The jokes hurt more than the stabbings in Toichiro Ruto’s manga adaptation
“Raise them, then rob them. That’s the way we work.”
I normally like to be at least somewhat acquainted with a source material before getting into its film adaptation, especially when it’s something I end up reviewing. If only for consistency: Many reviews on this site talk from the point of view of someone who is if not a fan than at least familiar enough with the original work to be able to judge it on both its solo merit and as an adaptation. However, the amount of information available on Renji Asai’s assassin manga The Violence Action is so little that I have to treat it as a standalone, original film.
The Action Violence tells the story of Kei (Kanna Hashimoto), a bubblegum-haired university student by day and assassin at night. She works alongside her handler Zura (Takashi Okamura), and her boss Tencho (Fumika Baba), and they operate from a ramen restaurant, and at some point a boy from her class who has a crush on her gets involved. They find themselves tangled up in a war between two rival clans in the Denma Gumi crime family, led by Sandaime (Jiro Sato), though the story is hard to comprehend sandwiched as it is between terrible jokes, scenes that go nowhere and plenty of middle-of-the-road action sequences. I apologise to fans if my summary is unlike the actual story, but it was the best I could parse with my severely diminishing attention.
Even if you didn’t know this was a manga adaptation, it makes that pretty obvious within the first two minutes. It’s loaded with so many stylised fights and unnecessarily fake-looking wigs (only one of which is intentionally meant to look that way) that I’d have been floored if this was an original movie. However, as seems to be the norm with countless manga adaptations, this means that everyone’s performances are outside of the realm of believable, beyond cartoonish, into a realm where it’s impossible to take anything that’s happening with even the smallest grain of salt and it’s entirely possible your attention will have completely slipped by the half hour mark.
Not that it gets much more interesting beyond that. The story is cookie-cutter, and is loaded with characters and scenes that feel like they were meant to be bigger. Probably because they were bigger, back in a manga that I’m sure is at least halfway decent but that – thanks to this film – I have little to no interest in. The stylised schoolgirl assassin thing was dated when Zack Snyder ran it into the ground over a decade ago. Under a better writer or director, some fresh blood could have been sequeezed from this stale rock, but not here. The neon aesthetic, the loveable assassin team, even the silly comic book performances can all be found done way better in countless other films. This is a film for no one: fans will hate it (I assume), newcomers won’t be sold by the product. Maybe the sequel they bait so hard will be better. You know, the one that’s definitely never coming out.
Verdict: Tiresome and unfathomably boring, The Violence Action barely lives up to its preposterous name.
Overall entertainment: 3/10, purely for some nice visual elements
Violence: A bafflingly low 4/10
CGI blood: Buckets of polygons
Fashion of choice: Bulletproof wig, of course
The Violence Action (2022)
Also known as: バイオレンスアクション
Director: Toichiro Ruto
Writers: Toichiro Ruto, Itaru Era, Renji Asai (manga)
Kanna Hashimoto – Kei
Yosuke Sugino – Terano
Fumiko Baba – Tencho
Takashi Okamura – Zura
Jiro Sato – Sandaime
Win Morisaki – Kaneko
Oji Suzuka – Watanabe
Shunsuke Daito – Ayabe
Yuri Ota – Daria
Yu Shirota – Michitaka
Katsunori Takahashi – Kinoshita
Kenta Izuka – Kura