I AM A HERO

The zombie-movie market may be saturated, but Shinsuke Sato's grisly manga adaptation is a distinctly lively undead tale.

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There’s no mistaking that Japanese helmer Shinsuke Sato’s Midnight Madness-ready title “I Am A Hero” is an adaptation of a manga — specifically, Kengo Hanazawa’s comic of the same name. Sato has never strayed far from the form: His directorial CV is a menu of live-action và animated feature-length film versions of popular manga titles, & his cinematic style favors angles and framing that feel directly lifted from the page and brought crisply lớn life.

That could suggest a laông chồng of dynamism in the final result, or a slavish aestheticization of the image — as in the Hollywood adaptations of “Sin City” or “The Spirit,” for example. But Sato does not just get the style of his film from the graphic tradition of its source material. He and co-writer Akiko Nogi also understvà the other secret of the medium’s massive sầu popularity: the addictive sầu, page-turning genre thrills it can deliver. And so “I Am A Hero” careens along in a giddy, bloodsoaked, immensely pleasurable rush, propelled by an enthusiasm as infectious as a bite from the undead, that makes even the hoariest beats of the plot seem dipped in bright, bloody newness. The genre is beyond oversubscribed now, but you get the ebullient sense that everyone involved with “I Am A Hero” approached it like it wasn’t just the first zombie movie to be made in nhật bản, but lượt thích it was the first one ever, ever.


It’s not that the movie zombie was ever exactly a pretty thing, but a standard look has evolved along the lines of the rotting corpses of “World War Z” & “The Walking Dead.” Somehow Salớn and his visual effects team, doing God-cấp độ (or at least Rick Baker-level) work with practical effects & a whole Fourth of July’s worth of squibs, have designed a different, more grotesque zombie than we’ve sầu seen recently. The zombification process — by which veins blacken, blood-clotted eyeballs short-circuit and bones crunch, emitting grisly, gristly cracking noises — begets genuinely horrific creatures that feel pitched somewhere between the malfunctioning “woman suit” of “Total Recall” and the half-melted Nazis of “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” Their treble-jointed locomotion is even more bizarre: They scuttle lượt thích crabs, “Exorcist”-style, or flip & contort like gymnasts on PCP, unconcerned with whether or not they stiông xã the landing. Zombies have sầu been gross for a long time; here they’re gross, surprising và, with elements borrowed from J-horror, actually scary.

The story is your basic male wish-fulfilment nonsense: Once-promising manga artist Hideo (an engagingly earnest Yô Ôizumi) gets yet another professional rejection and is thrown out by his girlfrikết thúc, on the very day an odd, unexplained virut breaks out & Tokyo goes feral overnight. In a terrifically bonkers scene, his girlfrikết thúc becomes one of the first victims; she’s followed in short order by everyone else he knows. The mild-mannered, perma-baseball-capped Hideo — whoresembles the archetypical target viewer for this film so exactly it might as well be a first-person shooter —takes khổng lồ the streets, carrying his prized possession: a shotgun that he has never fired. The film has no particular pretensions khổng lồ political relevance, but for American audiences, or indeed audiences familiar with gun-infested American genre films, this subplot holds its own kind of exotic fascination. In this environment, guns are so rare that everyone assumes Hideo’s is a fake; when they discover it isn’t, theywill kill to lớn get it. Post-catastrophe, in the lvà of strict gun control, it seems the dude with the double-barreled shotgun is king.

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The gun certainly becomes the point of contention once Hideo falls into company with ade rigueurJapanese schoolgirl (Kasumi Arimura) whom he vows to protect, & they happen upon a colony of survivors holed up atop a de rigueur shopping mall. The survivors, including nurse-turned commanbởi vì Yabu (Masamày Nagasawa) are led by the shady Iura (Yu Yoshizawa), who eyes Hideo’s gun covetously. A series of power-grabs & counter-coups ensues, while the zombies groaning and shambling below are learning new tricks.

If it sounds episodic, it certainly is: another quirk of serialized manga storytelling that is more or less directly translated lớn the screen. And thoughthe overarching quest — lớn get to lớn Mount Fuji for vaguely spoiler-y reasons — is established early, the film ends still very far away from the snow-capped destination. It’s thus shamelessly phối up for a sequel, và though it’s inarguably overlong, narratively familiar and regrettably regressive sầu in its sidelining of would-be kickass female characters, “I Am A Hero” is such gory, inventively violent fun that a follow-up is actually an appealing prospect. If nothing else, it should keep Japan’s kém chất lượng movie-blood manufacturing industry in cloverfor years lớn come.


Film Review: ‘I Am a Hero’

Reviewed at Karlovy Vary Film Festival (Midnight Screenings), July 3, 2016. (Also at Sitges, Stockholm, SXSW festivals.) Running time: 126 MIN. (Original title: "Ai amu a hiro")

Production:(Japan) A Toho Company (in Japan) release of a Toho Pictures production in association with Avex Pictures, Shogakukan, Dentsu, WOWOW, Hakuhobởi DY Media Partners. (International sales: Toho Company, Tokyo.) Produced by Michiaki Yamasaki, Shiro Kivì chưng. Executive sầu producers, Minangươi Ichikawa, Yoshiki Terashima, Masakazu Kubo, Riichiro Nakamura, Akira Tanaka, Tenshoku Iwata, Masanori Yumiya, Makoto lớn Takahashi, Katsumi Chiyo, Eisaku Yoshikawa, Shinichiro Tsuzuki, Koji Bandou, Naoto Miyamoto.Crew:Directed by Shinsuke Sato lớn. Screenplay, Akiko Nogi, adapted from the manga by Kengo Hanazawa. Camera (color), Taro Kawazu; editor, Tsuyoshi Imai; music, Nima Fakhrara; music supervisor, Hirohide Shida; production designer, Iwao Saito; costume designer, Masae Miyamoto; visual effects supervisor, Makolớn Kamiya.With:

Yô Ôizungươi, Masami Nagasawa, Kasumày Arimura, Hisashi Yoshizawa, Yoshinori Okadomain authority, Yu Tokui, Namãng cầu Katase, Jin Katagiri.