“CITY HUNTER” (2024) | Film Review

“CITY HUNTER” (2024) | Film Review

1. July 2024 Off By Thorsten Boose

Reference to Jackie Chan: At around 7′, Ryo Saeba’s jump from house to house is reminiscent of the same jump made by Jackie Chan in “RUMBLE IN THE BRONX” (1995).

“I’m loyal to Miss Mokkori Sweater Puppies”

‘CITY HUNTER’ has been one of the most popular manga ever since the mid-1980s and has become a popular film project thanks to Jackie Chan’s performance as Ryo Saeba in the 1993 film of the same name. In 2024, the otherwise politically correct Netflix surprises with the Japanese film adaptation.

RYO SAEBA, known as the City Hunter, is no stranger to Shinjuku. During a car chase with his partner, we experience the private detective’s way of working and are surprised that Netflix allows such crude 90s jokes. Refreshing, in my opinion.

The object of desire, a young woman of course, escapes horny City Hunter and on top of that, his partner is murdered by a strangely alien assassin. As Ryo Saeba reluctantly solves the murder of his ex-partner, we realise that he is not only a chauvinist, but also a real asshole when it comes to friendship.

The first few minutes of the film are cinema quality. Entertaining, varied and creative, we are immediately hooked and eager to find out how the fast-paced opening sequence resolves itself. We are not disappointed. ‘CITY HUNTER’ (2024) knows all about the use of foreshadowing and payoff – at least in the first act.

Ryo Saeba, CIty Hunter, walks the streets of Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan at night

What starts off well sometimes ebbs away as the film progresses. But the shots are fun. Thanks to the camera angles and the editing, we experience a moving manga without it appearing cheesy or even Western comic-like. Nevertheless, we still have to endure some scenes that are too dark.

The acting is great. Both the emotionally vulnerable side comes across seriously and Ryo’s exaggerated comic side. City Hunter’s balancing act succeeds. Compared to the 1993 Hong Kong version of Wong Jing, in which Jackie Chan plays a rather silly, clownish kung fu fighter, in the Japanese film version we experience a Ryo Saeba that has rarely been so close to the original. We’d rather ignore the French version from 2018 at this point.

What I have to criticise is actually not much and yet it is the crux of the whole story. Why so many people in Japan are suddenly going crazy and what goals the UNION is pursuing with its Japanese gangster offshoot LORE is only mentioned in passing at most, while City Hunter has to eliminate his opponents in an admittedly entertaining manner.

The creative comedy scenes and the superbly choreographed fights distract from the story. Not bad, better this way than the other way round, for my taste. But a little more drama here and there would do the film good. By the way, Netflix, you can do without a forced political agenda and the ‘strong female lead’. We have several of them here and they are all emancipated without making a big deal of it.

A rough 6.8 out of 10 stars

Original trailer (subs) | “CITY HUNTER” (2024)

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