Review: Films Set In Japan – ‘Tokyo Raiders’ (2000)

If you were to ask me who my favourite Chinese actor is then I’d probably have to say Tony Leung. Don’t read too much into that though as its only because he has appeared in nearly all of the (very small amount of) Chinese films I’ve seen such as ‘Chungking Express‘ (1994) and ‘Infernal Affairs‘ (2002) as well as this film which is famed for being the last film ever released on LaserDisc in Japan.

Anyway, its time to take a little detour from the usual western productions ‘set’ in Japan which are predominantly covered in this category. Running out of films to review? Nope, just padding the series out a bit!! The film starts, as it continues throughout, with some fun, fast paced action in Shinjuku outside the Tokyo Milano building where a fairly ridiculous action scene with Leung using his umbrella to fight off a gang uses up nearly nine minutes. The film then flicks to Las Vegas where Macy (Kelly Chen) is jilted at the altar on her wedding day by her fiancé Ken and so she journeys to Hong Kong to find him. However, she only meets interior designer Yung (Ekin Cheng) who decorated their apartment (and who also happens to be pretty good at kung fu too!) and is wanting his payment. Together they head to Tokyo to track down the guy but they aren’t the only ones!

They soon discover that Ken had many underworld connections and that some very bad men are after him and they want to use her in order to help find him. For some reason, private investigator Lin (Leung) and a bevy of Asian beauties are on hand to help them as everything converges in Tokyo (and Yokohama) amid endless contrived fight scenes with acrobatics. The slow motion and rotating camera work is all very much in the mould of your typical John Woo movie and I can’t say that these editing techniques are really my thing. This is all accompanied by some frenzied Spanish sounding latino music which I also wasn’t such a fan of as I didn’t feel it really suited the action on screen.

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This film features Hiroshi Abe who is a rarity for me, a Japanese actor that I actually know and recognise having seen him star ‘Thermae Romane‘; a Japanese time travelling film which I saw on a plane sometime last year. All I can say is that his acting has sure got better over the last decade! In this film his gang boss character Takeshi Ito tries to be intimidating but ends up coming over as a nervous, foolish person with a bad cold! He wasn’t the only one I didn’t take to as I felt the main man himself Tony Leung (my favourite Chinese actor remember!) came up short and was maybe not as smooth and charismatic as one would hope for such a role.

A sequel called ‘Seoul Raiders‘ followed five years later which could have paved the way for a ‘…Raiders‘ movie to be made in a load of other Asian (or even world) cities but thankfully that never happened. For the 99p I paid for it I think I got value for money!

Tokyo Fox Rating 5/10

 

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