Detective Story (2010)

Rating: ***
Review Date: 8/7/10
Written, Directed, And Produced By: Hiroshi Adachi
Fight Choreography: The Stunt People
Cast: Eric Jacobus, Hiroshi Adachi, Emily Pando, Edward Kahana

Much better than I expected, especially given the poor packaging. Paul White (Eric Jacobus) and Yuji Sato (Hiroshi Adachi) are a couple of mismatched private detectives who haven't had a case in months. It's not long before an attractive young woman in distress shows up (Emily Pando) and hires the two of them as bodyguards. She claims to have a stalker, but it turns out that the Mafia is after her. Paul and Yuji get repeatedly beat up as Emma's past unravels, and they get a lot more than they bargained for.

The story is fairly bland and uninteresting, and really just an excuse to stage some delightful action sequences. Eric Jacobus (The Stunt People) is in excellent form and really stretches his acting wings, proving that he has potential for both comedy and sensitivity. His previous efforts seemed forced and awkward, and he comes across as much more natural and confident this time around. His fight scenes are fast, furious, and hard hitting, and the highlight of the film is a fantastic exchange between him and Edward Kahana. Writer/Director/Producer/Actor Hiroshi Adachi sees his fair share of action as well, and while his form is excellent, his execution is a bit slower and softer, and lacks the visual flair of his co-stars. Thankfully, the cinematography and editing are able to keep up with the choreography, providing excellent coverage and movement. Big budget Hollywood productions still can't get this right.

The production values are quite good for a low budget film, but the audio quality tends to suffer. The action scenes are also over-dubbed just a little too heavily, which can be distracting. What amazes me most about the film is the locations. Where do people find these great abandoned warehouses, airfields, shipping yards, and housing developments? There's even an abandoned swimming pool that's covered in graffiti, which would be a fantastic place for any photographer to shoot in. I'm obviously looking in all the wrong places for my personal projects. The film is only an hour long, but it knows its limitations and doesn't overstay its welcome. Definitely a fun ride for action fans, and it's nice to see The Stunt People expanding their portfolio.