Hollow times for a hollow mind, the story of Shinji Muroi
Out of the entire, frenzied Bayside Shakedown cast, I honestly thought that Muroi would be the last character that would get his own big production, but I guess the saying, 'if you film it, they will come', proved right and for some reason I decided to come. Not only is Muroi the film's main character, but the whole flow of the movie takes after his heavily confined, borderline depressive characteristics that worked in small doses, and which Toshiro Yanagiba has so dauntingly copyrighted from the past two films.
Like BS this film got right into the crime at hand. A young police officer becomes a suspect in a murder case and as he's being questioned by the fellow officers, he suddenly decides to run for his life. Through the busy streets and intersections with 30 or so officers behind him on foot, Muroi makes a critical decision and orders his men to engage the suspect who soon finds himself under the wheels of a moving truck. Long story short, Muroi gets jailed and finds himself in the center of controversy as he tries to uncover truth behind the murder, but tensions rise as shady works of higher powers come into suspicion as well.
Personally, not the best crime scenario that I've come around in recent years, but that was the least of the problems in the film. The pacing of the film is understandable slow as I believe that crime dramas are all about detail and build up, but this film just decided to slither along for two hours with dreary and unconvincing settings, and characters that left nothing memorable behind their lines. In BS such frailties were bearable because of the lively cast and overall busy-bee atmosphere of the film, but here there was neither subtle or wacky humor nor the much needed grittiness, which failed to achieve any grounds for emotion. Rena Tanaka was probably the only, dare I say, uplifting character in the film, despite being clouded by Muroi, who was trying his best to impersonate a wandering ghost .
Perhaps this was the film's intent to provide a harmless and an empty experience, even though I saw some potential in the director with his last year's fantasy thriller Makoto, but this was a lukewarm production, that surely had a certain "legacy" to live up to, although I don't think it packed enough punches to fully cater to both the die-hard BS fans or garner those looking for an engaging criminal drama a la Kamikaze Taxi or Memories of Murder.
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