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    City Hunter Movie Review: A whip and crack adaptation

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    City Hunter is one of the most popular mangas from the 80s. The manga has seen adaptation across anime and live-action ventures. City Hunter follows Ryo Saeba aka City Hunter, a proficient detective but a sleazy man. He goes around Japan solving crimes and helping the police department. His expertise as an assassin also brings along his pervert ways. The manga has spawned into several anime and live action adaptations. Come 2024, we have a new live-action Japanese film based on the characters which have been loved and also critiqued over the years.

    City Hunter Movie Review: A whip and crack adaptation - Just A Library
    City Hunter Movie Review: A whip and crack adaptation

    The 2024 version of City Hunter stars Ryohei Suzuki in the titular lead Ryo Saeba aka City Hunter. He is joined by Misato Morita as Kaori Makimura. The movie follows Ryo and Kaori as they avenge Hideyuki. Hideyuki was Ryo’s loyal friend and colleague as well as Kaori’s brother. His death was a murder. He was killed by a hidden but powerful organization after Ryo and him got closer to uncovering a secret and illegal project of creating superhumans. The movie premiered on Netflix on April 25, 2024.

    The movie is just under two hours and packs quite an entertainment factor, if one can let go of the perverted scenes that is. In the original work, Ryo Saeba is a Grade A sleazeball and pervert. He does not take up any case if there are no appealing women involved. The original and a few adaptations featured quite a few explicit scenes which would not sit well audience of today. It was wrong even then, but a mature dialogue around these things was absent.

    Watch the trailer of City Hunter here:

    The Netflix adaptation sticks to the original character where Ryo Saeba is a playboy who is unabashed about his attraction towards physically attractive women. There was a forward change in the character with no off-handed comments on any sexuality, gender, identity. But even then the objectification of women was ever so present. The movie also displays the night markets of modern day Tokyo where women are still marketed as sexual objects to fulfil men’s fantasies. It is a sad truth we all have to live with.

    City Hunter’s cartoon-like dialogue delivery and behaviour add a comic angle to the character. One cannot comment much on the character growth or arc here. The characters are pretty straight forward, with more or less predictable tendencies. Perhaps it was the physical lack of an antagonist. We know that Ryo is against an organization with its roots in Central America, but there was not one challenging character to manipulate Ryo’s techniques.

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    All we saw was a few low-ranking men and a hoard of soldiers attempting to thwart Ryo and Kaori’s attempts. The only saving grace was the lady who had initially approached Ryo under a fake identity to find a young girl named Kurumi. The fight between her and Ryo was the closest we came to Ryo actually fighting off an antagonist.

    It is a decently pace piece for a movie which serves as an introduction film. The slow-motion scenes are well timed and add to the viewers’ engagement in the scene. It is always a challenge to translate from pen to stylus but the makers of City Hunter have done a good job when it comes to catching the nuances of the original and embedding it in the latest settings.

    If one can manage to it through the tantalizing shots of exposed flesh, then City Hunter is not so bad to invest time in. It chalks up to a decent comedy action film with enough intrigue to keep the audience engaged. It sits in line with those cult classic films featuring a mystery engaging enough to get the thinking wheels turning.

    Also Read: Maamla Legal Hai (2024) Series Review

    Will there be a sequel for City Hunter?

    At the time of this writing, there has been no official news from Netflix about a sequel for City Hunter. Considering the movie’s rising popularity, Netflix might give a green signal for the next story. The movie concluded with an open ending where we see that Ryo and Kaori manage to save Kurumi and find the truth behind Hideyuki’s murder. But we do not know who is the brains behind the organization running these illegal scientific experiments on humans. This movie serves as a good premise for a broader story, if there ever was to be one. One can sure hope there will be a sequel for City Hunter, perhaps with less sleaziness and more comedy.

    JAL gives City Hunter 6 out of 10 stars. What are your thoughts on City Hunter? Tell us in the comments below!

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    Nandini Iyengar
    Nandini Iyengar
    A writer and translator by profession, Nandini is also known for using a lot of pun.

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