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"2009: Lost Memories" is a science-fiction-thriller inspired by the
famous novel "Looking For An Epitaph" by Bok Geo-Il in 1987 even though
the author didn't want to have anything to do with this adaption. One
must keep in mind that the novel is more than twenty-five years and
that the movie is already twelve years old as well because some things
predicted in the plot are mildly amusing nowadays such as the potential
reunification of North and South Korea in 2008. Many people argue that
this film is too patriotic and that Koreans didn't get over the things
the Japanese did to them during their invasion. Obviously, the film
depicts Japanese as greedy megalomaniacs that have no respect for
Korean culture. It would have been pleasant to see a few more
sympathetic Japanese in this flick to give the movie a more open-minded
approach. On one side, I can perfectly understand the greed many Asian
peoples still feel towards the Japanese. On the other side, Korean and
Japanese actors collaborate in this movie and show us that these
nations can appreciate each other and perfectly work together nowadays.
The reality is obviously not as dark as some government officials want
to suggest us and it's a far call from this dystopian movie as well. I
don't see this film as a propaganda movie or a political statement and
one shouldn't analyze it all too much. It simply is a dystopian film
settled in an alternate history where the failed assassination of a
Japanese governor leads to a dramatic turn of events where the Japanese
would win World War II and still occupy the Korean peninsula in the
The plot is obviously nothing really new but fans of dystopian science- fiction movies like "1984", "A Clockwork Orange", "Fahrenheit 451", "Soylent Green", "Rollerball", "Battle Royale", "Equilibrium", "V For Vendetta" and even "The Hunger Games" or "Divergent" should like some parts of this movie. In this film, a mysterious Korean resistance group called "Hureisenjin" steals museum artifacts to open a portal that should help them to travel back in time and change the course of Korean history back to normal. This radical group that is ready to sacrifice itself and the life of others to fight for Korean independence faces an institution called the Japanese Bureau of Investigation where two friends, a Korean and a Japanese cop, try to arrest them. The Korean cop denies and even despises his Korean culture as his father was a cop that betrayed the JBI and abandoned his family to help the "Hureisenjin". The investigation has personal issues for this cop and he soon starts to lose his tempers and his neutrality. When he is about to discover the fact that he is living a big lie in an alternative timeline and that the Japanese manipulated history to control the Korean peninsula, his Japanese superiors suspend him from the case. The Korean cop though continues his investigations that lead him to important historical events that took place in China and Russia. As he gets closer to the secret and is about to change his mind about his origins, he gets attacked by an assailant in his apartment. When his mentor gets killed instead and the cop survives, he gets blamed for the murder by his superiors and realizes that he is the victim of an incredible conspiracy. The cop seeks the help of the "Hureisenjin" and ends up being a key element in their quest to change history back to normal.
The story is intriguing enough to carry this movie but the acting is only of a good average quality. Some characters could have been depicted in a more profound way such as the Japanese cop and his wife or the mysterious female leader of the resistance group. I think that the movie should have focused on the difficult friendship between the Japanese and the Korean cop because this is by far the movie's strongest element. The weird visions and the strange connection between the main character and the female leader of the "Hureisenjin" are rather stereotypical, wooden and ultimately a letdown. Some parts of the movie are a little bit too melodramatic as well such as the slow motion scenes where a young boy gets killed during an assault. It seems to me that the movie focuses more on the predictable and supposedly tear-jerking elements instead of using its true strengths. I must also admit that the atmospheric first half of the movie around the investigation case is much more original and tense than the predictable and lengthy second half where all secrets are quickly revealed. It would have been more interesting to make an out-thought mini-series of this plot than a movie where the intriguing elements are cut off to focus on annoying mainstream passages.
Fans of dystopian movies and all those who are interested in Japanese and Korean cinema will still like many parts of this movie. It's not the masterpiece it could have been but still watchable enough to get entertained rather well. The promising elements in the first half of the plot definitely made me want to read the original novel in the end.
We are used to the greatness of contemporary South Korean cinema by now
and "The Devil's Game" is another excellent addition to the collection
of any serious movie maniac. The film is basically a mixture of a drama
and a thriller with a few minor science-fiction elements that kick the
story off. The movie is atmospheric, well acted and includes a major
twist in the end. It includes many artistic elements. Just the choice
of the impressive paintings shown in the movie is excellent. The
philosophical inspirations and the intense ending give you a lot of
food for thoughts. As many contemporary South Korean movies, this films
also critically explores the differences between rich and poor in the
country. This some sort of a slow cultural change as elders and
billionaires are usually much respected in that country. This movie is
not the first one that depicts the old and rich as dominant and
ruthless and the young and poor as naive and pure. Watch the remake of
"The Housemaid" or "The Taste of Money" for example.
The greatness already lies in the story but you have to observe closely to understand all the issues in this movie and it's maybe even worth to watch it twice. A rich old man who has controlled, exploited and manipulated all his life is about to die but dreams of eternal youth. He sets up a twisted game and somebody happens to choose an ambitious, poor and young artist as his opponent. The game is simple. The old and the young man call a random number and must guess if a man or a woman answers the call. The old man offers the young artist to become a billionaire if he wins. On the other side, the young has to offer something of an equal value. The naive artist believes that he has to become the old man's servant or slave but the price he has to pay is much higher. In the beginning, the young artist refuses to play the game and leaves the mansion but when he sees that his girlfriend and her family are beaten up because of some serious debts, he changes his mind and accepts the challenge. After several tumultuous events, the young artist dramatically loses the bet and realizes that he has an incredible price to pay. He has to offer his body to the old man to realize his dream of eternal youth. In a complicated surgery, the old man's brain is put into the young man's body and vice versa. When the old man in the young body awakens, he feels strong again and quickly starts to repeat the mistakes of his past life. He also tries to get close to the young man's girlfriend as well and pays off her debts. In the end, he really seems to fall in love with the woman who realizes that he is acting strangely. The young man in the old body awakens and feels sad and weak. He knows that he has only a few months to live. In the beginning, he seems to abandon but with the help of his uncle and a woman that had been betrayed by the old man as well, he starts to look for a way to get his former body and his girlfriend back.
The movie then introduces us to strong acting parts and a few promising plot ideas. Sadly, not all ideas are well employed and some of them quickly go nowhere or are not further explained towards the end. The movie has some lengths in the middle part where we see an arrogant, lonely and superficial old man in a young body and a desperate, insecure and whining young man in an old body. These parts between the thirty and sixty minutes into the movie include too much repetition in my opinion but the tense second half of the movie and especially the creative ending are worth the wait.
You can take this movie from two different sides.
As somebody who is very much interested in history and geography and has studied both for many years, this movie is obviously full of mistakes and wrong stereotypes. It is almost as inaccurate as the "Spartacus" series. And this is never an original movie. We have all watched movies with very similar story lines about the evil Romans who want to control everything, the poor gladiators who stand up against them and the forbidden love between a rich young woman and a foreign slave. I can understand why many people are rating this film down. If you really want to watch a sophisticated movie about that time, go for the classic "Ben- Hur".
What I think is strange is that all these stereotypes were highly predictable from the trailers only. I am asking myself why people even went to watch this movie if they were going to hate it for the reasons mentioned above. Some people just want to bash a movie and seem to have a very sad life if they waste their time watching movie they dislike so much.
I went to watch the movie for something different. I wanted to watch a colourful movie with impressive sets and costumes and stunning 3D effects of an exploding volcano. I was eager to watch a fast pace flick with a lot of fighting scenes, some tension here and there and maybe a few love scenes with beautiful actresses. And I exactly got that.
In addition to this, the acting was just good enough and included a few interesting characters. I really liked Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje and Jessica Lucas in this film even though they played stereotypical characters and could have had more screening time. If you are going to watch this movie for Carrie-Anne Moss or Kiefer Sutherland, please do not. They have been much better in other movies in the past.
In the end, it all depends on you. If you want to watch an original and profound movie and learn something about the Roman Empire, just forget it. If you want to watch a effect ridden action adventure, you are going to like this. It is not the movie of the year but I surely had a great time watching it.
"The Truck" is another highly intriguing contemporary movie that easily
beats most of today's Western films.
This time, it's a quite twisted thriller with a few elements from multiple other genres. It includes the typically dark but sometimes also slapstick orientated Korean humour that you either like or hate. Personally, it made me chuckle from time to time. The funnier scenes are especially in the beginning of the flick and don't take too much space.
As the movie goes on it gets more serious and grislier. In the beginning, the film is some sort of a drama. The movie then becomes a tense thriller and even explores the psycho thriller and splatter genre. Apart of the first twenty minutes that introduce the characters, the film is quite fast paced and also features a lot of action scenes. There is no big budget behind this production but the movie lives from its solid actors, the tense atmosphere and quite a few twists in the plot. This film will bring you on the edge of your seat until the final five minutes.
The conclusion of the movie could have been a little bit more detailed but the way this film ends fits to its rather fast pace.
Let me tell you a little bit more about the story. It portrays a single father who is working hard but doesn't earn much money. The only thing he owns is an old truck. He doesn't have much time for his daughter who lives with her grandmother and he can't keep all the promises he makes to her. On the other side, he really loves his daughter more than everything else. She is the sunshine in his life that keeps him going on in difficult situations. But as her mother and grandmother before her, the daughter has a problem with her weak heart. When she gets exposed to big physical efforts or stress, she may lose conscience. When the poor daughter gets exploited by some silly girls, she gets so sick that she has to go to the hospital. She needs a costly operation to get a donor's heart implanted. The doctor tells the father that they already found a donor but that a rich family is also interested in buying that heart to save their son even though this young man will never be cured and die anyway. The doctor tells the desperate father that he has to get 60,000 dollars as soon as he can to finance the operation before the rich family officially purchases the heart.
The father tries to get some money together. He sells a few things, talks to friends and goes to see loan sharks but he still can't make enough money. A fellow worker suggests him to go and play poker. The father initially refuses as he thinks that gambling is stupid and you can only lose. But soon he realizes that there is no other chance for him because time is running out. The father goes out to gamble against a few local gangsters. In the beginning, they let him win quite a lot but when they start to gamble with bigger sums, the poor father gets tricked and loses everything. He realizes that his fellow worker had been playing tricks on him and that he is collaborating with the gangsters to attract potential victims and get their money. The desperate father loses his temper and gets involved in a brawl with his fellow worker and the gangsters. The fellow worker escapes into a room in the cheap hotel and is followed by the father and the gangsters. They are quite shocked when they realize that a massacre happened in this room. A menacing gangster is still at the scene of the crime and has just killed several victims and is about to kill the two witnesses. When he hears the young father's story he changes his mind to exploit his unfavourable situation. He tells him that he will get the gambling money back so that he might have enough to pay for his daughter's operation but the family father has to get rid of the dead bodies in a distant province without getting caught by the police.
The family father puts the bodies of the dead on the back of his truck and starts his journey. Meanwhile, a serial killer escapes from a police escort. When the family father passes beside a police truck that got off the road, he realizes that somebody has killed everybody inside and that this is where the escape just happened. The scared man wants to go on but soon discovers an injured and surviving police officer. The officer gets on his truck and tells the family father that he is the only surviving police officer of the escort. He thinks that the murderer is on his way to another city where his mother lives and orders the truck driver to go there immediately. The family father realizes that the police officer is acting strangely and when they stop at a gas station, he gets to see a poster that identifies the injured officer as the escaping serial killer.
The family father has no choice but to get back in the truck as he doesn't want to raise suspicion. A true nightmare begins. How can they both escape from the police now as there are checkpoints everywhere? Will the serial killer realize that the truck driver got to know his real identity and kill him? What are the serial killer's real intentions and plans? Can the family father get rid of the dead bodies on his truck? Will he be back at time to get the money and save his daughter?
From that point on, the movie reserves us many surprises that I don't want to spoil you. By now, my review should have intrigued you enough to watch this gripping movie. I'm sure you won't regret it.
"Non-Stop" is a solid action-thriller with the extraordinary lead actor
Liam Neeson. I watched this movie because of him and even though he
doesn't beat his best performances, Liam Neeson is absolutely
convincing as cold-hearted human wreck and sorrow-ridden air Marshall.
It's sad that his character isn't more developed in this movie as we
never get to know whom he was talking to on the telephone in the
beginning for example.
The story itself is nothing new but could have been more convincing. The movie starts in a great way when the alcoholic chain smoking air Marshall gets text messages via a secure network on a flight from New York City to London, England. An unknown criminal announces that every twenty minutes a passenger will die if the air Marshall won't send 150 million dollars to an untraceable Swiss bank account.
After an initial suspense, the story gets a little bit ridiculous when the first victims die. The first murder could have never been planned that way by the terrorists. The second murder isn't well explained either and even the third murder feels random even though it makes more sense than the first two. These are not the only plot holes in here. At that point, the story is running in circles, though. People are dying every twenty minutes, all characters are judging too quickly and the air Marshall loses control all the time. After a promising start, one just waits for something spectacular to happen but there is nothing more to this.
Of course, we will get the so-called twist in the end and know who is behind the hijackings and killings. The solution though feels half- hearted and isn't really credible. It somehow doesn't make much sense to me. For me, this moment was a little letdown and the twist is (almost) more of a deus ex machina thing than anything out-thought.
What else is there to say? Liam Neeson's acting is good and some secondary actors are doing a solid job as well but the characters represent too many stereotypes. It's the same for the story that feels as if one had already watched a similar movie before.
The action scenes, special effects and the soundtrack are well done. The numerous text messages on screen get quite annoying and how could anyone write that fast as it's the case in the movie anyway?
In the end, fans of Liam Neeson should watch this movie without a doubt. Anyone else will get a tension filled action-thriller without any big surprises. It's an entertaining movie to watch but also the kind of film that you will have forgotten in a few months. It's nothing truly impressive but still a good average effort. Instead of showing more or less convincing Hollywood cinema, I'm asking myself why the North American and European cinemas are not showing us more memorable and poignant films from Asia, Europe or South America.
I was hesitating between six and seven points for this movie. The film is not overtly original but it's entertaining and it has Liam Neeson in it. Still, I was expecting more than this and that's why I went for the lower rating. Actually, 6,5 out of ten points would have been the perfect rating for me.
This movie is a moderate budget television adaption of the critically
acclaimed novel "Hatchet" written by the American author of young adult
literature Gary James Paulsen. The short novel published in 1987 tells
the story of a young teenager who has to survive for several weeks in
the Canadian wilderness after a plane crash.
The main challenge of this eight-two minutes long movie from 1990 was the fact that the whole story is carried by the main character alone. Most of the novel and the movie takes place in the wilderness and features no dialogues but some soliloquies. Child actor Jared Rushton did an accurate job even though I disliked the fact that a sixteen-year old teenager played the role of an unexperienced thirteen-year old boy.
Despite the solid acting, this movie sometimes feels like a National Geographic documentary that shows us incredible landscapes such as forests, lakes, mountains and waterfalls and a multitude of animals such as bears, porcupines, raccoons and wolves. This is definitely beautiful to watch but gets quickly boring.
Due to the low budget, some scenes feel a little bit goofy. One can clearly see that the wild animals are trained and tame. The fighting scene between the main character and a bear in a lake even made me unintentionally chuckle.
On the other side, a couple of scenes of this movie are actually filled with tension. Where the book sometimes gets too descriptive, the movie has a faster pace and the solid soundtrack helps up building some atmosphere. The sequence where dream and reality mix as the main character encounters a lone wolf is very well done and my favourite part of the film along with the campfire fighting scene. A few mildly shocking scenes in form of the eating of worms or the appearance of the pilot's ugly cadaver in the plane wreck added some spice as well.
A few elements in the movie are different from the book. Some new ideas such as the covering with mud to protect from mosquitoes work very well. On the other side, the flashback scenes are a little bit redundant. The alibi side story around the divorce of the main character's parents is rather uninteresting in the novel and in the movie as well from my point of view.
In the end, this short movie was quite entertaining and is worth to be watched once if you liked the book and the survival genre in general. Especially younger audiences should like this movie even though nothing beats the classic Enid Blyton movies of my childhood. Adults should rather go for survival movies like "The Grey".
"Cold Eyes" is a South Korean action-thriller inspired by the Hongkong
movie "Eye In The Sky" which came out six years prior to this film.
The Korean remake has a rather odd beginning from my point of view. The film takes too much time to introduce many characters but only three are truly addicting or important to the story where a special police department is hunting down high profile criminals. The first thirty minutes where everybody gets to know each other in the department and where the team follows a stupid criminal nicknamed "Thirsty Hippo" are rather lengthy. Some rather faceless unit members on one side and exchangeable criminals on the other are the main reasons for a mellow start of this movie. Once the three main characters take the lead and once some unimportant side-stories are eliminated, the movie gets a lot more dynamical around forty minutes into the film.
The film is then carried by three characters. First off, there is the nervous rookie which is very well incarnated by actress Han Hyo-Ju. This character is very smart and has some impressive visual skills. On the other side, the young cop does a few fatal mistakes on her first mission. Han Hyo-Ju's acting feels natural and shows us a young woman torn between cold professionalism and emotional struggles who is growing throughout this story. This character is easily the most addicting one and carries the entire movie.
Chief Hwang is very well played Sol Kyung-Gu. At first sight, his character seems to be quite professional but also very arrogant, cold and severe at moments. Towards the end of the movie, his personal values come into play and show us a softer core where the aged expert is ready to sacrifice everything to save his men. He also becomes somehow a father figure for the rookie cop. This dynamical character and his actions add some diversity and a few philosophical thoughts to this film.
Last but not least, there is the cold-hearted, well organized and extremely smart veteran villain incarnated by Jung Woo-Sung. This character also has some quite different sides. He seems pitiless at first sight but he also cares about his men and refuses to blindly follow his superiors. It's a man that follows his convictions, his experience and his instinct. That's why he has some identical character qualities with the rookie cop on one side and her chief on the other. This explains why he is a quite respectable villain and not just a one- dimensional brutal bully.
The clash of these three characters is what makes the movie really outstanding. The film gets more and more tension-filled towards the end. The last twenty minutes or so are dedicated to an amazing chase through the city of Seoul where each of the three characters has to sacrifice something. These scenes will bring you on the edge of your seat.
The modern film techniques are effectively used without adding too many special effects to it. The film always remains as grounded and realistic as possible. The settings in this movie are well chosen but not exceptional either. While the story is nothing innovating, it's especially the great acting of the three main characters and the constantly growing pace leading to a dramatic turn of events that convince most. This is a welcome change to the effect-ridden Hollywood productions like "Mission Impossible" or "The Bourne" series.
If you watch this grounded and well-acted action-thriller, just be sure to be patient enough to make it through the first thirty or forty minutes that are not completely useless but rather ordinary in comparison to what follows afterwards. Genre fans and those who care for South Korean cinema should appreciate this film even though it can't mess with some of the contemporary cinematic milestones coming from this extraordinary country.
"47 Ronin" is a vivid fantasy movie that retells a famous legend in
ancient Japan when forty-seven Ronin went out to avenge their master
who had to commit suicide after a series of conspiracies and unlucky
events. Of course, this movie has some historical inaccuracies but
that's not an issue. This colourful tale should please to anybody who
cares about Japanese culture in particular or epic fantasy movies in
What I liked about the movie is that nearly all actors are still Japanese and actually have accents as well. Keanu Reeves is playing one of the leading roles but to my positive surprise, he doesn't take too much space and fits very well into this story. This is a lot more authentic than "The Last Samurai" with Tom Cruise for example. In general, the acting in here is very well done. The movie features moments of anger, defeat, despair, guilt, humour, jealousy, loyalty, romance, sadness and victory and all these emotions are captured very well by the actors.
The characters in the movie are also quite diversified even though a little bit stereotypical. From the brave leader of the Ronin over the permanently jealous samurai and its rejected half-breed brother in arms to the arrogant villain who gets supported by a beautiful witch and a mysterious Lovecraftian samurai, the viewers are introduced to many epic characters.
The movie also convinces with great settings, light and visual effects. The three-dimensional version is worth watching and has some spectacular moments. The places shown in this movie from the slave market over the haunted forest and the creeping temple to the villain's residence in the mountains are intriguing and mysterious.
The story itself is rather simplistic and easy to follow but the philosophical topic of honour which is this movie's guiding line is an interesting an typically Japanese topic and offers some food for thought.
Even though this movie doesn't innovate the action or adventure genre, this cinematic odyssey was highly entertaining from my point of view. I can't find any major flaws in here either. From an objective point of view, seven points are appropriate for this movie that is really worth to be experienced in cinema. It's due to my particular interest in ancient Asian cultures that this movie got me even more addicted and that's why I'm ultimately adding one more point. If you're intrigued by my review, you will also be by this film.
"The After-Dinner Mysteries" is apparently a quite popular Japanese
series but you don't need to know that to enjoy this vivid movie. This
very Japanese over-the-top film mixes elements of different genres such
as dramas, slapstick comedies or old-fashioned suspense movies. This
movie surely has a touch of "Death On The Nile" but also elements of
"Casino Royale", "Robinson Crusoe", "The Naked Gun" or "Titanic" for
example. The mixture of Western and Eastern elements is in fact very
balanced in this film but it really depends on your very individual
taste if you find this movie pretty entertaining or just ridiculously
There are many elements I really liked about the movie. First of all, the film features several interesting side stories that are leading into one big story in the end. We basically get introduced to different pieces of the same puzzle. We follow the paths of a hysterical lottery winner, two lame-brained thieves, a lonely lounge-singer and more. All these stories are connected to two mysterious murders that are taking place on a luxurious cruise ship that seem to be more or less connected to the presence of two worthy oeuvres d'art that are getting transported from Japan to Singapur.
The way the movie mixes tension-filled scenes as when the main character gets mysteriously kidnapped and her life only depends on a risky poker tournament her assistant must win, dramatic or romantic passages when the lounge-singer slowly realizes that people all around her aren't what they pretend to be and funny moments when slapstick characters such as Detective Kazamatsuri ("Hai, hai, hai!" is by far my favourite and most memorable tag line in the movie) come into play is really diverting. The acting is quite good in this movie even though or maybe exactly because this plot works with amusing stereotypes.
I also liked the movie's out-thought final parts when the mysteries get completely resolved as in a classic suspense movie and when we see the falling action and the impacts of the climax on the different characters who gain more and more depth towards the end.
From an even more artistic point, the set decorations are very detailed, the camera and light work is truly solid and even the soundtrack is very well chosen.
There are still a few negative elements in this movie. It's a truly diversified movie but that's why it also feels a little bit too direction-less at times. Some scenes feel rather like a a ridiculous waste of time without adding much to the story. The scenes on the desert island are a good example for this category.
While most actors give their very best in this film, the main character Hosho Reiko is rather annoying, superficial and almost unimportant. That's the first time I remember a more epic movie with many characters where the main characters is by far the least intriguing one. Maybe it's because of some flaws in the script or due to the ordinary acting by Kitagawa Keiko or in reason of both. The idea of a smart but two-faced woman who is an elegant and rich heiress and a nervous rookie police officer at the same time is quite good but its potential is not quite used in this film. There would have been room for some more amusing scenes between Hosho Reiko and her amusingly stupid superior Kazamatsuri and even the chemistry with her snobbish but clever butler Kageyama.
While the movie definitely has several flaws, it remains a fast-paced and entertaining movie that kept me guessing until the end and that had a few charming twists. Fans of Japanese cinema will adore this movie. Everybody else might find the mixture of genres in here exotically exciting or simply exaggeratedly odd. Choose your camp and watch some trailers first before you spend any money on this film.
"Another Lonely Hit-Man" is an impressive gangster movie that is
somewhat different from the brutal mobster flicks of the seventies and
the lengthy epics of the current second wave. This transitional movie
between the two waves differs and that's what makes this film so
unique. Created by former adult movie director Rokuro Mochizuki and
featuring later star actor Ryo Ishibashi ("Audition" (1999), "The
Grudge" (2004), "Phoenix Wright - Ace Attorney" (2012)) as well as
future star director Miike Takashi ("Ichi The Killer" (2001), "Gozu"
(2003), "13 Assassins" (2010)) in a cameo, this surprising hit has
become some sort of an iconic cult movie among connoisseurs while it
never gained the international success it would have deserved.
Instead of giving us complex insights into different mafia families, this film follows the fate of the loyal hit-man Tachibana Takashi. Accompanied by his young daughter and under the influence of a heroin shot to feel more courageous, Tachibana kills a gangster boss in a restaurant before he gives himself in to the police and spends his next ten years in prison. When he gets out, his Yakuza family is the only thing he has left as former friends and family members turned their back on him. Haunted by the demons of his past and feelings of guilt, he meets other loners in an evolved world he fails to understand and accept. He crosses paths with a heroin addicted prostitute and a young gangster who openly admires him. Despite the fact that his Yakuza family offers him some money as well as a hotel room and a night with a prostitute, the hit-man can't identify with the family values anymore. His Yakuza clan doesn't follow its initial code of honour anymore and cares more about business contracts than moral values. What disturbs the hit-man most is how drug dealers have infiltrated the Yakuza. Tensions between him and his superiors arise and his new partner and him are soon isolated. Tachibana must take a crucial decision to give his wasted life a second chance and save those he feels responsible for.
"Another Lonely Hit-man" is a slow-paced character portrait and neo film noir that works a lot with cold camera angles, light effects, music samples and especially symbolism. The systematic chaos of urban infrastructures, the spartan designs and even ironically abandoned looking amusement parks are all symbols for the confusion, guilt and loneliness the hit-man feels. At the same time, he starts to fight his fate by becoming a better person. Even though many scenes look brutal and cold, the movie also has a few emotional and positive moments in comparison to many other genre flicks. This movie really has a message and a soul.
The philosophy behind this movie is not only carried by a great directorship but also by a truly authentic and unique acting by all involved actors. This is really an important element because you care about the characters as they have a beautiful side hidden underneath all their obvious ugliness. This movie perfectly shows us that one shouldn't judge a book by its cover.
Hollywood movie fans might feel irritated about the movie's slow pace but I adore the fact that this film really takes all the time it needs to tell us a story and develop the different characters without getting redundant or epic. The key elements of this movie are simple but effective because they are so authentic. This movie could easily be based on a true story.
The slow paced film is interrupted by some more vivid elements. These scenes include the surreal opening killing scene, the physical encounters between the main character and a rude pimp, an arrogant racketeers and a cheap drug dealer or the almost bipolar reactions by the prostitute to her imposed drug rehab. The cold realism of the movie is underlined by scenes where we see characters barfing, bleeding, crying, having sex, laughing, peeing, puking, swearing and more. These elements feel direct but never obscene or out-of-place and give the film an almost documentary touch.
My favourite part of the movie is though the last twenty minutes or so which feels like a road trip through the hit man's past and future. This last quarter of the movie was really touching. The fact that the ending is a little bit predictable is no big deal because this film is not an action movie or a simple thriller but a drama. The beginning and the end are less important than the odyssey in between them.
Open-minded fans of Japanese cinema and Yakuza flicks or those who like the drama and film noir genres in general can't get around this movie that has become a righteous classic over the past two decades. Those who are expecting an explosive gangster epic must look elsewhere.
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