Netflix is streaming the craziest motion film of 2024. Here’s why I liked it

A man ogles a girl in City Hunter.

This month appears to be the time to launch motion films that colour exterior the strains. We’ve already had Dev Patel’s Monkey Man, a messy, throw-everything-at-the-wall motion film that blends intricate struggle sequences and on-the-nose social commentary in an entertaining package deal that may absolutely acquire cult standing within the close to future. Just this weekend, Boy Kills World dished out a great deal of cartoon violence and over-the-top gore in a bid for John Wick-level fandom. Both films bend or break the principles of actuality to ship shortly minimize struggle scenes that push the boundaries of the style, all in an try to one-up the excessive requirements set by the very best films within the Mission: Impossible and Fast and Furious franchises.

Yet the very best of the April bunch is the one which has the bottom profile. City Hunter doesn’t star anybody you’d acknowledge like It actor Bill Skarsgård in Boy Kills World and hasn’t been backed by an intensive advertising and marketing marketing campaign like Universal’s Monkey Man. But the film is a blast; it’s like placing Pop Rocks in a can of Mountain Dew and chasing it down with a few Pixy Sticks. It’s ludicrous, immature, and completely unrealistic. It’s additionally my favourite motion film of 2024. Here’s why that you must stream City Hunter pronto.

It’s an adaptation of a massively standard franchise

Two men talk to each other in City Hunter.

If you’re not a manga, anime, or Jackie Chan fan, you’ve in all probability by no means heard of City Hunter. That’s OK, I hadn’t both till I watched Netflix’s model. City Hunter started life as a well-liked manga sequence in 1985. It was shortly tailored into an anime sequence in 1987 and, later, theatrical animated films launched in 1989, 1990, 1999, 2019, and 2023. It’s additionally been tailored into a number of live-action iterations, together with a 1993 Hong Kong film starring Jackie Chan (who publicly trashed the movie) and a 2019 French model with Pamela Anderson (!) within the forged.

The Netflix model carries no baggage from the earlier variations; in different phrases, you don’t must know something in regards to the mythology of City Hunter to grasp what’s occurring. The film’s plot is fairly simple: Former cops Ryo Saeba and his accomplice Hideyuki Makimura run a detective company named City Hunter. They’re employed to discover a teenage runaway, who has ingested a bootleg Angel Dust drug that provides its person short-term tremendous power. The solely down aspect? You kinda die after the consequences put on off.

A man looks down at a woman in City Hunter.

After Hideyuki is murdered by one in every of these Angel Dust customers, Ryo should crew up together with his accomplice’s adopted sister, Kaori, to seek out the the runway, defend her, avenge Hideyuki’s loss of life, and take down the prison group behind the entire drug enterprise.

This is a reasonably typical motion film plot (it jogged my memory a little bit of the primary two Lethal Weapon films in addition to The Adventures of Ford Fairlane), and it’s retro simplicity is a part of its attraction. There’s no spooky AI algorithm to battle or world-ending disaster to resolve; as an alternative, Ryo has to beat a designer drug cartel and a police drive that doesn’t fully belief his renegade conduct.

The motion scenes are over-the-top and stylish

A man floating in air kicks another man in the face in City Hunter.

Is it a shock to assert that motion films stay or die by their motion sequences? No, in fact not. And in the event you decide City Hunter purely by its struggle scenes, the film is a transparent winner. It opens with one in every of its finest scenes: an prolonged chase scene that begins with Ryo hand-gliding his means right into a skyscraper, capturing a window so it break upon impression, executing a Street Fighter-style flying kick that will make Chun-Li proud, and concluding with Ryo utilizing a therapeutic massage mat to slip down some stairs and fly out one other window, his flight scored by hovering rock music and punctuated by sluggish movement so you’ll be able to soak all of it in.

And that’s simply the primary quarter-hour! Later within the film, there’s a showdown at a crowded cosplay conference the place Ryo fights a leather-clad lady with a whip a la Catwoman, who then pulls out two small knives from the bottom of her bullwhip to subdue Ryo. Oh, and there’s additionally somebody with a rifle capturing at Ryo whereas all this is occurring. City Hunter‘s action scenes are intense and often brutal, and even if they aren’t remotely lifelike, you’re nonetheless on the sting of your seat to see the way it will all end up.

Ryo is each extremely cool and completely immature

City Hunter | Official Teaser | Netflix

Two of my favourite motion heroes ever are Steve McQueen’s cool, fashionable cop in Bullitt and Spike Spiegel’s aloof loner in Cowboy Bebop. With his trendy turtleneck shirts, beige trench coat, and playboy perspective, City Hunter‘s Ryo Saeba is clearly drawn from the same cloth. And it’s a credit score to actor Ryohei Suzuki that he embodies the elements of this character flawlessly. Ryohei is extremely charismatic, and he makes you’re keen on Ryo even when he’s performing like an entire fool.

A man aims his gun in City Hunter.

Unlike the characters that clearly impressed him, Ryo is immature and a bit goofy. He’s hooked on porn, ogles girls’s breasts shamelessly, and is susceptible to exhibiting his, er, pleasure, when somebody engaging is round him. (And somebody at all times is.) Yet City Hunter doesn’t let its hero off the hook with this conduct.

Through Kaori’s fixed disapproval and nudging to be higher, Ryo ultimately reigns in his immaturity sufficient to maintain his focus and remedy the case. It’s a redemptive arc that isn’t overplayed, and it feels earned.

City Hunter continuously surprises you

A man and a woman perform at a cosplay event in City Hunter.

I’d be remiss to not briefly contact on the most effective elements of City Hunter: It at all times retains you guessing as to what’s going to occur subsequent. The film has its personal narrative logic, so it by no means feels uneven, however it additionally continuously springs one shock after one other. From the aforementioned chase scene that opens the film to its third-act showdown that pits Ryo and Kaori in opposition to a seemingly infinite stream of foes, City Hunter throws continuously curveballs at you.

One such curveball is its non-sequitur humor. The film is humorous in methods that’s each low-cost and sophomoric, however it works. This is pre-adolescent humor that cheerfully finds comedy in probably the most juvenile issues like uncontrollable erections, pervy photographers, and exploding heads, however it by some means all is sensible.

A man dances at a disco in City Hunter.

And then there’s a scene at a disco that finds City’s Hunter‘s hero in nothing but a barely-there Speedo, dancing and posing joyfully in front of an adoring crowd. Why is Ryo doing this? And what purpose does it serve the movie? I’ll go away it to you to find the solutions to these questions as a result of it’s all a part of what makes the film such a hoot to observe. You’d by no means discover Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt doing what Ryo does on this film, which makes it all of the extra distinctive and particular to observe.

City Hunter is probably not for everybody, and that’s OK. If you like dour motion films which are lethal critical, then give this movie a tough move. But if you wish to see among the craziest motion scenes in movie right now, and don’t thoughts partaking with a film that wields immature humor like a large hammer (Kaori actually does this in a number of scenes), then begin streaming City Hunter as quickly as doable. It’s a film that doesn’t take itself too critically (simply have a look at the final picture of this text for proof) and remembers to prioritize one of many key the explanation why we wish to watch motion films within the first place: to have enjoyable.

City Hunter is now streaming on Netflix.

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