Monday, October 23, 2006

[Japanese Film Fest] Scarred Angels (Kizu Darake No Tenshi)

Scarred Angels DVD Cover

Scarred Angels left me scarred, as to what it is trying to say.

It's based on a television series from the 1970s of the same title, and because I hadn't existed yet, I couldn't tell if it stuck close to the series, or revamped it for the modern times. The synopsis looked interesting enough, but I wasn't prepared at how much more is covered in the movie, that made it seem like it's heading nowhere.

Sure, the crutch here is the theme of friendship, and looking at the movie, the relationship between the main protagonists, Ace Intelligence Agency private detective Mitsuru (Etsushi Toyokawa) and his partner Hisashi (Kuroudo Maki), is nothing short of the buddy-buddy friendship of many detective stories out there. But wait, this movie is nothing to do with investigations or crime.

Instead, down and out Mitsuru, working on possibly one of his last assignments, chances upon a dying mob boss, and makes a reluctant promise to delivery his son to his ex-wife. The first half of the movie dwells on this mission, done road trip style where the three characters play off one another's shortcomings in illicit some laughs. Most of the jokes, few and far between, fall flat, and imagine this, there's a scene that looked like Nacho Libre gone totally wrong.

Scarred Angels became a victim of trying to squeeze too much material into too short a time, thus exhibiting an obvious lost in focus and direction. Perhaps in trying to demystify or debunk rumours that Mitsuru and Hisashi aren't gay, an unconvincing, boring, uneventful hint of a romance with a beautician gets thrown into the fray. Not that I'm complaining about the eye candy, but really, it's more of a distraction from the main plot, and when issues finally get resolved, the open ended relationship continued to chug along and added to an unnecessary run time of close to 2 hours.

I can't think of any scene that is memorable, or worth raving about. Character wise too, there is nothing that stands out. It's kind of plain and evenly keeled, with little ups and downs, with nary a character development, or anything in the movie that will cause you to silently applaud.

We've just passed the 1/3 mark of the festival, and so far I have only thoroughly enjoyed one show - Robocon. Hope things do pick up from here, and tomorrow, Kitano Takeshi movies will be featured the entire day. Hope they don't disappoint!

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