Director: Kenji Kodama
Cast: Akira Kamiya, Kazue Ikura, Marie Iitoyo, Koichi Yamadera
Runtime: 1 hr 36 mins
Rating: PG13 (Some Violence and Nudity)
Released By: Encore Films
Opening Day: 23 May 2019
Synopsis: The number-one private eye Ryo Saeba and his partner Kaori Makimura receives a new job assignment in Shinjuku. The client is a model, Ai Shindo, who wants a bodyguard because she has been targeted and followed. Ryo agrees to the pretty model’s request immediately, and is excited when he visits the changing room at the photo studio… Ai is a campaign model for the IT company whose CEO, Shinji Mikuni, is the childhood friend of Kaori. The two childhood friends meet up again after a long time at the photo studio, and Mikuni asks Kaori out for dinner. However, Ryo appears expressionless about the date, and goes out with Ai… On one hand, Umibozu and Miki received news that the mercenaries are gathering in Shinjuku, and their target is after Ai… While going after the mercenaries, Saeko from the police department discovers a great secret! The massive weapon dealer Vince Ingrado is in Japan, together with the arrival of a new weapon. Will the “City Hunter” be able to protect both Ai and the Shinjuku city!?
City Hunter: Shinjuku Private Eyes is the fourth feature movie of the City Hunter series written by Tsukasa Hojo. The movie revolves around Ryo Saeba, a private detective who is hired to protect a model Ai Shindo. It seems like she got targeted because she holds the key to the information that the aggressor wants. Together with his partner Kaori Makimura, Ryo goes on the mission to protect Ai, and unveil the secret behind it all.
While the City Hunter series has been widely popular since the 1980s, this movie is set in modern Shinjuku, Japan. It became the talk of town when it was showed in Japan, and attracted many movie-goers to watch it at the heart of Shinjuku where the movie is set in. Familiar sights of Golden Gai, Kabuki-cho, Lumiere Shinjuku and the Shinjuku station were all part of the backdrop of the movie. What was interesting and got many people fascinated was also modern gadgets and technology the characters used in the movie e.g. use of drone, and having a digital message board by scanning QR code (note: the message board was traditionally a blackboard at the station, which was a trademark thing of the City Hunter series).
The pace of the movie was good, not wasting a single moment in it. The narrative was a little predictable, but storyline was packed. The characters were also distinct and interesting. For instance, while Ryo has his pervy inclinations, he goes all out to ensure he could fulfill his mission. His humorous interactions with Kaori are sure to evoke laughter as well. The exaggerated weapons (Kaori’s hammer!), fight scenes and side characters will keep you entertained too!
Other than these, there is also a special appearance of Cat’s Eye characters in the movie. That is yet another classic manga series by the same creator. They appear in their classic leotard outfits, and bring out the Showa (70s/80s) taste. The nostalgic atmosphere, coupled with the original sequences developed for the movie, capture both your sight and attention.
In closing, this movie is the first digital production for a City Hunter movie, so some of it would look quite different from the previous movies. As compared to other digital produced movies, it may look a little unnatural for some parts. But nonetheless, the movie stayed true to the City Hunter style, and possibly has everything you know and like about the City Hunter series! Even for a non-fan, it’ll be a satisfying watch.
P.S.: Stay behind for the post credits!
(There’s not a single dull moment in this 96-minute feature film. Enjoyable for fans and non-fans alike!)
Review by Tho Shu Ling