November 24, 2013

Shield of Straw (2013)

Shield of Straw (2013) - Movie Review
Directed by: Takashi Miike
Country: Japan

Movie Review: Mixing invigorating action scenes with some others often exaggerated or dull, “Shield of Straw” marks the return of prolific Japanese director Takashi Miike, now in a cop thriller that most of time evinced neither head nor tail in its concept. This way Miike continues to punctuate its filmography with ups and downs. Last year was a good example: “Ace Attorney” pleased me with its eccentric courtroom adventures, while “Lesson of the Evil” wasn't what I expected. “Shield of Straw” promised so much but ended up in silliness, telling the story of the police escort of Kiyomaru, one of the most dangerous psychopaths in Japan, responsible for several killings, including a seven-year-old girl whose influent grandfather demands her killer’s death in exchange of a great sum of money. Four agents were assigned with the tough mission of transporting and protecting him from a Japan in fury. By car, train, or walking, the threats come from everywhere and include other greedy cops, nurses, a plane sabotage, a truck with explosive materials, and citizens who were related with some victims. Nothing to say about Miike’s competent direction but the manipulative plot and some performances didn’t convince at all. More laughable than thrilling, and sank in doubtful psychology, the film sustains the moral question: ‘why protect a lousy criminal instead of innocent people’? Notwithstanding some sense here, the situations were addressed with obtuseness and never provided the desirable satisfaction.

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