Kabukicho is a forgotten world. A place where people of different tongues and races meet, where they fight against each other to gain money, power and territory. The struggle which never ... See full summary »
Keith is a Japanese twenty-something who is followed by Death in various disguises. When he finally faces her, Death tells him that he has only 12 hours to live and he needs to make the ... See full summary »
Natsumi Yukihira, an unconventional cop, investigates a series of murders where each new victim is the lead suspect from the previous murder. When her ex-husband becomes the latest murder's suspect, things get more complicated.
I've watched this film twice on flights to Japan and enjoyed it on two levels. First, by itself, it is a rousing fun action film--superior to most of the US adaptations from graphic novels. The combination of the CGI vistas with realistic local sets works extremely well: you are reminded that you are in an art deco-influenced alternative reality but the immediate surroundings of squalor in the poverty-stricken lower class sections of the city and opulence in the wealthy neighborhoods are entirely plausible. The action and the fights are great and integrated entirely into the plot, and the performances are solid. The only difficulty is that the identity of the villainous K-20 (and, yes, he IS a villain) is probably too easy to guess, while the hero seems at times too dense.
The second level of enjoyment is how the film contributes to an understanding of Japanese culture. The mixed admiration and dislike for the wealthy artistocratic class who dominated Japan during the early 20th century strongly emerges from the film. The depiction of how Japanese people would react to a spectacular, mysterious criminal was also interesting. I could write more, but perhaps someone should try a serious academic analysis. The bottom line is that its fun to watch--much more fun than The Hulk or V--and, at the same time, it is a uniquely Japanese take on the whole vigilante against an unjust society theme. It is definitely NOT a Japanese "imitation" of anything.
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