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Assassination Classroom - Movie Poster
Original Title:
Ansatsu Kyoshitsu

Japan 2015

Action, Comedy

Eiichiro Hasumi

Ryosuke Yamada
Masaki Suda
Maika Yamamoto
Kippei Shiina
Seishiro Kato
Kang Ji-Young
Mio Yuki
Seika Taketomi
Miku Uehara
Kanna Hashimoto
Masanobu Takashima
Kazunari Ninomiya

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Assassination Classroom

Assassination Classroom - Film Screenshot 1

Story: An unknown tentacle monster has destroyed half of the moon. The military isn't capable of killing the monster. In fact, there seems to be nothing that could pose a threat to the monster since it displays incredible speed. The monster wants to do the same to earth which it did to the moon, but it agrees to participate in a game. If the students of class 3-E should be able to kill it in their last year at school, the planet would be saved. The monster, which is named Korosensei by the students, wants to become the class' teacher and has pledged to never harm any of the students, who in return are allowed to do everything in their power to kill their teacher. Class 3-E is actually the tail-light of the school, but Korosensei proves to be a competent teacher. Still, the students are more interested in the 10 billion reward for the death of the monster. Extraordinary fighter Karma (Masaki Suda) seems to have the best chance of being successful. However, Nagisa (Ryosuke Yamada) approaches the matter with his head and in the long run seems to have the best cards in the game. Under the supervision of Tadaomi Karasuma (Kippei Shiina) the military sends additional "transfer students", though, who are all trained to kill Korosensei...

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Assassination Classroom - Film Screenshot 4

Review: When it comes to such an absurd story like the one of "Assassination Classroom" you can either expect a ridiculous action comedy which doesn't do any justice to its manga original or a thoroughly respectable adaption of the original which just lacks a few important elements. Luckily, latter one is the case here. Considering what the plot is about, a nearly invincible tentacle monster which request is to become a teacher, this is actually a miracle. The movie remains entertaining all the way throughout, yet you will wonder if the flick can in fact deliver more than what its initial plot promises. And as not to be expected otherwise the manga adaption disappoints in this respect. The story remains quite shallow and the characters would have benefitted from more elaboration, too.

Assassination Classroom - Film Screenshot 5

"Assassination Classroom" misses to fully make use of its potential and this becomes soon apparent in its characters. Instead of shedding some light on a few of them, there are more and more characters introduced, who all seem quite promising, but don't get much on-screen time. Therefore, almost all of their personalities are nothing to write home about. This particularly includes Nagisa as well. He is supposed to be a born assassin, even though you might not assume this at first sight. The only problem is that we aren't convinced of this even at second sight. Apart from that he analyzes his potential victims, he doesn't stand out with any special skills. It's the same when it comes to Karma or the rest of the group. Korosensei would have deserved a bit more depth as well, although he did get the most character elaboration of them all.

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It doesn't necessarily help that the cast mainly consists of young actors/actresses and J-Pop idols. The acting achievements aren't anywhere near being unbearable and actually can be called solid in a positive manner, but naturally the individuals don't get more distinctive this way. Solely over-the-top action isn't enough to help "Assassination Classroom" surpass its absurd plot. Especially since the action isn't that over-the-top after all and moreover isn't to be found that often in the film as you might assume. There is also a bit of a lack of inventiveness that you come to expect if you have to kill an unbeatable being. There are certainly a few attempts, but they surely aren't truely original. This is in fact fatal in a way since this is where the movie has to deliver something extraordinary.

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At some point we actually do get some more background information. At least that's what it looks like. But every time when our interest is piqued the story departs from the main thread. Accordingly, we are soon quite aware that the flick saves a lot of its material for the sequel and this leaves a nasty taste in your mouth. Naturally, the movie also gets more dramatic and the students' reluctance to kill their teacher since they start to hold him dear is apparent miles in advance. What's problematic in this respect, too, is that the teacher lacks real ambivalance in his personality. It may seem at first as if he would take out a whole army in cold blood, but later on we only get to see the likable side of the teacher and can't imagine any different than his promise to destroy the world just being a bad joke.

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Positive to note are the special effects, though, which transfer an obvious comic being into the real world and so push the absurdity factor even more to the limit. Actingwise there could have been done more in the movie, although with Kippei Shiina ("Shinobi: Heart under Blade", "Outrage") there has at least been an attempt to integrate some more serious acting into the picture. As already stated "Assassination Classroom" fails concerning its story and particularly its characters, which remain way too shallow for us to care about them. However, this manga adaption is still a fun ride. It just would have been nice if there had been a bit more action and substance, maybe even a a little bit of motivated drama around Korosensei. As things are you get the impression as if you have to wait for the second installment for this.

(Author: Manfred Selzer)
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