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Hard Romanticker (2011) (VCD) (Hong Kong Version) VCD

Matsuda Shota (Actor) | Watabe Atsuro (Actor) | Maki Kurodo (Actor) | Nakamura Shido (Actor)
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Hard Romanticker (2011) (VCD) (Hong Kong Version)
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YesAsia Editorial Description

Matsuda Shota picks up a metal bat and becomes one bad gangster in hard-boiled crime drama Hard Romanticker. Korean-Japanese director Gu Su Yeon veers far away from the comedic tone of his debut film The Yakiniku Movie: Bulgogi, adapting his semi-autobiographical novel about growing up as a Japanese citizen of Korean ancestry. A homage to tough-as-nails 1970's action films (many of them starring Shota's late father Yusaku, who is half-Korean), Hard Romanticker stars Shota as a thug who gets dragged into a gang war when his friends accidentally murder a relative of a rival gang member. Making use of his experience in advertising, Gu creates a stylish and violent look at a hard knock life.

Gu is a tough Korean-Japanese (or zainichi) hoodlum living in Shimonoseki. One day, Gu's friends break into their classmate's grandmother after picking up on an off-handed comment from Gu. Exasperating the situation, Gu is asked to safeguard a key for a yakuza member, kills a man on the street - not knowing that his victim is the brother is a pro boxer in a North Korean-Japanese gang – and even rescues a schoolgirl from being raped. With all sides closing in, how will Gu fight his way out of trouble?

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Technical Information

Product Title: Hard Romanticker (2011) (VCD) (Hong Kong Version) 浪漫暴走族 (2011) (VCD) (香港版) 浪漫暴走族 (2011) (VCD) (香港版) ハードロマンチッカー Hard Romanticker (2011) (VCD) (Hong Kong Version)
Also known as: 鐵骨柔情 铁骨柔情
Artist Name(s): Matsuda Shota (Actor) | Watabe Atsuro (Actor) | Maki Kurodo (Actor) | Nakamura Shido (Actor) | Maki Yoko (Actor) | Ishigaki Yuma (Actor) | Awaji Keiko (Actor) | Hakuryu (Actor) | Watanabe Dai (Actor) | Ashina Sei (Actor) | Nagayama Kento (Actor) 松田翔太 (Actor) | 渡部篤郎 (Actor) | 真木藏人 (Actor) | 中村 獅童 (Actor) | 真木陽子 (Actor) | 石垣佑磨 (Actor) | 淡路 惠子 (Actor) | 白龍 (Actor) | 渡邊大 (Actor) | 蘆名星 (Actor) | 永山絢斗 (Actor) 松田翔太 (Actor) | 渡部笃郎 (Actor) | 真木藏人 (Actor) | 中村 狮童 (Actor) | 真木阳子 (Actor) | 石垣佑磨 (Actor) | 淡路 惠子 (Actor) | 白龙 (Actor) | 渡边大 (Actor) | 芦名星 (Actor) | 永山绚斗 (Actor) 松田翔太 (Actor) | 渡部篤郎 (Actor) | Maki Kurodo (Actor) | 中村 獅童 (Actor) | 真木よう子 (Actor) | 石垣佑磨 (Actor) | Awaji Keiko (Actor) | 白竜 (Actor) | 渡辺大 (Actor) | 芦名星 (Actor) | 永山絢斗 (Actor) 마츠다 쇼타 (Actor) | Watabe Atsuro (Actor) | Maki Kurodo (Actor) | Nakamura Shido (Actor) | Maki Yoko (Actor) | Ishigaki Yuma (Actor) | Awaji Keiko (Actor) | Hakuryu (Actor) | Watanabe Dai (Actor) | Ashina Sei (Actor) | Nagayama Kento (Actor)
Director: Gu Su Yeon 具 秀然 具 秀然 グ スーヨン Gu Su Yeon
Release Date: 2012-08-23
Language: Japanese
Subtitles: English, Traditional Chinese
Place of Origin: Japan
Disc Format(s): VCD
Rating: III
Publisher: CN Entertainment Ltd.
Package Weight: 120 (g)
Shipment Unit: 1 What is it?
YesAsia Catalog No.: 1031304114

Product Information

Director: Su-yeon Gu

Based on director Gu Su-yeon’s autobiographical novel, Hard Romanticker is a spectacularly violent gangster movie that delivers its story with equal amounts of style and carnage. Dripping James Dean-like cool, bleach blond Gu (Shota Matsuda) is a young, cocky Korean-Japanese hoodlum living in Japan. When someone “accidentally” kills the grandmother of a ruthless rival thug, Gu soon finds himself on the receiving end as he becomes the target for bloody, even deadly, revenge. And it doesn’t help that the police are on his tail as well. What’s a snarly, cigarette-puffing thug to do? With tons of ultra-violence, rampaging youths and nihilistic retribution, Hard Romanticker is a sort of a modern-day A Clockwork Orange — yakuza style!
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YumCha! Asian Entertainment Reviews and Features

Professional Review of "Hard Romanticker (2011) (VCD) (Hong Kong Version)"

September 26, 2012

This professional review refers to Hard Romanticker (2011) (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version)
The excellently titled Hard Romanticker takes a (very) violent look at the Zainichi (Korean-Japanese) criminal underworld and youth gang battles, with popular actor Matsuda Shota, known for hit television shows like Boys over Flowers undergoing a dramatic image change as a particularly vicious, though charismatic brute. The film was written and directed by Gu Su Yeon, himself a Japanese citizen of Korean ancestry, and was based on his own semi-autobiographical novel about his younger years, which if even only half true probably makes him a pretty tough character. Though it sticks to some of the same themes as Gu's early outings such as the comedy The Yakiniku Movie: Bulgogi, the film shows a marked change in content and style, heading into far darker territory.

The film is set in Shimonoseki, a Japanese city with a high Korean ethnic mix, with Matsuda Shota as Gu, a fearless young hoodlum who spends his days hustling and trying to survive on the mean streets, generally managing to rub all the other criminals up the wrong way in the process. His life becomes considerably more complicated, not to mention dangerous after two of his comrades accidentally murder the grandmother of a North Korean gang leader Park (Kaname Endo, also in Takashi Miike's Crows Zero films) as a result of mistakenly having taken his advice. Gu himself makes matters worse by severely beating Park's brother, and ends up a wanted man, with other gangsters also after his blood for a variety of reasons and a persistent detective (Atsuro Watabe, Love Exposure) pressuring him. Despite finding a new life after being given a job managing a hostess club by a suave Yakuza called Takagi (Shido Nakamura, who also featured in John Woo's epic Red Cliff), Gu is soon dragged back into the underbelly of Shimonoseki, with his many enemies closing in and a happy ending looking unlikely.

Hard Romanticker really is an assault on the senses and a swift punch to the gut, Gu Su Yeon cutting loose and serving up a fast paced and hardcore tribute to the kind of rough, tough crime films being made by Japan back in the 1970s. The film is violent and bloody throughout, with an exceptionally high number of beatings, stabbings, burnings, murders and so forth, all of which are made more shocking by the casual, laidback manner in which they are presented, brutality and cruelty being accepted as simply part of life. At the same time, the film also shows a misogynistic streak a mile wide, with almost every female cast member being stripped, abused or raped at some point in the proceedings, and whether or not this is a reflection of the harsh reality, it does make things distasteful and hard going at times.

The film sets itself apart from other Japanese youth gang cinema outings like Crows Zero by featuring an unsympathetic cast of characters, very few of whom exhibit any decent qualities or hints of humanity, Gu painting a bleak, dog eat dog picture throughout. This is personified by his alter ego protagonist Gu, who despite being sort of quirky, charming and possessed of pretty boy looks, is a nasty piece of work indeed, amoral, prone to random and psychotic violence, and no less unpleasant to women than the rest of the male cast - saving a girl from rape in one scene, then callously assaulting a different girl later in the film. To a large extent, Matsuda Shota holds the film together with his stunning performance as Gu, perhaps drawing inspiration from his late father Yusaku, a half-Korean actor who actually starred in many violent crime dramas in the 1970s. Shota is on excellent form, and though it would have been too much of a stretch to make Gu likeable, his ruthless yet oddly amiable turn is utterly compelling.

While all of this might sound terribly dark and horrific, the film is surprisingly funny, with a marked line in dark humour throughout and a strangely upbeat jazz score from Kaoru Wada. The film's languid approach to its violence is at times very amusing in spite of its savagery, and once the viewer becomes accustomed to seeing people getting bludgeoned or whacked with iron bars at random, it does all become quite comical and surreal. Gu's direction is both stylish and gritty, and this too gives the film a different feel to other similarly themed efforts like the Crows Zero series, with an offbeat, almost beatnik vibe at times.

Though it might well alienate some viewers with its matter of fact ferociousness and mistreatment of women, Hard Romanticker is definitely the best youth violence film from Japan in recent years. Boosted by a welcome eccentricity and coffin black sense of humour, it's a spirited, kinetic film, with assured directon from Gu Su Yeon and a revelatory turn from Matsuda Shota, and viewers who like this kind of thing should find themselves very happy indeed.

by James Mudge - BeyondHollywood.com

This original content has been created by or licensed to YesAsia.com, and cannot be copied or republished in any medium without the express written permission of YesAsia.com.
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