Director: Keishi Ohtomo
Cast: Kazunari Ninomiya, Etsushi Toyokawa, Honami Suzuki, Kiko Mizuhara
Runtime: 2 hrs 14 mins
Released By: Filmgarde And Encore Films
Opening Day: 23 May 2013
Synopsis: Set in the year 2017, the Japanese government attempts to secretly control the DNA of its people. Ryuhei Kagura (Kazunari Ninomiya) is a top scientist in the field of DNA analysis. He works at the DNA analysis institution run by the National Police Agency. When the inventor of the DNA analysis system is murdered, Ryuhei Kagura's own DNA is found at the murder scene. Ryuhei Kagura becomes the prime suspect and then he becomes a fugitive. Veteran detective Reiji Asama goes in pursuit.
It is probably not the most original story where you have a movie envisioning that the government develops a cutting edge technology that will have every single civilian under surveillance, having you watched wherever you go. Every crime can be cracked down, as long as a single strand of hair is left at the scene of crime. The DNA code obtained from it will be logged into the system to match the details with the culprit. This is what Platinum Data is about in essence. At the back of your head, you can probably name a few movies titles which work within a similar premise. Despite the relatively lack in originality and possibly predictable plot, Platinum Data is still a characteristically Asian sci-fi thriller movie, which means it has a greater emphasis on the drama as compared to similar movies from the Western part of the world.
Platinum Data is adapted from a novel, so naturally you would expect to see more of what a novel cannot do in the film. In anticipation to people’s expectations on this, the movie attempted to give a shot at everything, which includes jump stunts, car chasing scenes, explosion, etc. It also has a fair bit of time and money invested into CGI and special effects. However, the spread of its resources over all these areas may not be the best idea. The result is having very small scale and thin effects, which obviously cannot match up with many other big budget films of this genre.
Nonetheless, the movie managed to retain some attention with its line-up of actors and actresses, with Kazunari Ninomiya (more affectionately known as Nino) as Ryuhei/Ryu Kaguara and Etsushi Toyokawa as detective Reiji Asama taking the lead. Both actors have vast acting experiences in both television dramas and movies. In particular, Nino has brought his character to life, giving depth and dimension. This movie has set a stage for him to flaunt his outstanding acting skills, where you can see a swing between his characters (yes, he played two roles in the movie), emphasizing his versatility in acting. Nino struck a great balance in his characters, even when they had to overlap.
The remaining supporting cast includes actress Honami Suzuki as a researcher and Kasuhisa Namase as police. Again, these are very known faces on Japanese movies and television dramas. Their support to the film was definitely salient and gave more dynamism to the drama aspect of the film. The cast is probably the key reason why this movie was able to do reasonably well in Japan (it ranked no.2 on its opening week) despite strong competition from international releases in the same week.
All in all, Platinum Data could have scored much better if only the action were made better and more packed. After all, there are movies that can do well even with a clichéd plot, as long as they have other strong selling points and notable differences. Anyway, please DO NOT watch the trailer if you do not want to spoil the story for yourself – essentially it does contain a potential spoiler that may give away the key turning point of the movie. Platinum Data can a rather passable and average movie for the uninitiated, but a definite must-watch for the Kazunari Ninomiya followers.
(As a word of caution, please DO NOT watch the trailer if you do not want to spoil your own movie viewing experience. Platinum Data may not be cut out to make a mark on the platinum records, but still worth a watch for the drama and Kazunari Ninomiya!)
Review by Tho Shu Ling