have their own version of the ARS and will fire off their weapons when the American missiles hit their targets. Unfortunately for the survivors, one of the nukes is aimed at Palmer Station. Yoshizumi and Major Carter (Bo Svenson) embark aboard the "Nereid" on a mission to shut down the ARS before the earthquake strikes, protected from MM88 by an experimental vaccine developed by Dr. Latour.

The submarine arrives at Washington, D.C. and Yoshizumi and Carter make a rush for the ARS command bunker underneath the White House. They reach the room too late and all but a few men and the women (who left aboard an icebreaker at the same time as the "Nereid") perish in the nuclear firestorm. Over the course of years Yoshizumi walks back towards Antarctica. Upon reaching Tierra del Fuego, he encounters the remaining survivors from the icebreaker, including Marit (Olivia Hussey), a Norwegian widow he fell in love with after his pregnant girlfriend in Tokyo died from the epidemic.


Haruki Kadokawa the producer of the film was the heir to Kadokawa Shoten, major publishing empire in Japan. After his father died in 1975 he decided to create a cinema branch of the company and began producing many films in the late 1970s including "Inugamike no ichizoku" (1976) and "Ningen no shômei" (1977) a murder mystery with a worldwide release. In 1978 production on "Fukkatsu no Hi" started. Kadokawa wanted the film to be a big breakthrough in the international market so he tried to insure its success by casting some notable foreign stars and doing major international promotion (under the international title "Virus"). He also funded the largest budget of any Japanese film ever made at the time to solidify the movie as worthy of an international release. [cite web|title=Virus|publisher=Midnight Eye|author=Jasper Sharp|date=4.09.2001|url=] The Chilean Navy allowed the film crew to use their submarine CNS "Simpson" to film scenes aboard the two fictional submarines in the film. Judging by the acknowledgements in the English version, the Canadian submarine HMCS "Okanagan" was used as well; one of the officers serving in "Okanagan", a Lieutenant-Commander David Griffiths, was given a speaking role as "Nereid's" First Officer. Other locations where filming took place included Antarctica, Alaska, Halifax, Tokyo, Toronto, and Machu Picchu.

A small amount of international publicity was given when a Swedish ship, the "Lindblad Explorer", transporting a production unit to Antarctica for location shooting, struck a submerged reef and almost sank. The passengers were rescued by Chilean naval vessels.


The film became a major failure despite its enormous budget. Although it may have had some special showings in the United States and elsewhere, it did not receive a general release. It was sold directly to pay-tv and edited down to a 108 minute version. This version of the film was cut by more than 40 minutes leaving out much of the love story between Yoshizumi and Marit, nearly all the Japanese scenes, plus all of Yoshizumi's entire trek back towards Antarctica. It also starts off with the meeting between the East German doctor and the agents, putting the Nereid's arrival in Tokyo Bay later in the film. [cite web|title=Virus (aka Day of Resurrection, Fukkatsu no hi, 1980)
publisher=Gotterdammerung|author=Branislav L. Slantchev|date=2004|url=


In 2002, Kadokawa Shoten released the movie in a special limited-edition Region 2 DVD set, which contained the original 156-minute cut and the shorter 108-minute version, plus extra materials. [] While the DVD in question does not have English subtitles, an English-subtitled version of the full cut was later released in 2006 as part of a compilation set called the "Sonny Chiba Action Pack". [] Previous copies of the film released in North America often featured the 108-minute cut, partly because of the multinational cast that had several American actors.


External links

* " [ Virus] " at the Japanese Movie Database
* Virus Review at Toho Kingdom []
*Available for download at [ low resolution, short edit] , [ double layer DVD quality, full length edit]

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