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Miike's new crime thriller an intense human drama

By Ryoko Kokuba

Cult director Takashi Miike is pushing himself to go beyond the normal Japanese crime thriller with his upcoming film, "Wara no Tate" (Straw Shield). The film, which stars Tatsuya Fujiwara, Nanako Matsushima and Takao Osawa, is based on the book by Kazuhiro Kiuchi.

Filmed in both Japan and Taiwan, "Wara no Tate" deals with a hitman (Fujiwara) who kills the granddaughter of a tycoon. When the tycoon places a 1 billion yen bounty on his head via full-page newspaper ads, he gives himself up to police. A special squad has to escort him from Fukuoka to Tokyo in one piece. Complicating matters is the fact that some of the police team are ambivalent about risking their lives for the hitman.

Asked if he was starting to copy generic Hollywood crime thrillers, Miike, 52, said during a press conference in Tokyo on Wednesday, "No, I'm not trying to copy anyone. But I am trying to go beyond the limits of past Japanese action movies."

On the other hand, Hollywood might come calling and ask him to direct an English version of the film. "In that case, I'd do it -- for the money," Miike said.

Fujiwara said he relished playing a bad guy. “I want to be hated by the entire nation," he joked. "But only on the screen, of course."

"Wara no Tate" opens in Japan on April 26.

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Miike's movie sounds like a mix between SWAT and Smokin' Aces.

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@sasoriza: which is not necessarily a bad thing. Looking forward to this one.

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I'll see it

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We don't need more crime thrillers.. there is already an overload of that kind of trash. Why not write a book and make films on something that is good, brings out the good, and doesn't pander to the cheap emotions of crime and crap

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"Complicating matters is the fact that some of the police team are ambivalent about risking their lives for the hitman."

I chuckled at this part. I thought for sure it was going to read, "Complicating matters is the fact that some of the police team were interested in the reward," but then I remembered it's Japan. That may well be a compliment, as it would certainly be the main complication anywhere else.... cast aside. I don't know who could take Fujiwara as the bad guy seriously.

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This sounds pretty good - bit like "The Gauntlet".

Nanako looks amazing, but Fujiwara as a bad guy? To me he looks too young for a hard-boiled hitman. Yes he was excellent as Light in "Death Note", but after seeing "Kaiji" I can't see him as a villain. Should be interesting.

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So they are not interested in getting the person who hired the hit man, sounds like Japan.

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