Movie Review- 'I Am A Hero.' A Japanese Zombie Triumph

Updated on December 19, 2017
NessMovieReviews profile image

Asian horror is becoming on trend. I am a big fan and find the cultural accents a breath of fresh air. I will recommend some for you.

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What’s It About?

Hideo Suzuki is an assistant comic book artist who wants to achieve the heights of success. In his world everyone else seems to get the rewarding career and the lifestyle he would like, Hideo is just trying to muddle his way through and get his comic published. Oh and he wouldn't mind a Rolex watch.

Suddenly people are acting strangely, the news is reporting bizarre behavior all over the city and people are trying to attack him.

Hideo owns a shotgun, even though he's a good marksman - using his gun anywhere other than the rifle range is against regulations. Hideo's not a rule breaker - he is just a nice guy trying to make sure no-one bites him.

Hideo grows a beard, showing they have been travelling for at least a day. What's a man to do when the girl you are trying to save needs to have naps?
Hideo grows a beard, showing they have been travelling for at least a day. What's a man to do when the girl you are trying to save needs to have naps? | Source

Quick Film Info

Title: I Am a Hero (has Japanese subtitles.)

Director: Shinsuke Sato.

Writers: Kengo Hanazawa (wrote the Manga), Akiko Nogi wrote the screen play.

Date of Release: April 2016, South Korea and September 2016 Worldwide.

Genre: Horror and action with zombies.

Box Office: $1.5 million at premiere opening weekend.

Hideo's boss after clubbing a ZQN,
Hideo's boss after clubbing a ZQN, | Source

I am a Hero - Trailer

What the Critics Thought

Due to some English-speaking folk needing subtitles to watch this and many not being into that type of thing, this movie is not well-known in my usual circle of movies. The list of critics is a bit shorter than it normally would be. Nevertheless, this movie has been very well-received by those that took the time to watch it.

Rotten Tomatoes described it as:

"A refreshing shot in the arm for a tried and tired genre."

Deep and Meaningful

In Japanese culture, Hideo's inability to pull the trigger represents his decency as a human being.

My Thoughts on the Film

I find movies with subtitles hard to watch, not because I don't enjoy reading, but because it takes a lot more concentration. I can't look away or I'll miss what they are saying. This movie runs for 2 hours and that's a lengthy amount of time, however, I am extremely enthusiastic about my zombie films. I will watch the good, the bad and the terrible. Luckily this was none of those things. This was fantastic.

Writers like to look at zombies in different ways. Westernized countries spit these types of movies out by the dozen, but Korea has only introduced these guys in the past few years and now it's Japans turn. I read a few Japanese newspapers which reported that normally this culture is not big on gore or violence. They often veer away from big displays of the stabby-stabby blood and guts that I am used to. Some movies even have the blood spatter parts masked out when shown in cinema in some countries.

This movie is R-Rated so I was expecting the 'normal' level of violence, gore and yuck so while watching it I did my usual hand in front of face to block the section on TV that would be eaten. Sometimes I prefer to not see the skin be ripped from the body, but sometimes I peek and this time discovered it was rather tame compared to its contemporaries.

Once infected, these zombies (referred to as ZQN's) immediately turn into puffy faced, vein rippled, wonky-eyed sleep-walkers that will run at you if you are a non-infected person. They are voracious and their teeth crumble out sometimes. Some look like they've been possessed by a demon. Some keep parts of their personality, often seen talking about the job they do, or the service they give in a repetitive brain-damaged way. Others have learned to fly because they were élite athletes and becoming a zombie has strengthened their ability. All these things made it highly entertaining.

The story was also very specific, with the character development unusually involved, though true to any horror plot, characters always have their dumb moments. There were also a few culture dynamics that made me laugh; like when one guy asks a girl he likes for sex, turns into a zombie, pokes his own eyes out then runs after her groaning hungrily;

"mama, mama!"

This is definitely a must see for zombie fans. I give 'I am a Hero,' 4 pole vaulting zombies out of 5.

"Meat! I want high-quality meat!"

One of the more unusual Japanese to English translations of a rich man turned zombie chasing after poor Hideo.

These zombies have that familiarity that westerners are used to with some added melty-ness. #IamAHero #JapaneseHorror #NewHorror
These zombies have that familiarity that westerners are used to with some added melty-ness. #IamAHero #JapaneseHorror #NewHorror | Source

Can you watch movies with subtitles?

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The Writers

Akiko Nogi - Screenplay

Previously to this movie, Akiko Nogi wrote a screenplay for a film in 2013 called 'Library Wars.' It's a far cry from the violent zombie movie he wrote for here as it's about an armed force created by the government to destroy anything in print deemed objectionable. The plotline for 'Library Wars' covers three other adapted for television novels which he also worked on.

Other works by Akiko, are a TV series which is untranslated into English T.V series, however, I was able to uncover a few random plot lines. One is a romantic drama about a housekeeper who marries her rich boss and another about a forgetful private detective.

Kengo Hanazawa - Author of the Manga Comic

Kengo is like the Japanese equal to Robert Kirkman who renowned for writing the comic behind the adaptation TV series, which is now the smash hit 'The Walking Dead.' (TWD just so happens is my all time favorite show.)

Kengo has written two comics which are very popular in Japan and are now movie adaptations. Some Japanese sites had many comments from fans wanting the next chapter from the book released as soon as possible as a sequel for 'I am a Hero.' I do too. I would love to see what happens next.

His other comic, 'Boys on the Run.' was turned into an action movie in 2010. It's about a geeky salesman who falls in love with a hot girl. Another guy likes her too and he is a boxer. He learns to fight so he can take it to the boxing ring and get the girl.

"If this was America, I would have ended you with one shot using a handgun."

— Hideo's boss after killing a zombie with a golf club.

Questions & Answers

    © 2017 Mother of Movies and Series Reviews

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      • NessMovieReviews profile imageAUTHOR

        Mother of Movies and Series Reviews 

        16 months ago from Moreton Bay, Queensland

        You should Cedric! It's a great little story.

      • CYong74 profile image

        Kuan Leong Yong 

        16 months ago from Singapore

        Hmm, I haven't heard of this. Sounds like something to check out!

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