Jigen Daisuke (2023)

Jigen Daisuke (2023)

Stylish, western-influenced noir that ultimately just goes through the motions

5.8

Movie

Japan
Japanese, Spanish
Action, Crime, Drama, Thriller
2023
HAJIME HASHIMOTO
Akihiko Sai, Eugene Nomura, Honami Sato
120 min

TLDR

Sorry to Mr. Daisuke, but on principle I just have to root for the villain who can still destroy people in her wheelchair.

What it's about

Lone gunman Jigen Daisuke seeks out maintenance for his weapon in the city, only to become involved in a plot involving the kidnapping of children.

The take

Though it borrows from some of the oldest genre tropes—stoic but kind-hearted hero finding a heart in a community that needs his help—Jigen Daisuke still manages to carve out a visual identity that has one foot rooted in its Lupin III manga origins, and another in noir fiction. The world of the film is beautifully lit and feels bustling with activity, as are the frenetic action scenes that turn gleefully silly with the sheer amount of gunfire being sprayed everywhere. That said, the movie can't handle the number of plates it tries to spin, as side characters fail to develop more meaningfully and its more exciting parts are diluted by long stretches of drama that aren't as engaging as the film thinks they are. This feels like a sampler for the kinds of stories the title character could be involved in in the future, but little else.

What stands out

Though she doesn't get the full spotlight she deserves, the villain Adel (played by Yôko Maki) is instantly memorable as soon as she slaughters a room full of gun-toting thugs while performing spins in her wheelchair. Action-oriented anime and manga have always indulged in ridiculous characters, and Adel stands out as an original creation—a fun example of representation that doesn't make fun of her disability. If anything, the film needs more than the one wheelchair action sequence it gets. And if Jigen Daisuke really is set to make a return to the live-action screen in the future, Adel deserves another shot in the spotlight.

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