Monday, April 19, 2010

Jmovie review: Amalfi: Rewards of the Goddess

Oda Yuji. Amami Yuki. Koichi Sato. Toda Erika. Otsuka Nene. Densha and the director of Suspect X, one of my favourite movies which would have been perfect if Shibasaki Kou's role had been edited out. Such star power and acting chops assembled in a jmovie is rare. Ok, I wouldn't consider Oda Yuji and Densha good actors but Oda is a movie draw in Japan. The reason for this movie is to celebrate Fuji TV's 50 anniversary. Kuroda (Oda Yuji) has just been transferred personnel of the Japanese Embassy in Italy. Hardly any background is given but he seems to be in high demand and is high skilled in everything. Yes, Kuroda is your Steven Seagal/Van Damme former Navy Seal character except they don't even bother to clarify what training he has had.

Yup, Galileo in another glorified cameo.

Amami Yuki is in Italy on a holiday with her daughter but she is kidnapped. Kuroda gets involved when the kidnappers call to demand ransom and thus begins a pretty exciting 1st hour of kidnapping drama. The first half of the movie is awesome. Lots of running around, trying to trace the kidnappers and high tension. Its pretty hard to fuck up a ransom movie. Through it all, Oda Yuji is super calm so we don't give a fuck about him and Amami Yuji is a wreck so we don't care about her either. Her total lack of brain cell usage in her decisions destroyed all empathy. I know most mothers would make the same decision in real life but this is a freaking movie. Characters need to exhibit some sort of logical thinking or else the audience will not care.

Lots of great shots of Italy and surprisingly the movie is like a tourist warning about pickpockets and kidnapping there. I was impressed with the first half. Amalfi doesn't look like a cheap dorama production and looks very solid. Then the second half came and we have this stupid 'action' scene with guns that fucking does nothing for this movie. Its a complete waste of time and completely stupid. Kuroda had no good reason to do what he did. Its like the writer decided, hey we just killed the tension from the kidnapping story so we need something to kill time until the ending.

Toda Erika probably realising that her character is redundant.

And what a pathetically stupid ending. It was all some stupid elaborate plan to shut down computerised security for some function. The whole chain of events of the plan cannot possibly be planned. Even if we accept that the plan may be possible, we get stupid terrorists who seem to want to reveal the truth rather than get revenge. Maybe someone should tell them that they can create their own website or even go to the press with their story. All that crazy planning to get the system turned off and they couldn't even execute their plan at the end or foresee the fact that if they want justice, they shouldn't kill him.

Toda Erika's character is totally useless in this. She serves no purpose in this and her lines should have been given to various other characters. Otsuka Nene is basically a cameo. I can't say to avoid this movie at all costs because though the movie falls apart in the second half, its was pretty enjoyable for me to watch a Japanese movie with such technical competence in the way the movie looks. Perhaps part of the reason is that it was completely shot in Italy and they used Italian crew members. On the other hand, its because the movie looks good and has so many stars that the flaws in the script are greatly magnified. Amalfi: Rewards of the Goddess is a movie that tries to do to much that it doesn't know what it is. Ransom movie in the first half but the second is neither a triller nor an action movie.

No comments: