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MIDNIGHT EAGLE (Middonaito Iguru) (Japan)

  Publicity Stills of "Midnight Eagle"
(Courtesy from GV)

In Japanese with English and Chinese subtitles
Director: Izuru Narushima
Cast: Takao Osawa, Yuko Takeuchi, Hiroshi Tamaki, Tatsuya Fuji, Yoshihiko Hakamada, Ken Ishiguro, Nao Omori, Eisaku Yoshida
RunTime: 2 hrs 17 mins
Released By: GV & Scorpio East
Rating: PG
Official Website:

Opening Day: 17 April 2008


Based on the eponymous novel by acclaimed writer Tetsuo Takashima ("Intruder"), director Izuru Narushima ("Fly, Daddy, Fly") helms this compelling action thriller set in the snowbound Northern Alps of Japan. The film was shot with the full cooperation of ministry of Defense, Japan Ground Self Defense Force, Japan Air Self-Defense Force. Starring Takao Osawa as a photographer who witnesses the crash of a U.S. bomber aircraft nicknamed "Midnight Eagle"and who becomes involved in an international hunt for its secret pay load - a warhead that threatens to wipe out Japan's entire population.

Movie Review:

Take a minute to read through “Midnight Eagle” synopsis and you might assume this is a Made in Japan’s version of a big-bang-boom Hollywood production. Why not? It has all the ingredients of a mindless action plot.

An American B-stealth bomber is found crashed at the top of Japan’s frozen Northern Alps and worse still, it contains a nuclear warhead which is targeted by enemy agents infiltrating the country waiting to detonate it. At this juncture, you must be expecting the armies and the agents having some bombastic shootouts, choppers being deployed to stake out the enemies, the Prime Minister taking the stage to announce a state emergency and a finale that will blow out everything in sight, the warhead is saved and the nation lived happily ever after.

The above description did eventually happen. With all due respect, it’s not a figment of my imagination. However, every of the above events unfold in a much smaller scale and also took a much longer time to develop.

Running at almost 2 hours plus, “Midnight Eagle” can be a drag to sit through depends on how you look at it. It might be embarrassing to say that my movie partner for the night was fidgeting throughout, just waiting for the climax to arrive. Alas, it never did arrive anyway and the closing chapter consists of scenes and setups which were a reminiscent of a certain Michael Bay’s movie called “Armageddon”.

The most troubling factor is the enemies were never fully developed, they were simply referred as “agents”. Their motives never greatly justify either. In addition, there were constant reminders to the audience that the Japanese army is not an army but a self-defense force. Is director Izuru Narushima trying to avoid a political overtone here? We thought so.

A safer angle by Izuru perhaps is the constant drilling of the relationship between the brooding ex-war journalist, Yuji (Takao Osawa from “Crying out love in the centre of the world”) and his inner demons. His estranged relationship with his sister-in-law after his wife’s death turned the movie into a direct melodrama in the end. It’s refreshing though to watch the once matinee-idol, Eisaku Yoshida turns in a wrenched performance as an army major after a long absence from the screen.

Shuffling between the scenic shots of snowy mountains, the government’s war room and a letdown city chase, “Midnight Eagle” offers plenty of dialogue instead of action sequences to blow your mind. If you intend to walk into the theaters expecting something from John Woo’s “Broken Arrow” or the Japanese action hit, “White Out”, you will walk out cursing and swearing.

Don’t say we never warn you.

Movie Rating:

(An insipid action thriller that fails to ignite)

Review by Linus Tee


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