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'I Am A Hero' Film Review: A Japanese Zombie Triumph

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.

'I Am a Hero' is a Japanese zombie movie released in 2016.

'I Am a Hero' is a Japanese zombie movie released in 2016.

What is I Am a Hero About?

I Am a Hero is one of the best zombie movies I have ever seen. Straight after Train to Busan, of course.

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, while 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, but 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, just a nice guy trying to make sure no one bites him.

Quick Film Info

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

Director: Shinsuke Sato.

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

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 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?

Hideo's boss after clubbing a ZQN,

Hideo's boss after clubbing a ZQN,

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Why is I Am a Hero One of the Best Zombie Movies Ever?

I Am a Hero runs for 2 hours; 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.

Westernized countries spit these types of movies out by the dozen, but Korea has only introduced zombies to their horror movies in the past few years and now it's Japan's turn. A few Japanese newspapers reported the culture is not big on gore or violence. Japanese films veer away from big displays of gratuitous blood and guts. Blood spatter is often masked out when shown in the cinema in some regions.

I Am a Hero is R-Rated, so I was expecting the 'normal' level of violence, gore and blood us westerners expect. For those that sometimes partake in hand in front of the face to block when skin gets ripped from the bodies, there is little need for that here.

The Zombies

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. Others keep parts of their personality and are seen talking about the job they do, or the service they give in a repetitive brain-damaged way. There is even one that learned to fly because they were an élite athlete. Becoming a zombie strengthens abilities. All these things made it highly entertaining.

Character development is very unique and the 2-hour run time is easy to get through.

"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.

My Rating

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

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

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 not translated into English; 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 is 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.

© 2017 Movie Whisperer

Comments

Movie Whisperer (author) from Moreton Bay, Queensland on August 22, 2017:

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

Ced Yong from Asia on August 21, 2017:

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

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