Thursday, April 16, 2009

Shinjuku Accident

I have never watched a Chinese (or non-English) films in the cinema before. However, by a turn of events, I ended up joining Phui Yan and Yee San for the US$ 25 million Shinjuku Incident with a stellar cast of Jackie Chan, Daniel Wu and Fan Bingbing.

In the 90's, there was a flood of Chinese illegal immigrants in Japan. Steelhead (Jackie Chan) headed to Japan in search of his girlfriend Xiu Xiu (Xu Jinglei). He joins his timid friend, Jie (Daniel Wu) and settles into life as an illegal immigrant in the Shinjuku district. However, he finds out Xiu Xiu has already married Eguchi (Masaya Kato) - a yakuza leader and has borne a daughter. Jie, on the other hand, undergoes a drastic emotional change after he was badly disfigured and loses a hand after being beaten up by a fellow Chinese with yakuza protection. After saving Eguchi's life, Steelhead is drawn into the triad world as Eguchi's alliance. He gains legal status in Japan and power over several territories together with his fellow immigrants. They promised peace and unity in their territory, but as usual, power brings in moral decay.

Comments!: The movie is drama-filled and Jackie Chan (for once) doesn't partake in any show of martial arts. Sure, he does fight, but it was far from kung fu, which created a different twist to it. There was lots of violence - blood and gore - especially the part when Jie loses his hand. They actually showed the bloody stub! I couldn't help but find Wu's Phua Chu Kang-curled hair funny. After his disfigurement, he adopted a sort of Harajuku fashion and become all emo and narcotic-filled. The audience was more tickled by it than anything else.

One of my favourite characters would be Kitano (Naoto Takenaka), a detective who crossed paths with Steelhead several times while giving chase to a group of illegal immigrants. A grudging respect develops between the two of them. With Steelhead's help, Kitano is able to break a major narcotics case involving the yakuza.

Masaya Kato who plays Eguchi - head of Sanwa-kai - has an air about him that makes you unable to hate him despite being the baddie.

Overall - action, drama and blood - this movie kept me entertained for the whole 2 hours. Certainly better than 'Twilight' where I kept checking my watch.

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