Los Angeles Times - 10/17/2003
"...Director Takashi Yamazaki's pastiche comes across as one of the nuttier expressions of film-geek love in recent memory..."
Set in October of 2002, THE RETURNER chronicles the last days before an apocalyptic interstellar war, and the two unlikely heroes who try to prevent the inevitable from happening. Sent back in time, Milly (Anne Suzuki) has the dubious honor of tracking down a fallen spaceship and assassinating the alien inside. As luck would have it, she lands in the middle of a gunfight between her soon-to-be accomplice Miyamoto (Takeshi Kaneshiro), a vengeful rock-n-roll vigilante, and Mizoguchi (Goro Kishitani), the unconscionable villain played with animated savvy. As Milly and Miyamoto befriend one another, stories from Miyamoto's troubled past emerge as well as from Milly's future--so it seems Milly is not only there to save the world from war, she's also come to rescue Miyamoto from his childhood pain. The sci-fi effects are dazzling, and the camera often spins around the action, heightening the sense of anxiety in the film. The plot keeps Mizoguchi in the mix when he greedily pilfers the alien from a military science lab, setting up the ultimate conflict on his oil-rig headquarters. So ironically, Milly realizes her mission is no longer to save the world from the warmongering aliens, but from humans driven by avarice.