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Maiku Hama is a private detective working in Yokohama. Hama comes to the aid of a Taiwanese waiter named Yang and agrees to track down his missing brother. Through a series of double-crosses Hama gets embroiled in a gang war and a revenge plot between the two brothers. Written by
Todd K. Bowman <firstname.lastname@example.org>
If you did an experiment and had three or four different authors write a film--each writing a portion and then piecing them together--this is what "Waga Jinsei No Toki" ("The Most Terrible Time in My Life") looks like. And, I would add, it's as if the different authors really didn't read each others work before they began writing and only had a a very general idea what the film was about in the first place. It's a shame, really, as PARTS of the film are very good...and other parts really don't seem to fit.
The first portion of the film had a lot of promise--and I was thrilled to watch. A guy named 'Miku Hama' (in other words, a Japanese bastardization of 'Mike Hammer'--the Mickey Spillane character) is a Japanese private eye whose office is above a movie theater. To get to see Mike, they make you pay admission to the theater. And, Mike drives a cool little Nash Metropolitan--one of the quirkiest cars ever made. So, naturally I assumed it was a comedy--a comedy with film noir overtones (with its retro black & white cinematography and look). Even when Mike meets and tries to help a Taiwanese man, the film, though dark, seemed like a comedy. In a nod, perhaps to "Chinatown", Mike's finger is sliced off trying to help the guy.
Unfortunately, Mike eventually became more of a secondary character and his new Chinese friend became more the subject of the film. And, the friend's desire to track down his long-lost brother took a very, very dark turn. Instead of comedy, the film became quite bloody and a bit nihilistic. A bit like film noir, perhaps, but with a much more negative and nasty edge.
I'd say that for the most part, watching this movie was a very frustrating experience. Parts were wonderful but the overall film didn't add up to a likable whole. Surprisingly, the film spawned a pair of sequels--one of which is shown, in part, at the end of this film. Also, the old-time Japanese noir actor Jô Shishido (who had facial implants to make himself look more like a chipmunk) makes a totally random appearance in the film--and it seemed like they had no idea what to do with him. It's a shame, really, as Shishido's films appear to have strongly influenced these film makers and I wanted to see more of him.
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