5.5/10
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2 user 5 critic

Chameleon (2008)

The protagonist of this film is a con artist with ability to change depending on the environment and emotions of those around him. He leads of a group of street crooks, one day they ... See full summary »

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Goro Noguchi
Asami Mizukawa ...
Yoshiko Koike
...
Kosuke Harukawa
Kosuke Toyohara ...
Taka Kijima
Masato Hagiwara ...
Satoru Kajiwara
Sei Hiraizumi
Hiroshi Inuzuka ...
Shuji Yamamura
Kei Tani ...
Kenzo Sakai
Haruko Katô ...
Noriko Yamamura
Ittoku Kishibe ...
Yoshitake Atsugi
...
Greg Pearson
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
...
Ushihara (as Sohee Park)
Tasuku Emoto
Shion Machida
Kazuki Namioka ...
Jun Yoshida
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Storyline

The protagonist of this film is a con artist with ability to change depending on the environment and emotions of those around him. He leads of a group of street crooks, one day they witnesses the kidnapping of a man at the hands of a suspicious group of individuals. Written by jairhcastillo

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Drama

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5 July 2008 (Japan)  »

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User Reviews

 
Although Lacking the Action of Revenge Themed Hollywood Features, the Interesting Story and Enjoyable Characters Certainly Keep Our Attention
3 July 2015 | by (Melbourne, Victoria) – See all my reviews

Though the film is marketed as an action-thriller, the narrative reflecting this genre, the action scenes in Chameleon are often surrounded by a varying assortment of characterization and conversations, so viewers shouldn't go into the feature expecting a wealth of exciting visual flare. Similarly, this description fits also with the environments, a number of the locations being either run-down, drab, or condemned, often with minimal foot traffic, though these at the same time tend to reflect the lifestyle of the leads, that is neither glamorous or flash.

The characters and their relationships suitably garner our interest with ease, the dilemmas the con-artists face, the fun of pulling off a successful job, and the eventual story of vengeance, keeping audience's intrigued. When there is fighting, it lacks the stylistic approach of other Asiatic features, in which scenes are often beautiful and memorable - reminiscent almost of dancing. In Chameleon, the fights appear more realistic, with characters desperately struggling to survive, frenetically attacking one another, not so much with proficiency, but in a vain attempt to escape, making the environment, storyline and characters more believable.

The soundtrack accompanying some of the fights is as equally immersive, however, much of the film had no reliance on music at all, the sound of only the dialogue and the background ambiance proving to be just as effective. Furthermore, despite their professional background, or lack-thereof, the banter, wit and charm exuded from the characters make them very likable, as though they could even be friends of the viewer.

The beginning of the feature originally seems dark, with the ever-mysterious Goro (Tatsuya Fujiwara), who is as intellectual as he is brave, introducing himself in an initially hostile manner to the beautiful Keiko (Asami Mizukawa), a fortune teller, who appears in desperate need of assistance, her hidden past, compassion and honesty, making her a character that anyone would appreciate the opportunity to help. After successful completion of a job, Goro and his team are unfortunately witnesses to the kidnapping of an important witness in a major case, with direct links to corrupt political figures. Concerned the witnesses may inform local officials about what they saw, the leader of the kidnappers (Kosuke Toyohara), immediately puts into action a plan that will have lethal consequences for our protagonists.

Ms. Mizukawa deserved a larger role in the plot, and though she is introduced at the beginning, a fair amount of time goes by before we witness her reappearance. At the same time, the romantic sub-plot between her character and Goro could have been better accentuated with a deeper focus, though the limited exposure is thorough enough to convince the audience of their feelings. Moreover, by the conclusion of the film, there were at least five questions I had on my mind that were largely unresolved, the lack of answers leaving considerably sized plot holes that, although annoying, didn't get in the way of the movie's ability to entertain.

In conclusion, Chameleon is quite a likable film, that uses simplicity rather than unfathomable excitement and awe to entice the viewer, and though the film lacks the budget of a Hollywood revenge plot, the film proves, through story and enjoyable characters, that massive amounts of money is not a requirement for a movie to be effectively decent.


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