Midnight Eagle

Midnight Eagle

1.5 out of 5 1.5 out of 5 1.5 out of 5 1.5 out of 5 1.5

Comments Comments (0)

A big-budgeted Japanese action pic based on a popular novel by Tetsuo Takashima, Midnight Eagle addresses the notion that war is avoidable if countries refuse to establish national armies. Given Japan’s post-WWII situation, it’s a relevant issue, but the larger one that arises during Izuru Narushima’s film is whether a country without a military force or culture has any means of properly making a movie about covert military intrigue. Certainly, this clunky, monotonous work suggests that such a feat is impossible, given that every one of its battlefield shootouts and armed-forces strategy sessions comes off as phony. This artificiality has a distinctly ‘80s feel to it, what with the countless melodramatic moments shot in slow motion and scored to cheesy synthesizer music. Yet after early hints of potential Schwarzenegger-ish goofiness, Midnight Eagle settles into near-complete torpor. The trifurcated story focuses on a jaded war photographer (Takao Osawa) attempting to locate a downed American stealth jet with an active nuke in the Japan Alps, as well as his sister-in-law’s (Yuko Takeuchi) journalistic investigation into a secret agent related to the aircraft’s crash, and the prime minister’s (Tatsuya Fuji) stern hand-wringing over the crisis. Narushima has a competent visual eye but his film has serious pacing issues, squandering all sorts of time on drawn-out conversations over dilemmas that wind up being resolved through convenient and/or preposterous means. Unfortunately, the alternative to this talkativeness is action that’s staged without coherence or flair, meaning that the entire shebang is a washout any which way you cut it. Eventually, shameless manipulation and bountiful corniness become standard operating procedure. However, as this tale winds down—very, very slowly—to a faux-heartrending show of courageous self-sacrifice, the dominant impression left is one of filmmakers making things up as they go along.

Buy
DVD
Distributor
Shochiku
Runtime
131 min
Rating
NR
Year
2007
Director
Izuru Narushima
Screenwriter
Yasuo Hasegawa, Kenzaburo Iida
Cast
Takao Osawa, Yuko Takeuchi, Hiroshi Tamaki, Eisaku Yoshida, Tatsuya Fuji, Sayaka Kaneko, Kazuki Namioka, Hiroki Sahara