AsianMovieWeb logo
City Hunter - Movie Poster
Original Title:
City Hunter

Japan 2024

Action, Comedy

Yuichi Sato

Ryohei Suzuki
Misato Morita
Masanobu Ando
Asuka Hanamura
Fumino Kimura
Isao Hashizume
Tetta Sugimoto
Ayame Misaki
Takaya Sakoda

Search AsianMovieWeb

City Hunter

City Hunter - Film Screenshot 1

Story: Ryo Saeba (Ryohei Suzuki) is known as the City Hunter. He is respected and feared by the underworld. He uses a bulletin board to land various jobs, which he works on together with his partner Hideyuki Makimura (Masanobu Ando), an ex-cop. At the moment they are looking for the girl Kurumi (Asuka Hanamura), who has suddenly disappeared from the radar. Ryo finds her in the clutches of a gang, but Kurumi manages to escape after Ryo incapacitates her kidnappers. In doing so, she shows some supernatural physical abilities. Hideyuki picks up a few vials that the girl lost while fleeing. The blue liquid it contains leads him to think that there is a connection between some people in the city, who repeatedly become violent and seem to have superhuman strength, and this drug. Before the ex-cop can clear things up, though, he meets up with his sister Kaori (Misato Morita) in a restaurant, where he is fatally injured out of nowhere by a madman who also seems to have taken the drug. Before he dies, he is able to hand over the vials to Ryo and ask him to take care of his sister. While Kaori is mourning in the following days, it looks like Ryo is still just having fun with escorts. Kaori confronts him, but it turns out that he is also gathering information in the entertainment district. Eventually, the two coincidentally find Kurumi, who is the only one who could give them more information.

Filmroll City Hunter - Film Screenshot 2 City Hunter - Film Screenshot 3 Filmroll
City Hunter - Film Screenshot 4

Review: When you talk about "City Hunter", you can't help but think of the Jackie Chan/Wong Jing movie adaptation which was real 90s Hong Kong slapstick/action cinema. A flick that will never be forgotten for one reason only: it included probably the best "Street Fighter" tribute ever put on screen. But did the movie really have anything to do with the manga by Tsukasa Hojo? Probably not, and now we get a new movie adaptation from Japan, which manages to surprise quite neatly on several levels. On the one hand, there's the humor, which actually pulls off transferring manga silliness into a live-action adaptation without becoming embarrassing - on the contrary, "City Hunter" is actually really funny sometimes. On the other hand, there is also the hard-hitting action, which stands out with great choreography and clever ideas. In addition, the characters are pretty lovable, which is quite a balancing act with the always lecherous protagonist. On the negative side, however, there is a story that seems to have been taken straight out of a B-movie. But since it is more of an accessory, you can get over it most of the time.

City Hunter - Film Screenshot 5

In the first quarter of an hour, until the actual opening credits roll, "City Hunter" manages to give you a perfect preview of what you have to expect of the little over 100 minutes to come. A colorful mix of merciless action and slapstick humor at its highest. Every now and then the flick can get quite violent, but what led to an incoherent tone in the HK movie adaptation fits together surprisingly well in this version. Maybe that's because right from the beginning Ryo is portrayed as someone who drools after women and likes to make a fool of himself, but also has his cold side as a hard-nosed guy who has seen everything in life. I assume, acting as a lecherous pervert is his outlet to preserve his humanity. Fans of the manga will probably be able to provide more information on that. Ryohei Suzuki ("Tokyo Tribe") definitely manages to thrive in the leading role and portrays the two opposite sides perfectly. What is particularly praiseworthy is his timing for the humorous moments, which seem to have come straight out of a manga. Overall, however, director Yuichi Sato ("The Master Plan") also proves that he has as well of a steady hand in those scenes as in the action sequences.

City Hunter - Film Screenshot 6

In terms of action, we get quite a bit of variation. There are martial arts pieces against a whole group of gangsters or at a cosplay event, but there is also gun-fu, which turns out to be a small highlight, especially in the finale. And in this movie, you have to acknowledge the fact that the camera is not unnecessarily close to the action, so that you wouldn't really be able see anything - as is unfortunately common practice these days. Nevertheless, quick editing makes sure that we always get a fast pace. The action also works thanks to some nice sets, so that during the finale the surroundings are included in an enjoyable way, or a real fight is mistakenly interpreted as a show being put on by cosplay actors. There is also a fast pacing when it comes to the story, but it is so hackneyed with a drug, which creates superhuman strength, that you can hardly warm up to it. The developments and a few "surprises" don't manage to generate much interest either. If it weren't for the characters who hold everything together, this could easily have become a huge problem. But thanks to them, as well as the action and the humor, you can overlook this aspect most of the time and just have fun.

City Hunter - Film Screenshot 7

"City Hunter" sometimes purposely seems old-fashioned, and you have to thank the director for that. Unlike what usually happens with Netflix - but maybe this only applies to western productions (?) -, the production is not run into a brick wall by the streaming service's well-known catalog of ideological rules. Ryo is a lecherous scumbag, but also kind of lovable. After all, he's a loyal friend at his core. Keeping close to the manga there are also a few sexually suggestive jokes, and especially the portrayal of women occasionally reminds you of the 80s and 90s (the years of the manga source material). But due to the humor this has an ironic touch anyway; all the while, the fact that Ryo is the one who makes a fool of himself the most - in the end, he is the one who has to dance almost completely naked on stage and not a woman - shows that a movie like this can still work in today's society. There's no shortage of strong women either, except that one of them just has to fight Ryo wearing leather ... But things get a little more serious with Kaori. She is not someone who can hold her own in a battle, but she is purposeful and shows inner strength. Misato Morita also manages to give the dramatic moments the necessary depth, but without sacrificing the movie's tone.

Filmroll City Hunter - Film Screenshot 8 City Hunter - Film Screenshot 9 Filmroll

City Hunter - Film Screenshot 10

Unfortunately, the source material also makes it necessary that no one is able to keep up with Ryo, which then reduces the level of suspense a little bit. The City Hunter easily dodges bullets and manages to shoot a hitman right in the shoulder even through a crowd. What exactly is left that could be a threat to him? However, it always puts a smile on your face when Ryo once more does something superhuman with such ease that you almost feel sorry for the villains. Therefore, the only shortcoming is the story, which is not convincing at all. Subplots like the one about the police, who also work in the background, are just completely unnecessary for the unfolding events. Apart from that, you obviously also have to be willing to take a leap of faith into this colorful world of hard-hitting action and slapstick humor. Especially the latter turned out to be a positive surprise for me, because the timing simply works here, and Ryohei Suzuki really thrives in his role. In addition, some of the freeze frames, which are supposed to be stylistically reminiscent of the manga, don't seem out of place her at all either. Despite its few flaws, it becomes clear - even without any knowledge of the source material - that "City Hunter" is a manga adaptation that was made with a lot of love. In the end, you just get some really good entertainment here.

(Author: Manfred Selzer)
Buy this movie:

City Hunter   - Yesasia Yesasia Logo