City Hunter

City Hunter Blends Bullets and Buddy Cop Tropes in a Fun Adaptation

Dept. of Mokkori Mokkori


The line between danger and comedy blurs as we are treated to an explosively entertaining entry in the City Hunter live-action universe. Based on the manga of the same name, this latest Netflix effort will not fail to delight.

The movie follows the renowned “sweeper” or private investigator Ryo Saeba as he embarks on a missing persons case following the death of his partner Hideyuki Makimura. This time, he is forced to team up with his adopted sister, Kaori, to investigate a series of seemingly random incidents of violence erupting on the streets of Tokyo that hide a much more sinister secret.

City Hunter

Right from the get-go this movie is unrelenting. The opening sequence, a throwback to the great buddy cop movies of the 80s and 90s, will keep you glued to your seat with a cheesy smile. How can you resist the upbeat rhythms of a heroic, yet goofy, backtrack that plays as our protagonist effortlessly dispatches a gang of thugs while cracking wise about a totally unrelated topic?

Nostalgia is Director Yuichi Sato secret weapon, and he wields it here without being too overbearing or preachy. His decision to lean into the anime side of things – incorporating the comedic, voyeuristic, and perverted nature of Ryo Saeba and his love of Mokkori Dancing – might turn off viewers who aren’t used to the nature of anime characters, but fans will undoubtedly lap it up.

That said, the decision to incorporate anime-like ways of speaking into the live-action version did feel somewhat out of place, taking an already goofy and cartoonish action comedy up to a level that felt unnecessary. And while this did, at times, get in the way of the movie’s pacing, the overall narrative, while predictable, barreled forward like a runaway train.

City Hunter

Ryohei Suzuki shines as Ryo Saeba, successfully balancing the characters humouristic, perverted, and childish nature with the dangerous, Clint Eastwood-esque action hero persona that makes Ryo who he is. His performance anchors the entire movie, effortlessly shifting tones – one minute he’s Sam Spade, another he’s a Dizzy Detective – and filing the movie with the kind of knockabout energy that makes it so fun.

With plenty of action, comedy, and adolescent boob humor, City Hunter might seem a tad esoteric for some, but its entertainment value is undeniable. It’s taken long enough for there to be a Japanese adaptation of City Hunter (both Jackie Chan and Lee Min-ho got there first!), and this one is refreshing enough, and absurd enough, to be worth your time.

City Hunter is now streaming on Netflix.

Mohnish has been discovering the joy and impact of the moving image ever since he saw his first film. To him, watching one film a day keeps the boredom away. Reviewing films is more than something he wants to do. In the chaotic dimension that is his mind, it's something he must do.

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