*** might contain spoilers ***
Story: After being convinced by his friend Ishii, Asai decides to take part in a fixed
underground Thai-Boxing fight as a last minute replacement. The deal is simple; convince
the crowd that he is in fact a Muay Thaï champion from Thailand, which should be
miraculous considering the fact that he has no experience, and get knock out on the
second round. However, an unexpected incident during the fight turns the event into total
Meanwhile, Ikeyama and Kishimoto, two salarymen, decide to try a new place for lunch.
They unexpectedly end up at the table of an important Yakuza who has come to watch
the illegal Thai-Boxing match that will take place in the underground restaurant.
Unfortunately for them, the situation turns upside down in a mere second during the fight.
The two men attempt to flee, but a police raid makes things more complicate for their
Meanwhile (it’s a Sabu movie after all), Fujita and Kudo, two low life gangsters, decide to
steal money from another gangster during the fight. Things fly completely out of control
when the Yakuza starts shooting at people and police raid the restaurant.
Review: What started as a music video collaboration between Avex Inc. and Japanese
director Sabu, ended up as a full motion picture with more than just simple commercial
appeal for fans of J-pop band V6. In fact, it shares the same brilliant quality with other
Sabu classics such as Monday, and Drive. While singer-turned-actor films are quite
common place, these types of films usually end up flopping due to the studio’s desire for
an extremely commercial product, and the generally poor acting ability of an inexperienced
cast. Despite that usual misfortune, Hard Luck Hero doesn’t fail to impress by unfolding a
great story and memorable characters.
It is surprising to see how well Sabu managed to keep control of this movie, as it easily
finds itself at home amongst any other film in the director’s filmography. It manages to be
very clever and intriguing until the last frame while still possessing the ability to always
keep the viewer entertained. When you think about it, it is plain to see that the original idea
stemmed from something much smaller, as the underdevelopment can be felt throughout
the story. However, when Sabu works his magic, something miraculous occurs.
The story is separate in three parts, with each part featuring a duo from the group V6. In
each segment we learn more about the whole story until all things comes together in the
finale. Not only does the movie hook you from the start, but it also manages to leave you
with a subtle “don’t give up on your dreams” message for his conclusion. Like most Sabu
films, there is not much to say about the plot without spoiling anything, so I will leave it up
to you to have fun discovering the fate of each character.
The most surprising aspect of the film was indeed V6’s acting. I was seriously expecting
something terrible, but they really did a great job at portraying each character. The most
impressive and funny one was Okada Junichi in the role of Asai. It was very easy to
sympathize with the character and Okada’s performance before the boxing fight was
totally hilarious! Inohara Yoshihiko and Nagano Hiroshi were also excellent as a duo of
salary men. In general, V6’s acting abilities might not permit them to play in more serious
productions, but their respective style fit perfectly in this production. Another cool thing
was the inclusion in minor role of famous actors such as Susumu Terajima, who also
appears in many Sabu, Kitano, and Miike productions.
The tone of the movie has a great mixture of humour and action, which in most Sabu
movies consist of people getting chased by police or Yakuza. The humour is also very
well balanced, as there are a few great laughs here and there. As for the dramatic
elements, they are present but very subtle.
Fans of previous Sabu movies will immediately recognize the structure of the film. Usually
it consists of an event that affects multiple characters that will eventually end up affecting
each of their lives later in the movie. So do not expect something revolutionary from Sabu,
but people who love his films are probably not expecting something different from him.
Only Sabu can make these kinds of movies so good.
700MB | 1h 18m | 640×336 | avi