If you’re a Japanese drama serial fan, the title of this film would be no stranger to you.
HERO, the movie, is the sequel to the 2001 Japanese drama of the same name, starring Takuya Kimura and Takako Matsu, who reprise their roles in the film version. Besides sticking to the original cast, almost every single detail remains the same from the Prosecuter’s Office Josai Branch to the jacket Takuya wears.. It’s bound to bring back memories of the serial.

If you’ve never caught the drama, however, fret not. You’ll still enjoy the movie as it is starting on a new episode with a novel investigation case. It kept to the same equation of wit, humour and action which made the drama serial so successful.

The Hero’s Odd Obsession

The movie starts off with our hero, Kuryu Kohei (Kimura), lounging at home, all excited to receive the soccer collectibles he purchased from the television shopping channel. When delivered, all the items are in Spanish, and he has to learn the language from a CD that came with the package in order to understand them. With scenes that get you laughing out loud, HERO is a comedy right from the start.


The Storyline

Kuryu is a public prosecutor who dresses and works differently from the others. Though expected to be in suits, he’s often caught wearing jeans and sweaters, showing that he does not conform. He is also adamant about uncovering truth and obstinate about punishing the guilty and freeing the innocent. He goes an extra mile to care for the victims, visiting them every now and then, even though that’s not required of him.

Amemiya Maiko (Matsuo) is Kuryu’s assistant clerk who always stands by him. Together, they crack cases with his “unconventional ways”. Being straightforward and forthcoming, she never fails to squabble with Kuryu over the most trivial of matters, such as Kuryu constantly using his iPod shuffle. Their bickering appears sweet and entertaining in the eyes of the audience.

After being separated for 6 years due to Kuryu being away for “professional exile”, the 2 leads are finally back together at Tokyo Prosecutor’s office,Josai Branch. This time, they have to face a manslaughter case that proves to be a challenge for Kuryu, who is well known for handling hard-hitting cases.

Depicting how tough a case can get and how hard prosecutors work, Kuryu and Amemiya struggle to overcome the many obstacles that come hurdling towards them. Despite that, the team of prosecutors in Josai Branch comes together to help bring justice to light. Their perseverance and strong teamwork turned the tables around.

Collaboration with Korean Superstar

As an example of cross-country and cross-cultural movie, HERO collaborates with Korea’s superstar Lee Byung Hun, who plays the elite Korean Chief Public prosecutor, Prosecutor Kang, whom Kuryu and Amemiya travel to Korea to seek help from during the investigation. Prosecutor Kang’s an influential man, often not in the office, resulting in his assistant who speaks Japanese helping out the two passionate Korean prosecutors. Nevertheless, Lee Byung Hun makes a grand entrance and saved the day when Kuryu and Amemiya face a huge hurdle in their investigation.

Our Verdict

This is a comedy that will spark off vivacious laughter from the audience. A memorable scene was when Kuryu was at a departmental store, sniffing countless bottles of perfumes, trying to figure out the brand that Amemiya’s wearing after 6 years of separation. Being engrossed, Kuryu only realises that all the female shoppers within the vicinity were crowding around in bewilderment after his exclamation of finding the correct scent.

Director Masayuki Suzuki crafts a fast-paced film with scenes that change swiftly and abruptly from the start, which may be the cause for confusion, so pay close attention to avoid getting lost in the plot.

Although this movie was supposed to conclude the drama serial as well as the 2-hour special edition aired in summer 2006 in Japan, UrbanWire suspects that there might be more as there’s no concrete suggestion as to how the story ends when Kuryu and Amemiya kissed after much anticipation. Will they continue to do greater good for the public as a couple at the workplace or what’s their life will be like if they ever got married? That’s something for us to ponder upon.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Movie Details:

Opens : Nov 22
Running Time: 130 mins
Language: Japanese with English and Chinese subtitles
Cast: Takuya Kimura, Takako Matsu, Hiroshi Abe
Director: Masayuki Suzuki
Website: http://www.encorefilms.com/hero/