Well meaning intentions don't always pan out so well
I don't know why I delayed so long in writing this. Last February, Japan Society in NYC presented a Sabu film perspective and Trouble Man was the finale. The host (who did a very great job) informed us that they had spliced together the 2nd half of the series and put it together as a film. He gave a little background of the story and explained that we would start with the episode of the Hit-man (he is so hilarious!). As soon as it started, I felt myself sucked into the vortex of Sabuism.
The thing that's great about Sabu's films is that they are very off the wall, non traditional, very funny and even dark. Trouble Man is no exception and its non linearity really kept my attention. Despite missing the earlier episodes, it wasn't too hard to follow what was going on. There are characters a plenty in this one. Susumu Terajima has a minor role here, but he garners so much attention when he's in a scene. Sabu is very good at using Terajima-san's acting ability to full extent and it's really entertaining to watch (watch the Blessing Bell by Sabu for further proof). When his scenes would end, I really wanted more Terajima - this guy is the epitome of cool!!! He doesn't say much but when he does, it hits like buckshot from a sawed off shotgun.
Before the film, the host mentioned that Shigeaki Katô (who plays Trouble Man Kazuo Tokuda) is not a seasoned actor and is also part of a music group (boy band) in Japan. Sabu chose him for the lead role and I thought he did a really great job. It's so hard not to feel for Kazuo as you see all the hardships he goes through. However, his 'never give up' attitude is infectious and when Kazuo's story comes up, that's when things get really interesting. Shigeaki Katô shows a wide range of emotions which effectively impact certain scenes and keep the story going. Without giving away what happens, let's just say that he's the anchor to which the boats around him are tied.
What's great about Sabu is he isn't saying what's right or wrong or giving out morality lessons. In life, things happen for good and for bad. Maybe how we react and what we learn from these experiences is what counts. Take what you can from it. Apologies if I got too deep, but it actually took me several months until I finally realized how to word this. Keep in mind I still haven't seen this Trouble Man in its entirety (until I get it on DVD). Definitely recommended. And try to keep the theme song 'Be Funkey!' out of your head...its really tough!!
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