a page of madness

film writing by nicholas vroman

The Code / 暗号

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Kaizo Hayashi has been playfully digging into the conventions of detective and film noir since his first feature, Sleep so as to Dream. Hayashi has recently focused on the internet series Detective Office 5, which served as the testing ground for The Code. The Code opens hilariously with the blowing up of Kawasaki’s Cinecitta megaplex. This MaGuffin is quickly discarded for the introduction of master code breaker Detective 507 and an adventure that leads to modern-day Shanghai, veteran Japanese nationalists trying to get to a hidden fortune in order to relaunch a new imperialist Japan, Triad-type action, plenty of double-crosses and a chance for Shishido Jo, the progenitor of Japanese cool, to bow in with tongue-in-cheek in a stately performance. As 507, Kikunosuke Onoe stars, giving nerd a new cool gloss. Shunsuke Matsuoka and Yosuke Saito fill in with great character roles. The totally preposterous story moves audaciously from an appropriately cheesy 60s TV look and Bondish soundtrack, swerves into a bit of Shanghai Gesture and ends up somewhere between a spaghetti western and Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Originally published in EL Magazine, May 2009

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Written by Nicholas Vroman

May 1, 2009 at 12:05 am

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