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The Suspect Muroi Shinji (DVD) (Standard Edition) (English Subtitled) (Japan Version) DVD Region 2

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The Suspect Muroi Shinji (DVD) (Standard Edition) (English Subtitled) (Japan Version)
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YesAsia Editorial Description

First there was the popular 1997 Japanese television drama Odoru Daisosasen. Then came three television specials, and in 1998, the series came to the big screen in the form of the box office smash Bayside Shakedown. After that, there was the popular 2003 sequel Bayside Shakedown 2 and even a 2005 spin-off film, Negotiator Mashita Masayoshi. Now the popular cop franchise adds another winning installment to its ranks with The Suspect Muroi Shinji! Just like the earlier films in the series, The Suspect takes place in modern day Japan and revolves around the country's intricate, often serpentine police bureaucracy. However, this time the hero is Muroi Shinji (Yanagiba Toshiro), a stoic MPD chief investigator, who's definitely all business when it comes to dealing with matters of law.

In a cruel twist of fate, however, Muroi finds himself being arrested on conspiracy charges related to the use of excessive force against a murder suspect who ended up dead. Muroi discovers that he is a pawn in a shadowy power struggle originating from within the police department. He's also fully aware that he's got to watch his back against the money-grubbing lawyers representing the dead suspect and a no-nonsense prosecutor (Sano Shiro) looking to take the chief investigator down, no matter the cost! With only an inexperienced young lawyer (Tanaka Rena), his staunch ally Detective Kudo (Aikawa Sho), and plenty of average joe beat cops on his side, can Muroi clear his name? Find out in writer/director Kimizuka Ryoichi's winning new addition to the mega popular Bayside Shakedown saga!

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Technical Information

Product Title: The Suspect Muroi Shinji (DVD) (Standard Edition) (English Subtitled) (Japan Version) 容疑者 室井慎次 Standard Edition (日本版-英文字幕) 容疑者 室井慎次 Standard Edition (日本版-英文字幕) 容疑者 室井慎次 スタンダード・エディション (日本版) The Suspect Muroi Shinji (DVD) (Standard Edition) (English Subtitled) (Japan Version)
Artist Name(s): Yanagiba Toshiro | Tanaka Rena | Aikawa Sho | Yashima Norito | Fukikoshi Mitsuru | Kakei Toshio | Emoto Akira | Sano Shiro | Maya Miki 柳葉敏郎 | 田中麗奈 | 哀川翔 | 八嶋智人 | 吹越滿 | 筧利夫 | 柄本明 | 佐野史郎 | 真矢美季 柳叶敏郎 | 田中丽奈 | 哀川翔 | 八嶋智人 | 吹越满 | 笕利夫 | 柄本明 | 佐野史郎 | 真矢美季 柳葉敏郎 | 田中麗奈 | アイカワショウ | 八嶋智人 | 吹越満 | 筧利夫 | エモトアキラ | 佐野史郎 | 真矢みき Yanagiba Toshiro | Tanaka Rena | Aikawa Sho | Yashima Norito | Fukikoshi Mitsuru | Kakei Toshio | Emoto Akira | Sano Shiro | Maya Miki
Release Date: 2006-04-19
Publisher Product Code: PCBC-50931
Language: Japanese
Subtitles: English, Japanese
Country of Origin: Japan
Picture Format: NTSC What is it?
Disc Format(s): DVD
Region Code: 2 - Japan, Europe, South Africa, Greenland and the Middle East (including Egypt) What is it?
Duration: 117 (mins)
Publisher: Pony Canyon
Other Information: 2DVD
Shipment Unit: 2 What is it?
YesAsia Catalog No.: 1004100402

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Professional Review of "The Suspect Muroi Shinji (DVD) (Standard Edition) (English Subtitled) (Japan Version)"

December 14, 2005

When it comes to blockbuster movie franchises, there's nothing quite like the Bayside Shakedown phenomenon. Let's recap: to date, there has been a television series, three TV specials, two feature length films, and a spin-off flick, Negotiator Mashita Masayoshi. Now comes The Suspect: Muroi Shinji, and while that plucky, hard-working spirit the Bayside Shakedown series is known for is still alive and well, the franchise is starting to show signs of slipping, if this particular installment is any indication.

Yanagiba Toshiro stars as Muroi Shinji, a stoic Chief Inspector who finds himself caught between a rock and a hard place. During a murder investigation, all signs point to a young beat cop as the culprit. When the policeman flees questioning by Muroi's men, he is killed in an unfortunate traffic accident. The man's death effectively wraps up the case in the minds of Muroi's superiors, but the tough-as-nails inspector smells a rat and reopens the investigation. That move, of course, wins him no friends with high-ranking officials at the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department and the National Police Agency, since the Chief of the TMPD and the Deputy Commissioner of the NPA are each vying for a shot at Japan's number one job in law enforcement. To effectively muzzle Muroi, he is arrested on more or less bogus charges related to police brutality. As such, he not only finds himself negotiating the troubled waters of the police bureaucracy, but also butting heads with the Hajima Law Office, a soulless law firm whose main lawyer is a nerdy, Gameboy-playing Johnnie Cochran wannabe with his own ruthless agenda. On Muroi's side, there are his various, ever-faithful officers and his lawyer, a young woman named Obara (Tanaka Rena), a novice lawyer with a personal vendetta against cops, who ends up defending Muroi out of sense of duty. As the film wears on, audiences will begin to wonder whether the hard-fought efforts of Obara and the detectives will be enough to bail Muroi out, especially in light of the giant political machinery that stands in their way.

Series director Motohiro Katsuya steps aside for this installment, as Kimizuka Ryoichi takes on the directorial reins. It's a smooth transition, at least visually and thematically. The hard-working, duty-bound spirit of the franchise lives on here, but ultimately, the film's title protagonist leaves something to be desired in the character department. Simply put, Muroi Shinji lacks the charisma to carry an entire film. While there's some visual flourishes to make Muroi seem "cool" (his John Woo-esque swirling, slo-mo overcoats for one), his moroseness isn't quite as endearing as it should be. Yes, in terms of acting performance, Yanagiba is able to give his character some sense of an inner life - his take on a saccharine sweet cliché about true love (think Korean drama here) late in the film proves to be both believable and surprisingly moving - at the end of the day, his character doesn't make for a very compelling lead.

Consider the previous film, Negotiator Mashita Masayoshi. There, the hero was a complete dork, but he was also damn good at his job - and that contrast was both a joy to behold and an interesting change of pace, especially since Hollywood heroes are either supremely competent James Bond types in action films or endearing bumblers in comedies, but are rarely ever both. Here, there's just the sense that Muroi should somehow be kicking ass, if not literally, then at least in terms of cutting through the bureaucracy. Instead, he pretty much sits around, looks stoic, and waits for others to help him. The big finale in an abandoned church seems as if it's going to remedy the problem, but it doesn't. Just when you think Muroi is going to take the bull by the horns, he falters - only to be bailed out by others. Even worse, once the main players in the mystery are revealed, one wishes that both the investigation itself and the characters involved could have been the main thrust of the plot, not the quagmire of Japan's criminal justice system. Granted, the police bureaucracy aspect of the film is a staple of the series, but at least in The Suspect, it's not quite as riveting as one might hope.

Still, The Suspect: Muroi Shinji is a likeable diversion, and will certainly appeal to fans of the series. However, newbies would do well to pick a different point of entry into the Bayside Shakedown franchise. Although the series has never been about larger than life Hollywood-style heroes, this film's lack of a more substantive, dynamic protagonist is so glaring that I can only give the film a half-hearted recommendation. This one's more for the fans.

By Calvin McMillin

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