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In Japanese with English & Chinese Subtitles
Director: Hiroaki Matsuyama
Erika Toda, Shota Matsuda, Megumi Seki, Michiko Kichise, YosiYosi Arakawa, Seiichi Tanabe, Ikkei Watanabe, Toshihiro Wada, Kazuma Suzuki, Mari Hamada
RunTime: 2 hrs 13 mins
Released By: Encore Films & GV
Rating: PG

Official Website: http://www.facebook.com/liargamemovie

Opening Day: 12 August 2010


Based on the popular Japanese manga and Fuji TV drama series, LIAR GAME: THE FINAL STAGE follows simple young college student Nao Kanzaki (Erika Toda) who unwittingly finds herself caught in a dangerous high-stakes tournament, whereby players can either win a fortune or incur a ridiculous amount of debt. Nao manages to secure help in playing the game from a genius con artist named Shinichi Akiyama (Shota Matsuda), but is he really a friend or a foe? How can she survive this microcosm of greed and deceit?

Movie Review:

Liar Game: The Final Chapter is currently ranked 7 in the best selling Japanese movies in the first half of 2010 at the Japan box office sales*. Crucial to the success of this movie probably lies in its ability to attract viewers and leaving them 'wanting for more'.

It all started with the drama, which first aired on Fuji TV in Japan in April 2007. Considering that it was the first Saturday drama on Fuji TV, it yielded a good response and viewership. Its popularity is proven to last when the sequel to the series aired in Japan late last year and hence the bold move of this movie tie-up.

Despite the two-year gap, Matsuda Shota was still able to portray the familiar Akiyama Shinichi, stoic and lack of observable facial expression. He plays the key role and creates the overall mood of the movie. His portrayal of Akiyama shows his sophistication and the growth from the first series, considerably warmer. Likewise, Toda Erika demonstrates maturity in her portrayal of Kanzaki Nao in the movie. She is probably also one of the contributing factors in the success of the film as the budding star drawn the public’s attention on the movie. Popular is probably an understatement for her current booming success in Japan as she was even crowned first out of 150 Most Influential Idols of 2010 that was based on the attained results and predictions for 2010. She’s also commonly sighted in local Japanese magazine covers and fashion spreads. Through this movie, she has proven that apart from her trademark 'pout lips', she can also grow with her character and hence pull of a refined act. Moreover, considering that the second series, together with this movie were shot over a period of 5 months, it is only reasonable to expect better and more intense chemistry between Akiyama and Nao-chan.

Since this movie has a strong backing from the manga, its plot is far from bland. In fact, it contains much intelligence and fervour. The plus point of this movie is that even if one did not follow the series from the start, he will still be intrigued by the concept and the story of the movie. It brings the viewer into the game, and it is easy to follow and relate to. The unexpected twists and turns were also positioned timely to build up towards the climax of the movie.

Though the tone of the movie is set to be more sophisticated and dark, the few wacky and comedic characters help to balance that out. The set where most shots of the movie were shot at was crucial to perpetuate the tone as well. Striking similarities with the previous game sets, it brings people into the pseudo-reality where the game commences.

Also, the director tends to take more close-up shots. This makes it more personal to the viewers, whilst leaving out the intimidation. As revealed by Toda Erika in an interview, the movie has 3000 cuts (!!) as compared to an ordinary movie’s 1000 cuts. That in itself is applaud worthy and shows how meticulous the director is in delivering the movie as to ensure there are as little loopholes as possible, a supremely important aspect to keep in mind to produce a psychological thriller of this kind.

Objectively speaking, this movie is definitely a classy piece from the movies from its own league. However, comparing it to the vast number of psychological thrillers in the scene, this may not be the best choice. Then again overall, this movie did serve its purpose till the end and is indeed a good conclusion to the series. Viewers can finally uncover the mystery to the game. The end was seemingly simple and easy to swallow, yet it is the key message in the movie which leaves one questioning the value of the trust, faith and integrity in mankind.

Movie Rating:

(This is not only a game of deception, it teaches a person to notice the meaning of trust and faith.)

Review by Tho Shu Ling

*Credits: http://www.kawaii-joyuu.com/2010/08/04/most-successful-movies-at-japanese-box-offices-in-first-half-of-2010/


. Kaiji: The Ultimate Gambler (2009)

. Crows Zero II (2009)

. The Black Swindler (2008)

. Death Note 2: The Last Name (2006)

. Death Note (2006)

. Shaolin Girl (2008)

. Hero (2007)

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