Virus aka Fukkatsu no hi (literally Day of Resurrection) is a 1980 post-apocalyptic science fiction movie directed by Kinji Fukasaku and based on a novel written by Sakyo Komatsu in 1964. The movie starred Masao Kusakari, George Kennedy, Robert Vaughn, Chuck Connors, Olivia Hussey, Edward James Olmos, Ken Ogata, Glenn Ford and Sonny Chiba. The film is notable for being the most expensive Japanese film ever made at the time.
PlotThe 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 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 pandemic initially known as the “Italian Flu”.
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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 a warmer temperature than -10 degrees Celsius, and the polar winter has spared the 855 men and eight women stationed on the southern continent. The British nuclear submarine HMS Nereid, which was on patrol before the epidemic began, joins the scientists after sinking a Soviet submarine whose infected crew attempt to make landfall near Palmer Station.
The survivors 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 activated the Automated Reaction System (ARS) before his death, believing that the Soviet Union would use the confusion caused by the pandemic to 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 Soviet missiles is aimed at Palmer Station, which is attributed to the Kremlin’s erroneous belief that the research station was a cover for a secret missile base. Yoshizumi and Major Carter 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 exchange. Over the course of years Yoshizumi walks back towards Antarctica. Upon reaching Tierra del Fuego in 1988, he encounters the remaining survivors from the icebreaker, including Marit, a Norwegian widow he fell in love with after his pregnant girlfriend in Tokyo died from the epidemic.
Watch or Download movieThis movie is available for free download at the Internet Archive.
* Creative Commons License: Public Domain *