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Film ● Mini-Review: The Fable

English Title: The Fable

Japanese Title: ザ・ファブル

Director(s): Eguchi Kan

Screenwriter(s): Watanabe Yusuke

Released: 2019

Runtime: 2h 3m

The Fable (ザ・ファブル)

● Based on the manga by Minami Katsuhisa, it follows the hitman referred to as the “Fable” (Okada Junichi). The criminal underworld knows of his existence but very few know his identity. He is told to lay low for a year and not kill anyone. So he and his assistant (Kimura Fumino), now as siblings Sato Akira and Sato Yoko, try to settle into an “ordinary” life in Osaka. Of course, staying low is not easy when targeted by criminals. The film is ultimately about this conflict.

● The premise makes it sound like a black comedy with deadpan and slapstick. Whilst there is some of that, it is not entirely like that. It would arguably be better if it is but it is nonetheless a sufficiently amusing and enjoyable film.

● Perhaps the biggest hurdle is the main character. He is not the clichéd “honorable assassin” or the “criminal seeking redemption”. He is rather presented as amoral, as if he just doesn’t know better due to his very unconventional upbringing. We all have a conscience so that is difficult to believe. In any case, he is not cruel or devious by nature and he has this childlike naivety that is amusing but the comedy does not take full advantage of it.

● The production is solid. The visual effects are detectable as such but nothing off-putting. Although there are John Wick moments, it is not heavily stylized, relying on the steady pacing and good performances of the main characters. Okada in particular is very good at deadpan.

“Sato Yoko” (Kimura Fumino) and “Sato Akira” (Okada Junichi)
“Sato Yoko” (Kimura Fumino) and “Sato Akira” (Okada Junichi)

This mini-review is part of the collection for Taken clones and derivatives.


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