From what I gather, Kosuke Kindaichi is a fictional Japanese detective, similar to Sherlock Holmes, who was created in the 1940s and went on to solve 77 cases. He has been featured in many films and TV series. One of his cases, 'Joobachi' or 'Queen Bee' was first filmed in 1952, then remade in 2006. It is the 2006 version I am reviewing. I obtained it very cheaply from HKflix.com on a R0 disk called 'The File of Young Kindaichi: Queen Bee'.
It appears to be part of a series as there are plenty of other Kindaichi titles on the site, although the part of Kindaichi appears to be regularly re-cast. In 'Queen Bee', he is played for the first time by Goro Inagaki. The movie lats for two hours although, from the way it is paced, I am wondering if it was originally a 3-part TV series.
It really is very bad: the acting is over the top and melodramatic and the plot is convoluted and senseless. Kindaichi wears a cape and floppy hat and stands around doing significant poses. Things get worse after he solves the case with half an hour to go leaving the rest of the film excruciatingly boring as all the plot points are slowly explained.
The main reason to watch is Chiaki Kuriyama but unfortunately she is given little to do except stand on cliff-tops, look helpless and demure then suddenly give one of her trademark glares to camera. She plays Tomoko, an 18-year old girl who has spent her life on a remote island but who is now brought to the mainland by her rich step-father to meet three candidate husbands. Murder ensues! She also plays, in flash-back, Tomoko's deceased mother who was suspected of murdering Tomoko's father. Neither character is strong but merely reacts to events.
The subtitling on the DVD is pretty poor. All in all, not very good but Chiaki completists will want it . . . plus all the other users appear to be giving it much higher ratings than I have!
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