17 July 2012 | kluseba
An honest and a diversified movie despite its flaws
Many critics didn't appreciate this movie. They mentioned the thin plot. They said that the movie contained too many stereotypes. They complained about thin dialogues throughout the movie. They criticized the editing of the action scenes. They said the movie was too slow paced.
All these critics are partially right. Nevertheless, I truly enjoyed this movie. For a debut movie, Christophe Gans did the best he can with a very low budget.
Even though a lot of scenes were turned in Canada or in the studios, the movie still has an exotic touch as it is set in Seattle in the United States of America first, later in the beautiful city of Vancouver, Canada and towards the end even in mainland China as well as in different places in Japan.
Apart of the settings, the corpse paintings are well done, the Asian costumes are well chosen and the fight scenes with or without arms have some kind of aestheticism at some points without being too pretentious.
The rather unknown actors at that time with the charismatic Mark Dacascos and the solid Julie Condra also did a good effort. Even though the story is not always credible and somewhat predictable, the connection between the two main actors is definitely there. They have known each other on the set of this film and became a couple that actually married and got three children until today. That's why the soft love story is more than just professional acting as it seems and surprisingly authentic.
The movie is in fact a real life adaption of a famous manga and anime series but in comparison to many similar adaptations, this kind of movie can also easily please to those that don't know the original. I usually dislike the whole manga phenomenon. I think it's overrated and has taken the place of many other and more intriguing cultural aspects of Japan. It's a little bit like sushi as there are so many better Japanese foods than this one. But I happened to adore this movie without caring for its origins. A fan of the original series may analyze this flick from a wholly different point of view.
This movie is basically a solid action movie with a good dose of suspense, different exotic cultural elements flawed by a few stereotypes, some soft porn moments that never get too far but also some calm and quiet parts with emotional moments that give the characters some depth and development. The balance between fast paced passages and slow moods is well found in my opinion. Fans of intelligent suspense flicks may find this movie too simple. Action fans would like to see more martial arts aspects. But those who like more than just a couple of genres will surely adore this movie as a whole and recognize its diversity.
The movie won't win a price for exquisite and philosophical dialogues but I prefer the quiet silent and mysterious character of a skilled killer that has fallen in love with his victim to one of those films with endless chatting and pretentiously cool proverbs at each three minutes. I prefer the rude shooting scenes and the rare but well done martial arts moments to car chases without an end, big set explosions or soulless computer effects. This movie is rather grounded and simple. It's easy to watch. But it's sympathetic and still varies to be intriguing enough to watch this flick more than just once.
Anybody that likes a simple but honest action movie with a romantic side story and some exotic Asian elements in a reasonable running time, should try this film out. Anybody that is waiting for something explosive, innovating or profound should go for a bigger production.
Normally I would just give this film seven points but it had a certain kind of magic that is hard to describe but that really addicted me. I already feel the need to watch this movie again. I would also like to show it to some of my mates which doesn't happen very often. This flick is a surprising little gem.