Recently I was having a discussion with some friends about how "just because it's foreign, doesn't mean it's good." And here's the proof.
There's nothing inherently wrong with this movie... directing, acting, story are all set to tell a story with the film allotted. It's just the exposition. Characters explain their actions, all of the time, whenever there is dialog. What isn't explained by flat, emotionless dialog is explained by voice over. What isn't explained by either is eventually referred to later in dialog and explained again. In short, there's no real reason that this is a movie--it's more like a bunch of people telling each other the story.
Which, who knows, might be a popular Japanese motif in film-making. But I doubt it. I don't claim to know that much about Japanese cinema, but I've seen enough to know that it can do better than this. This comes off as a stoic action movie (think Steven Seagal) with very little action.
However, all told it could have just been a bland, boring piece of work that was good enough to be unremarkable, but then we had the "European Woman" enter (a Japanese actress with a blond wig...) and it was no longer possible to take this movie seriously. I know, "we've" done it too: I think back to the repeated character of Dr. Wong that was played by Boris Karloff back in the 40s. Or even the great Katherine Hepburn playing an Asian heroine at one point. But still... terrible, terrible stuff.
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