City Hunter: Secret Service (Japan 1996)

Rating: ***
Review Date: 3/20/11

I'm not a big "City Hunter" fan, but I saw this DVD on sale for $2 so I decided to pick it up. It's about as predictable and silly as you'd expect. Private eye Ryo Saeba takes on a job as a bodyguard for a cute 24 year old girl named Anna Shinzo. She's a secret service agent who has been assigned to protect her estranged father, who happens to be a presidential candidate. However, Anna is the one that the would-be assassins have their sites on, in order to blackmail her dad. The film effortlessly bounces back and forth between perverted slapstick comedy and high octane macho action, with everything custom tailored for Ryo's twisted personality. While he is utterly despicable, the female characters are well realized and nicely drawn, and the action sequences are exciting and thoughtfully played out. The film also tosses out several nods to Hayao Miyazaki's "Castle Of Cagliostro" (1980), which comes across as rather odd. Overall, it's a mixed bag. If you like "City Hunter," it's more of the same. Otherwise, it's probably a waste of time.