I have not seen Kim Seong-hun's A Hard Day, but when I glanced at the reviews, I got the impression that it is exciting and tightly edited. Michihito Fujii attempts to recreate the thrills of the original in this remake titled Hard Days, and he succeeds in very few places. The cuts are quick and produce a sense of delirium. The characters are exhausted as well as alert. And the pace is sufficiently frenetic as the movie wants you to be on your toes. Still, Hard Days mostly fails to fulfill our expectations. Its narrow ambitions are crystal clear. We know what the movie wants to do with its material. Fujji, though, isn't able to rise to the occasion. He is familiar with the tunes, though he has no idea how to sing the song.
Hence, when you watch a distraught detective named Yuji Kudo (Jun'ichi Okada) juggling between a dead body and phone calls, you neither hold your breath nor giggle. There are so many scenes that force you to wonder, "Shouldn't I be breathless with excitement at this particular moment?" Perhaps I should watch the 2014 film to see how Seong-hun handled the events. Of course, I enjoyed observing Yuji placing a body on top of his mother's corpse. The most shocking incident in the film involves a car being crushed by a big container (it's perfectly timed and leaves you speechless). However, if you have seen A Hard Day, if these scenes are present in the original, you won't be impressed by them.
Okada and Gô Ayano are in superb form. They are mainly unstable but put up a cool facade in front of others, especially their colleagues or a boss. Notice how nicely Ayano, as an Internal Affairs officer named Yazaki, controls his pain when a man steps on his foot. Yazaki fills the frame with a violent force when he uses his legs to hit someone. When he engages with his fiancée at just the right moment (i.e., after she finishes practicing her wedding speech), you realize how attentive this man can be even during stressful situations. Yuji's almost cartoonish behavior generates confusion for his wife and chuckles from the audience. I liked how his eyes traced the ducts at a funeral home. Here is a character who, in lesser hands, could have easily fallen apart. Okada, though, maintains a perfect balance between sanity and hysteria. These two actors lend some credibility to their characters' descent into complete madness.
But the movie isn't always as good as this central duo. Its most glaring error is that it doesn't know when to end. The final scenes are so stretched they undermine the movie's message. It says New Year doesn't give pawns like Yuji and Yazaki a chance to restart. They merely continue driving on the same path. They are trapped in a system that pits them against each other while the main criminal walks away with a smile on his face and lots of cash in his cars. It's all very cynical. It could have also been exhilarating if this package had been delivered with more competence.
Get all latest content delivered to your email a few times a month.
Bringing Pop Culture News from Every Realm, Get All the Latest Movie, TV News, Reviews & Trailers
Got Any questions? Drop an email to [email protected]