In Japanese with English & Chinese Subtitles
Director: Eiichiro Hasumi
Cast: Hideaki Ito, Ryuta Sato, Masaya Kato, Ai Kato, Sohee Park
RunTime: 2 hrs 9 mins
Released By: Cathay-Keris Films
Opening Day: 5 May 2011
Synopsis: While a menacing typhoon approaches, an accident at the giant natural gas plant Regalia occurs. Japan Coast Guard rescue divers Daisuke Senzaki (Hideaki Ito), Tetsuya Yoshioka (Ryuta Sato) and engineer Hiroshiichirou Sakuragi (Masaya Kato) head together to the gas plant. During their rescue efforts an explosion occurs that traps Daisuke, Natsu Nishizawa Kazue Fukiishi and worker Hisayoneo Kizima (Gaku Hamada). Meanwhile, at the head office, the Japanese coast guard tries to find a way to rescue the trapped people, but the government officials put national interests first. Tension arises between these two parties. Daisuke's party, who is still trapped in the giant plant, has only one last option….
Umizara: The Test of True Courage is latest film from the Umizaru series. This series have achieved immense commercial success in Japan and have been exported to many countries as well. Despite clichéd plots in the previous films, this time round a more profound message prevails…
The rescue coast guards are assigned the mission to rescue the trapped people from the crippled offshore giant natural gas plant, Regalia, as the typhoon is draws near. Majority of the workers are being transported to safety while 5 remained trapped in the gas plant, namely, the main engineer of Regalia (Masaya Kato), a doctor (Kazue Fukiishii), a regular worker (Gaku Hamada) and two rescue divers (Hideaki Ito, Shohei Miura). At the other side, the authorities are struggling with the dilemma: to save the lives of the 5 or sacrifice them for the sake of the joint national multi-million investment? Well, the answer is clear, but it remains a real struggle.
Undoubtedly, Senzaki Daisuke (Hideaki Ito) is the main hero of the movie. Not only does he overcome the adversity, he also imparts what he learnt over the past experiences to the rookie rescue diver Hotori Takuya (Shohei Miura). There must be people in the crowd that can empathize with Hotori. He does not know what is his calling in life, and has been job hopping and running away from responsibilities. However, this trial has essentially made him realize what is his purpose and role in life! Note that there can be some over-dramatization here and there, but of course this is very much balanced off the acting from the strong cast. The regular cast in the Umizaru series such as Hideaki Ito has definitely matured over the years since the first Umizaru film in 2004. Also, the ffecting acting well pulled off the young actor Shohei Miura led him to win the ‘Rookie of the Year’ award at the 34th Japan Academy Prize Awards.
The film also cuts back at the scenes whereby it shows the emotional torment on Kanna (Ai Kato), Senzaki’s wife. Contrary to the general impression of Japanese women to be exceptionally subservient and abiding, she proves herself to be able and can rise up to the occasion. Through her tears, you don’t see an inch of weakness, but sheer determination to carry on and remain hopeful. It was definitely opportune and a sure-win to play the emotional card to win over the hearts of the viewers.
If this is not enough, the film was also given a more generous budget, which only means that sharp and high quality picture will be projected onto the big silver screen. The CG effects are realistic and well integrated into the film as well. Although a 3D version was available in Japan, don’t get too disappointed with the 2D one we have here in Singapore. Since the film was not shot in 3D, so the 3D version is only a product of post productions.
All in all, there’s one eminent message that resounds in the film: the future lie in our hands. The future lies in the hands of men, and not in those multi-million investments; the future lies in the hands of men, who bring up another generation of people who will prove to be a country’s greatest assets. Even though men can be folly and in no way play God, no monetary assets can surpass the strength of human beings who overcome the true test of courage!
("One for all, all for one" As the movie has exemplified, adversity will only push humans to do incredible things, and bring out one’s true potential. That’s indeed what the human fighting spirit is all about!)
Review by Tho Shu Ling