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Film ● Review: City Hunter

English Title: City Hunter

Japanese Title: シティーハンター

Director(s): Sato Yuichi

Screenwriter(s): Mishima Tatsuro

Studio: Office Shirous

Released: 2024

Runtime: 1h 42m

Starring: Suzuki Ryohei, Morita Misato, Hanamura Asuka, Kimura Fumino, Ando Masanobu

My Verdict: Tight action-comedy. It is a bit silly but it’s meant to be. Nicely lit and shot.

City Hunter

● Based on the manga of the same name written and illustrated by Hojo Tsukasa released between 1985 and 1991, this film is the latest of many screen adaptations. Please note that I have not read the manga so the review is purely of the film.

● Saeba Ryo (Suzuki Ryohei) is a private detective operating in Tokyo. His partner Makimura Hideyuki (Ando Masanobu) dies, leaving behind his younger sister Kaori (Morita Misato). As expected, she wants answers and revenge. Whilst Saeba is patient and does not wish to involve her, Kaori is stubborn and impatient. The plot follows the two trying to solve the mystery which, of course, involves big players…

● This is an action-comedy. Although it displays the city nightlife, it avoids the overtly gritty tone that often comes with detective stories, visually and otherwise.

● Saeba is skilled in hand-to-hand combat and firearms. But what makes him stand out is that he is simply a horny pervert who doesn’t hide it. He gets away with it because he is good at his job, he goes after scumbags, and almost everyone he comes across is a pervert anyway. (They’re just different or maybe hide it better.)

Saeba Ryo (Suzuki Ryohei)
Saeba Ryo (Suzuki Ryohei)
Kaori (Morita Misato)
Kaori (Morita Misato)

● Much of the comedy is from the absurdity of this pervert going around beating people up. It is not laugh-out-loud from start to finish, but it is amusing. As a matter of personal taste, it could use more black comedy. In any case, because of the action, the text has a certain energy.

● Visually, it is well done. It is slick. The colors are solid without being overtly saturated like some K-Dramas (not that there is anything wrong with that). Every shot looks nice in terms of the matching of the different colors and their composition within the shot as well as the lighting.

● The action is stylized with the occasional slow motion. This is thankfully not overdone and what is done is fitting to the overall tone. It is not meant to be John Wick nor does it try to be. There are a few instances in which the choreography can be better thought out and the film editing clearer but it is mostly well-executed.

● As a character, Saeba is too good, even for the genre. On a related note, although one doesn’t expect much in a feature-length action-comedy, he doesn’t do enough detective work. He does go around asking questions and he has a contact in the police force, that is part of the work, but it is not substantial enough. As such, the plot is not nonsensical, it’s just some of the events/expositions come across as little convenient.

● If one is a fan of the genre, then this is not a bad film. The structure is tight and it is, in more ways than one, a colorful ride.


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