Hero

No, I wasn’t about to discuss about some enigmatic being in black cape driving a bat shaped automobile of any sort, nor someone in red cape and underwear worn on the outside.

I just happened to return from a movie outing with the missus, she; in her usual movie buff persona (and a fan of Takuya Kimura) had been pestering me to watch the show for the past week, so I guess I had to oblige her, although I’ll really prefer some mindnumbing violence in the likes of 30 Days of Night after a dreary long week in the office. To be honest, I know pretty much next to nothing about the show except for the fact that this movie was actually a popular Japanese TV series, with a nice theme song by Utada Hikaru.

Not being a follower of the TV series franchise, kinda makes one feel like a reader trying to understand the life story of Harry Potter just by reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Nonetheless, the main idea of the story managed to pull through while leaving me (a first timer to the franchise) in proverbial dust trying to grasp at loose ends at secreted jokes and storylines.

          

The lack of understanding immediately shows at the start of the movie while Kuryu Kohei (Takuya Kimura) was watching some TV ad with a pseudo spanish soccer star promoting a spanish soccer review, a delivery man sent a package of you guess what? Yes, a box containing that review along with the soccer star’s figurine and a learn-spanish-as-you-go-along CD. Much to Kuryu’s dismal, the review is actually written in spanish, then realising that the CD is meant for the purpose to learn spanish in order to read the review. (At this point in time of the movie, my brain was actually screaming INANE! I am not exactly sure what other followers of the franchise might make out of this portion of the movie, but for me, its just a pure vacuous segment).

The inanity of meaningless (to me) plots continued with Kuryu and the rest of the public prosecuting team, watching a social dance competition with two of their colleagues participating in it Misuzu (Nene Otsuka) and Takayuki (Fumiyo Kohinata), with them crashing out of the tango competition after Takayuki attempted an ill-fated jump in the midst of their sequence, with the result of him being carried out on a stretcher with a sprained ankle; much to the consternation of Kuryu and the rest of the gang (and me; while pondering cluelessly if this had anything to do with the main plot).

The story finally moves on to the main plot, relating the return of Kuryu to the Tokyo public prosecutor office after six years of exile to the Yamaguchi prefecture, with Kuryu quickly picking up a manslaughter case after it was transferred to him from his colleague Shibayama (Hiroshi Abe) whom was embroiled in a divorce case. From the onset, the case looked straightforward with the suspect already confessed to the crime during the interview with Shibayama, while all Kuryu needs to do is to step forward to prosecute him, though little did he know that the suspect Umebayashi is going to be the key alibi for an ex-transport minister Hanaoka whom was being investigated for corruption in the background.

The prosecution then snagged on tripwire as the suspect denied involvement in the killing of the victim, pushing the case from a simple prosecution of a confessed suspect into a full-blown litigation. The story then proceeded apace, while drearily prancing through its steps as the prosecution were continually foiled by the expert defense of the virtuoso lawyer in the likes of Goma (Koshiro Matsumoto) – whom was actually hired by Hanaoka. While the prosecuting team, Kuryu and Amamiya was forced to travel to Korea, in order to find new evidence to prove Umebayashi’s manslaughter case.

The whole Korean segment, beyond the scenes that they were searching relentlessly for an evidence, it was more about setting up both Kuryu and Amamiya together as a couple than anything else. With Lee Byung-Hun being thrust into the cameo role as inspector Kang, with scenes lasting no longer than a few minutes in the final quarter of the movie, him being there was just so to provide a catchline for the main casts’ final scene. The final part of the movie had Hanaoka being thrust into the limelight as he was being summoned as a prosecution witness against Umebayashi, where he had his own statement given in his own corruption case turned against him as he had named Umebayashi as his alibi; which was proven to the contrary.

The story ended with Kuryu and Amamiya sitting in a restaurant, where Kuryu had the parting words of inspector Kang translated by a Travelmaster (a translation device), telling him not to leave Amamiya. He then said in spanish promising her that he wouldn’t, with the ending scene stopped at the frame where the both of them were locked in a kiss.

I would have to the say that the story is entertaining with its very own saccharine sweet silliness coupled with a crowd winning working class hero in the likes of Takuya Kimura, I mean, he is extremely charming in his own peculiar sense. While I do not even honestly believe that an actual courtroom scene in Tokyo could even be enacted as such as in the movie (or even perhaps the TV series). The main plotline is followable with the main characters chasing around for key evidences to convict the suspect while imparting the message that the truth is out there and justice is always available should one is willing to push hard enough for it. What is hard to follow, was the numerous apparent subplots that are only accessible to followers of the TV series such as the travelmaster thingy (from what I was told), while the rest of us (the newcomers) are left scratching our heads in apparent confusion.

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~ by azmodeus on December 1, 2007.

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