K2 - That Time Hiroshi Fujioka Was In a Mountain Climbing Movie

Since we're still stuck at home...how 'bout we watch a movie? I have a collection of bad movies that I like to paw through, and I came across this one and felt the desire to watch it again.

Today I'm going to talk about a movie that I bought a long, long time ago for one very good reason...

Yes! Instead of partaking in the 20th anniversary of Kamen Rider, Hiroshi Fujioka was globetrotting as mountain climber Takane Shimuzu (which I feel should be Shimizu, but whatever...it's their movie) in the 100% forgotten 1991 film K2. That's it. K2. Named after, well, the K2.

Before I get into this post I should probably air a few disclaimers. The first disclaimer is that I am going to go hard on the spoilers, of course. Considering this is a fairly dramatic movie, you may want to just rent it if you have any inclination (heh) to watch a survival movie about mountain climbing. Also, Hiroshi Fujioka is featured quite a bit, but he is far from being top-billed. So...you'd better be a fan of Kyle Reese from Terminator since he's our lead.


Taylor and his best friend Harold are two climbing hobbyists who stumble upon a team of climbers who are training for a secretive big climb lead by billionaire Phillip Claiborne. Among the team are a set of twin brothers, Jackie, Dallas, and Takane. The following morning they are awoken by an avalanche that took the lives of the twin brother while Taylor and Harold are able to save the others. Seizing the opportunity, Taylor and Harold are able to join Claiborne's expedition, which happens to be to the perilous K2 in Pakistan.

Cliche "Convince the Wife" Scene

Once the climb is underway, problems begin to mount. The hired porters begin to strike, and a freak mishap causes Harold to use to quick-thinking to save head porter Malik's life. Most of the porters abandon the climb and Claiborne begins to suffer from pulmonary edema. Jackie and Malik stay with Phillip with just Taylor, Harold, Dallas, and Takane left to attempt the climb. As Dallas is leading the climb, he nominates himself and Takane to complete the climb with Harold and Taylor remaining at the final camp. During an overnight storm, Taylor and Harold are awoken by a very badly injured Takane who informs them that their tent had been wiped out before succumbing to his injuries. Taylor and Harold inform Jackie at the other camp and say that they'll look for Dallas in the morning.

Claiborne's worsening condition means that he has chartered a helicopter to pick him up within forty eight hours giving Taylor and Harold very little time to attempt the rest of the climb themselves. They manage to reach the summit and take celebratory photos while leaving an American flag and Japanese flag to honor the fallen Takane.

During the descent Harold slips and suffers a horrific injury while simultaneously losing the only rope the duo has. After a long argument, Harold convinces Taylor to continue on the descent without him. After suffering a fall himself Taylor finds the frozen corpse of Dallas and is able to take his rope and adrenaline shots. He returns to a nearly dead Harold and manages to bring him back with a shot. The two then continue their descent as Claiborne, Jackie, and Malik are all collected by their helicopter. Malik tells the pilot that they must at least try to look for the now-stranded duo since Harold had saved his life earlier. Miraculously Harold and Taylor are found and the film closes with Taylor holding up a pick axe to signal their location.


It's always refreshing to watch a movie where there's no real or metaphorical villain. This is just a drama based on a play of the same name. I don't even have a particular interest in mountain climbing, but I've enjoyed this movie the handful of times I've seen it. It's plot is razor thin, yet it really doesn't feel like anything is missing. It's just an hour and forty five minutes of enjoyable cinema that really isn't dated in any particular way.

On your feet, soldier.

Where this movie really, really, truly falls flat is in the cinematography and quality of releases. The thing that stops me for recommending this movie is the complete lack of wide shots and scenery. You'd think that a movie set in this type of environment would emphasize the landscape a bit more to accomplish what the play this was based on couldn't...yet it doesn't. Everything is done in a tight shot. To make matters worse, I upgraded my VHS copy to DVD for this review and was greeted by the exact same transfer. This is the official Lion's Gate release...and it's a Full Frame VHS transfer. I did some research to see if there is a better version and...nope. The DVD for sale on Amazon at the moment seems to be some weird version with hardcoded Korean subtitles based on some of the complaints.

The bottom line is that...yeah, maybe rent it on Amazon. It's an alright movie if you just like a decent drama. Maybe it goes a little too cartoony by Taylor's superhuman strength toward the end, but then you remember that he spent an entire movie being chased by robot Arnold Schwarzenegger and I guess it makes a little more sense.


...but that's not why you're reading this review, are you? You want to know about Hiroshi Fujioka's part in this. Alright, I'll give you the goods.

I kinda laughed when Fujioka's character was first introduced in the movie. When Taylor and Harold first happen upon the team doing their training Dallas, whom Taylor is already acquainted, is giving some minor accomplishments/tidbits on each character. When he gets to Fujioka it basically goes like this...

Dallas: ...and he's Takane Shimuzu.
Takane: Hi.

Even in leaner times, Fujioka has always been a mountain of a man. Does he need to have any provenance? If you want to defeat a mountain...be a mountain.

From his introduction he is largely seen chilling in the background. Most characters that aren't Taylor or Harold are basically there for background considering this is based on a play. Fujioka does dramatic poses like nobody else in this film check this out...

Dramatic Funeral Pose
Intimidating the Porters Pose
Break time Pose
Concerned for the Boss Pose
Ummm...maybe this one isn't so badass...

You get my point. This movie is basically Michael Biehn on his own, but it's nice to have another familiar face (to us Tokusatsu dorks) along for the ride.

As for the reason why the character of Takane is part of this story...I have no idea. This play/movie is loosely based on the real-life climb of Jim Wickwire and Louis Reichardt, but there is no mention of any other climbers that may have been part of their team prior to their reaching the summit. Maybe the director just really, really liked Kamen Rider?

I get why Hiroshi Fujioka was cast. This was a physically demanding role. I just don't understand why Takane was there. Haha.

Regardless, it was very sad to see his character die off even if he did it in somewhat of a heroic way. He was able to reach Taylor and Harold's tent to try to save himself and inform them of the situation rather than dying like Dallas did in his weird zen pose. If it hadn't been for Takane, they'd have been none the wiser and woke up the next morning without knowing anything had been wrong...and leading them to never make their attempt to the summit.

Should you watch this movie just to check out Fujioka? I'll say...yeah, why not? If you're disappointed, I don't want to hear it. But yeah, it was fun to have him along for his handful of random moments. Like him gleefully sharpening an axe while Dallas slept...


...but wait! There's more. This isn't the first time Hiroshi Fujioka hit the international film scene. He is the first Japanese actor to belong to the Screen Actor's Guild after all.

Join me next time for a more substantial entry into Fujioka's international acting career. One where he does way more than hang out in the background and isn't expected to deliver one or two-word answers in English at random.

Stay tuned...



The CD Collection--Ultraman 80 / Andromelos Music Collection [2020]
Running To Horizon--30 Years of Digitalian Is Eating Breakfast
The Toys That Made Us: Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers
CCLemon99 Magazine Issue Eight


The CD Collection--Ultraman 80 / Andromelos Music Collection [2020]

Hi there. This is something I've been looking forward to since it was first announced earlier in the Summer...

Welcome to my review on this glorious 5-Disc beast of a CD set containing the songs and music from Ultraman 80 and Andromelos!

The reasons I was looking forward to this set will become very clear soon into the review, but you don't understand...this is the set I've been waiting for since Columbia started doing these anniversary box sets. Sure the Ultraman Great/Ultraman USA box was fun, but 80 is the last great Showa outing for Ultraman.

So here it is...all five discs are getting reviewed and I'm thrilled to finally be doing this. Let's get into it!


Ultraman 80 / Andromelos Music Collection

Ultraman 80 teema ongakushuu tokubetsu-ban
Ultraman 80 Theme Song Collection Special Edition 

01. Ultraman 80 / TALIZMAN

Possibly my all-time favorite Tokusatsu theme song. I'll go on record as saying that 1980 had phenomenal theme songs. Skyrider and Kamen Rider Super 1? Great! Denjiman? Even better! Ultraman 80 takes the cake as the best, handily. It completely ditches the Showa series did with their themes and brings a fresh outlook to the return of live-action Ultraman.

This song not only has infinite catchiness, but it has the sort of majestic feel that I think Ultraman Great's Bokura no Great tried and failed miserably at. God that song is so lame......

The band in charge is TALIZMAN, whose singer Harry Kimura later lent a pair of songs to the Uchuu Keiji Gavan song collection. His strained vocals somehow nail all of the notes perfectly and really bring a great backing track to life. Sure the background vocals help, but until you hear the Karaoke version of this song you don't realize how great the combination of all of the vocals are. The recipe for this song couldn't be better.

The version presented here is the full vocal track WITH the Main Title. You know...that little theme song before the theme song that sounds like the theme song? Yeah...that. It's also fantastic.

02~06, 08~11 Theme Ongakushuu BGM

This is basically the first music collection from the series. Later on we'll get to all of the outtakes and oddities...this is the polished stuff.

I kinda criticize Showa Tokusatsu BGM for sounding too similar. If you're into the Kamen Rider, Super Sentai, and Metal Hero, you'll know what I mean. Until like 1987 your choices of composers were basically Michiaki Watanabe or Shunsuke Kikuchi. Sure, Sentai broke free a little sooner, but those two were pretty much it--and their BGM was...tired by the end.

I really think that Toru Fuyuki's Ultraman 80 compositions are well-done and quite progressive for 1980. Kikuchi was too gung-ho on the science fiction sound in a "let's explore the stars" kinda way while Watanabe was turning in the same tracks annually. This...is proper. You have haunting tracks with female vocals, very mild (and effective) usage of synthesizers, and those killer theme songs to pepper in every once in awhile.

07. Kokoro o moyasu aitsu -Yamato Takeshi no uta- / Koji Numata

The lone insert song from the series.

I gotta say...I've always loved this sleepy disco ballad. It's incredibly catchy and just...nice. I get a warm feeling listening to it. It's great to finally have a Karaoke version of this later on the disc.

12. Let's Go UGM / TALIZMAN

Let's Go UGM...U.G.M.!

The not-as-good-as-the-opening-theme-song-but-still-awesome first ending song to the series. It's definitely done in the same style as the OP, but it has it's own unique charm. It is more catchy than the OP? Perhaps... I don't think so, but if someone told me they think "Let's Go UGM!" is catchier than "HE CAME TO US FROM A STAAAAR!" I would buy it.

Kidding. I wouldn't. This is still a great song, though. It's a very peppy track!

13. Ganbare Ultraman 80 / TALIZMAN, Columbia Yurikago-kai

This is the second opening theme song to the series. How do you top that awesome first opening thing? You can't...but TALIZMAN certainly tried! Really, this is the best they could have done. It's a great theme song that would probably be amazing if it didn't have big boots to fill.

This is pretty much the same situation that happened with the Skyrider opening theme song. Awesome 1st OP and great, but not as great follow-up.

I guess we can start with the build-up. The whole time this thing is getting warmed up I'm like "Ohhhhh shhiiiiiiiiii". The song is incredibly smooth with the appropriate usage of the brat squad on backing vocals. That great little guitar part is the last piece in place to make this a great little opening theme song.

Again...great theme song, but it was an automatic "L".

14. Chikyuujin da yo / TALIZMAN, Columbia Yurikago-kai

I.....prefer this over Let's Go UGM.

Hear me out. The structure of this song is just so damn perfect. Again, wonderful use of the kid's choir for the backing vocals. The thing that gets me is that while every Ultraman 80 theme song is infinitely catchy, the other three are through lyrics. The music here is the catchy thing. You'll be whistling this one for sure.

You know what it reminds me of? An upbeat, poppier version of Billy Joel's Movin' Out (Anthony's Song) at times. They both have that similar brass and guitar work. The same? No. But...I just get that feeling.

I've been told I'm not normal for loving this ending theme song as much as I do, but I really feel like the perfect combination is the first opening theme song and this, the second ending song.

15~16 Namiashi Koshinkyoku 

These are the "Regular Foot March" versions of the first two theme songs. Translated further, this means they're the Disco Instrumental Versions of the theme songs.

Hell yeah. This is what I live for.

17. Ultraman 80 [Original Karaoke]

18. Let's Go UGM [Original Karaoke]

19. Kokoro o moyasu aitsu -Yamato Takeshi no uta- [Original Karaoke]

20. Ganbare Ultraman 80 [Original Karaoke]

21. Chikyuujin da yo [Original Karaoke]

22. Ultraman 80 [TV Size Karaoke]

23. Let's Go UGM [TV Size Karaoke]


Original BGM Archives 1

01. Opening [Main Title 1]

This is the alternate/extended version of the Main Title tune. At fourteen seconds, it's just a smidge longer than the version tacked onto the Full Size OP on the first disc.

02. Ultraman 80 [TV Size] / TALIZMAN

Funny thing about TV Size opening theme songs... Until 1984/1985 the TV Size theme songs to series were generally recorded separately rather than edited versions of the Full Size opening theme songs. In some case you get fun little additions like in the Seiun Kamen Machineman OP.

The differences here are subtle. The thing that will stand out the most is the more pronounced "Ahhhhhh!" toward the end.

03~60 Original BGM dai 1-kai rokuon

More of Toru Fuyuki's great music collection for the earlier episodes of Ultraman 80.

61. Let's Go UGM [TV Size] / TALIZMAN

The TV Size version of the first ending song. Like I said for the OP, this is a specially recorded short version that is slightly different from the Full Sized version.

At fifty-three seconds, there isn't enough time to get into the song sadly.

62~68 Bonus Track/THE⭐ULTRAMAN MONO BGM hoi-hen

Some leftover pieces from 1979's animated THEULTRAMAN series. Now I feel inclined to swing back and pick up that 5-CD set...

The first six tracks are short leftovers with the final track being an instrumental version of the song Kaijuu Requiem.


Original BGM Archives 2

01. Jiho~M-70 Shin Opening~Ultraman 80 (1 Chorus) / TALIZMAN

This is a 1-Chorus version of Ultraman 80. It features the Main Title as well as some weird recording markers prior to that.

The version of Ultraman 80 used is an edited down version of the Full Size OP.

02,04~07,09~20 Dai 2-kai rokuon BGM

The remaining bits of music from the earlier episodes. This BGM is based on the earlier theme songs and the IN song Kokoro o moyasu aitsu -Yamato Takeshi no uta-.

03. Ultraman 80 [Instrumental]

This is the greatest Instrumental Tokusatsu theme song ever. I don't even mean that because it's based on the best theme... This is much, much, MUCH more than just a horn or guitar replacing the vocals. This is an experience. They seriously take the theme higher to a whole new level.

It starts pretty slow with horns replacing the vocals, then more and more of the orchestra joins in. By the time the build-up is over the song is completely eclipsed by the orchestra. It's hard to explain...but this is magical...

08. Let's Go UGM [Instrumental]

Same story here as Ultraman 80. This is a hyper-inflated version of Let's Go UGM. It's done with greater effect in the opening, but this is damn fine as well.

21. Ganbare Ultraman 80 [TV Size] / TALIZMAN, Columbia Yurikago-kai

The TV size version of the second opening theme. A lot of the things I love about the song are kinda missing here, but hey...it's still a lot of fun.

22~39 Tokusatsu Original BGM Collection Ultraman 80 no sekai - mi shuuroku Monaural BGM senshuu

These are more alternate takes and variations of the BGM. As you would expect from the title, these are all in MONO, but still sound fairly crisp.

40. Chikyuujin da yo [TV Size] / TALIZMAN, Columbia Yurikago-kai

41. Ganbare Ultraman 80 [TV Size Intro-tsuki] / TALIZMAN, Columbia Yurikago-kai

42. Chikyuujin da yo [1 Chorus] / TALIZMAN, Columbia Yurikago-kai

43. Ganbare Ultraman 80 [Instrumental]

This instrumental version is much more traditional than that grand version of the first opening theme song. It's just a lone horn replacing the vocals. Still good, but this could have been just as amazing.

44. Chikyuujin da yo [Instrumental]

Same story here. Just a lone horn replacing the vocals. I think a guitar would have been a tad more suitable for this particular song.

45. Ultraman 80 [Instrumental Mero betsu take]

A different Instrumental version. While this is different than the amazing version we got earlier, it's still much more than a normal Instrumental. The orchestra is back, but maybe at half power. It's fun, but a tad softer.

46. Let's Go UGM [Instrumental Mero betsu take]

Same story with this one, except one of the new instruments brought in is...clapping?? I'm down. This is great!

47. Kokoro o moyasu aitsu -Yamato Takeshi no uta- [Instrumental ME tape ongen]

I've mentioned my affection for this song previously...something about hearing it in MONO makes it even more comforting.

48~57 Koka-onshuu

Sound effects! I really want to make "80!" my ringtone now...

58~60 Ultraman 80 mei-bamenshuu - yoribassui

OK, these three tracks are pretty rad.

The first is the UGM Wandaba theme with series effects added in. The second is the awesome Ultraman 80 instrumental with sound effect added it. It sounds like we're just listening to the action scene of an episode...it's great! No dialogue outside of the occassional "Shuwatch!".

The final track is an alternate take of that really awesome instrumental of Ultraman 80.


Ultraman 80 / Andromelos in 1981

01. Ultraman 80 / TALIZMAN

This is the version of Ultraman 80 that you're probably used to. Yeah, I know, weird that it's only showing up now on Disc 4.

The only difference here is that the Main Title was clipped from the start and it just gets into the Full Size song proper.

02~39 Tokusatsu Original BGM Collection Ultraman 80 no sekai

This is the final batch of alternate and scratch takes for the BGM collection. Again, these tracks are all in MONO, but still sound very clear.

40. Andromelos / Ichiro Mizuki, Columbia Yurikago-kai

Ichiro Mizuki's talents are shockingly rare when it comes to Ultraman theme songs. This is his first official-ish Ultra theme song...and pretty much last until Ultraman Orb in 2016. He did do the ending theme song to the Ultraman Story film in 1984 as well, but that was a one-off. Sure he had a few songs here and there like Zoffy's boring theme song as well as a Columbia cover of Brave Love, Tiga, but there isn't much in the way of genuine themes.

This is a hard song to dislike. It's so chipper and irritatingly catchy. The bass is so simple, but it draws you in like a tractor beam. Maybe it could do without the back-up brats, but it's still a lot of fun. I knew this song made it once I saw this sweet bass cover of it.

A tad repetative? Yeah, but it's great.

41. Kaettekoi yo Andromelos / Ichiro Mizuki

This is the Andromelos's ending theme song. This is much more serious than the happy-go-lucky OP, but it a good little ballad.

42. Andromelos [Instrumental]

43. Kaettekoi yo Andromelos [Instrumental]

44. Andromelos [Original Karaoke]

45. Kaettekoi yo Andromelos [Original Karaoke]


Andromelos BGM Collection from "THE ADVENTURES OF ULTRAMAN]

01. Andromelos [TV Size] / Ichiro Mizuki, Columbia Yurikago-kai

This is the sloppily cut TV Size version of the Andromelos theme. It's literally the first seventy seconds of the song with a very hard cut after "Attack!".

02~42 Andromelos shiyo BGM

This is the BGM for Andromelos, which is done by composer Mark McKinniss. If that name sounds a little...foreign, there is good reason. The music is actually the soundtrack for the English dub of THEULTRAMAN, which was called "The Adventures of Ultraman".

This is all very simple and synth driven. I like it, but it's very...one-note. It's quite moody with the dramatics stabs, but has some nice rock elements. Kinda like stock music for industrial training videos. I mean that in a fun way. Haha.

43~47 Andromelos ni okeru mi shiyo BGM

This is just a small bonus collection of the unused BGM from Andromelos for completion's sake.


OVERALL: Amazing. Like...I knew I was going to love this set, but this goes beyond that. This just may be my favorite Ultraman CD in my collection now. Sure, the Ultraman Powered set from indie label Cinema-Kan is equal parts as good (and just as recommended!) but this set gripped me from start to finish and really didn't let up. The songs are amazing, it's great to finally have the full Toru Fuyuki score for Ultraman 80 and it's also delightful to have all of the Andromelos / The Adventures of Ultraman stuff after years of not being familiar with it at all past the theme songs.

The packaging is what we've come to expect at this point--a sturdy cardboard shell with the five discs housed in individual slimline cases and a 64-page booklet packed with information.

If I *HAD* to find a gripe, I suppose I could be bothered to bring up an incredibly minor one. It would've been nice to have the Star Ocean Mix Vers 5.0 of Ultraman 80 from the Extreme Cyclone~Rebirth of Superheroes remix album from 2000. Again, this is super-nitpicky...but it pays to be extra thorough.

Definitely pick this set up today! It's going to be my CD of The Year, for sure! If the 90s are more your bag...the aforementioned Ultraman Powered set won't let you down either.


There you have it...my long-winded review of this massive CD Box set. Be sure to check out my CD Collection page for more just like it.

Stay safe!



The CD Collection--Gattai Tamashii ~Super Sentai Robot Song Perfect Collection~
The CD Collection--Ultraman Great, USA & Ultraman Powered Box Sets
The CD Collection--Denko Chojin Gridman Original Soundtrack