City Hunter: The Motion Picture (of 1) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Friday, July 12, 2002
Release Date: Tuesday, July 23, 2002



What They Say
A mysterious soldier known only as the Professor takes his revenge on the government that betrayed him - and Tokyo is brought to its knees! Unless the government pays the Professor an impossible ransom, downtown Tokyo will be completely destroyed, and the Professor's beautiful sister will be the first to go! Only City Hunter - expert detective, master sharpshooter and shameless ladies' man - has the skills necessary to protect his city. The bullets fly furiously and the women have never been more tempting as City Hunter uses all his wits and charm to keep Tokyo from being blown sky high. City Hunter: The Motion Picture is an explosive drama that will rock your senses and blow you away!

The Review!
Another City Hunter movie and still no nookie for poor Ryo. He needs a new contract.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. Though fairly recent, it’s little more than a basic stereo mix with only a few moments of useful directionality. The majority of the track is pretty standard with everything having an overall full feeling. Dialogue is nice and clear and we noticed no distortions on either track.

Video:
Much like the City Hunter: Secret Service movie, it looks like this disc and the Skyworth and alternate angles just don’t get along. During the opening piece of animation, the opening itself and the first few minutes of the following scene, there’s a lot of staggered animation going through where it looks like the cels are stuttering across the screen. Apparently, depending on the language you select, you get the voice actors credited for that track in the video. The Skyworth and this disc just doesn’t jive well. Realizing it was the same issue, it was easy to clear up by stopping and resuming playback, putting everything back in synch. Other than this, the transfer looks good with solid colors, minimal aliasing and hardly any noticeable cross coloration.

Packaging:
An eye-catching cover, though with little animation to it, this release looks good. With blue and red color bands along the top and bottom, the center plays out an image of the city at night while Ryo and Kaori on top of that. The US logo looks good across the top as well. The back cover provides a couple of screenshots as well as a decent summary. What’s a plus in the summary is the avoidance of the whole Ryo/Joe naming problem, simply referring to him as the City Hunter. The discs features and extras are clearly listed as well as the production information. The insert provides another shot of the front cover while the back side lists the chapter selections, extras and previews.

Menu:
The main menu is a good looking static piece from the cover of Ryo, Kaori and the City background, Music plays along, but otherwise it’s a pretty simple menu with minimal selections. Access times are nice and fast and moving around is pretty straightforward.

Extras:
There’s a nice little selection of extras included with this release. The first is a clean opening and ending for the movie, which means you get the original City Hunter logo. Character bios for the main characters are done up as single pages and there’s about 90 seconds worth of the original Japanese TV spots, some more humorous than others.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After enjoying my first full on experience of City Hunter with the Secret Service movie, I was definitely looking forward to the “motion picture” release since the TV series isn’t coming for a while. Suffice to say, I wasn’t disappointed with it.

The general premise is a simple one. Japan’s police are on high alert for someone called the Professor whose just entered the country. Though they manage to lose him, they’re on continual lookout. He’s some sort of terrorist who was once a Japanese national, but has gone missing for years. We eventually learn his origins going back to some screwed up problems during the Gulf War, which leads to him going off on his own.

In a seemingly unrelated case, Ryo and Kaori take on the case of Makaze Emi. She’s concerned about someone trying to kill her and hires on the two. Being some of a famous entertainer, Ryo’s quickly attracted to her (once he recognizes her) and goes right into his typical mode of doing anything and everything to both keep her safe and close to him. Of course, the closer the better to fondle. But that’s where Kaori usually steps in with her massive amounts of armament. When Emi goes to show the two what her brother looks like, thinking he may be involved in this somehow, we find out that Professor is involved as he shows off some stunning marksmanship.

The two plots quickly become intertwined as we learn about the Professor’s plans to get back at the government by destroying Shinjuku unless they pay up ten billion yen. While this is the backdrop to the second half of the storyline, the forward thrust of it becomes the battle of wits and skill between the Professor and Ryo. Apparently the Professor has learned of Ryo over the years from various underground folks and has come to test his skills against him, and to take revenge and make some fast cash.

Running at just over an hour and a half, this is a fairly breezy movie that has some slow moments. Most of these are associated with Emi and her exploration of her past, but it’s all done well to serve up various motivations. Like any good City Hunter piece, the final third of the movie provides a great amount of action and chase sequences, though there’s some Speed elements mixed into this one. But outside of that, it’s done well enough that it’s fun to watch how they get out of these situations.

If there’s anything to complain about, it’s the dub. I found both Joe and the Professor to be pretty solid, and most of the other cast decent. Since it’s much less of a cultural show in general and more of an easily done Hollywood movie, it’s much more straightforward to produce. On the downside, they really cranked up the language in the dub. The sheer amount of swearing, which is nowhere on the Japanese track, is boggling. While it’s not an episode of the Osbournes or some infamous South Park episode, it was fairly close to most Hollywood action movies. And I personally don’t find that being true to the source material.

Barring that, especially if you only watch with the Japanese language track, you’ll be treated to a fun little time of escapism and attempted nookie.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Character bios,Original Japanese TV promos

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Skyworth 1050P Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.



Mania Grade: B+
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: B
Packaging Rating: B+
Menus Rating: B+
Extras Rating: B
Age Rating: 15 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: ADV Films
MSRP: 29.98
Running time: 90
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: City Hunter