Sunday, March 17, 2013

Review: Drop

Starring: Hiroki Narimiya, Hiro Mizushima, Yuika Motokariya
Directed by: Hiroshi Shinagawa
Language: Japanese, English
Rating: R
Running Time: 122 minutes

This was another random convention buy. I saw Hiroki Narimiya on the cover, flipped the box around to read the story, then proceed from there.

Hiroshi Shinanogawa was once an ordinary student in a private school, but one day he decides to drop out to attend a public school and ditch his plain life to become a delinquent. To his surprise, Moriki, Lupin, and Wanko drag him away to meet their leader, Tatsuya Iguchi. Hiroshi is shocked by Tatsuya beating up two guys, one of them almost to death. Moriki, Lupin, and Wanko introduce Hiroshi to Tatsuya and thus his life of a delinquent begins.

If you watch the FUNimation dubbed trailer, which I don't recommend, you might be fooled into thinking that Hiro Mizushima is the star, but Hiroki Narimiya takes the role of the protagonist. We get a look into his bond with his sister, sister's boyfriend, and a few other characters that have been part of his life since the beginning. The main story is his bond with Tatsuya and his gang in his transformation to delinquency. This broke my assumptions of a school-type movie and it reminded me of a more comical Crows Zero. It's probably more or less as violent and Tatsuya is the son of a former yakuza leader.

Drop does present an entertaining experience with an amusing set of characters. The main cast is quite likable and unique and it's easy to attach yourself to Hiroshi and sympathize with, especially when the bond with his sister and her boyfriend proceeds forward. Each gang member has a distinguishing trait as well. Tatsuya is a strong street fighter, Moriki is a skillful strategist, Lupin is a very sneaky thief, and Wanko usually fights by biting people's faces. The action is quite intense as well and some of it is a bit brutal and other times it's intentionally silly.

Unfortunately, I had a few problems with this film. If you haven't noticed, this is a long film and the length is unnecessary. There are a few parts that just drag along without progressing and simply repeating actions. Some of the characters' choices and reactions seem unnatural too. A couple major examples are the loose love triangle involving Hiroshi, Tatsuya, and Tatsuya's girlfriend and Hiroshi's reaction to a last minute conflict. I also think the actors' characters were a little young for them. One criticism I read from a user on IMDB mentioned that this movie encourages delinquent behavior and none of the characters face any consequences for their actions. I can agree with that, especially since the resolution is a bit of let down for Hiroshi.

In the end, the movie isn't terrible. I did enjoy it for what it is, but the two hours stalling storyline and unsatisfying, easy resolution brought it down a few notches. On a positive note, I enjoyed seeing Hiroki and Hiro in roles that are new to me and the characters were mostly fun. If you can handle the brutal and sometimes comical action with a hint of drama and comedy, then check this out with a bit of caution.

Rating: 2.5/5

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