What happens when you do a live movie (directed by Shinsuke Sato) adaptation of a popular manga series written and illustrated by Yasuhisa Hara which is based on the warring states period in China? You get a movie that grossed 690 million yen (about 8.56 million SGD) during its opening weekend and 4 billion JPY (about 50 million SGD) as of 13th May 2019 from the Japanese box office.
Of course, for those of us outside of Japan, we can only wait for it to reach our shores and thanks to mm2 Entertainment & Cathay Cineplexes, we finally got to watch it. Kenneth & Nicholas attended the premiere to tell you if all the hype is worth the wait!
Do note that for the purpose of this review, there are minor story spoilers, but these are kept to a minimum to not spoil the fun in watching the movie.
Set during the warring states period in ancient China, Shin (Kento Yamazaki) is a war orphan who dreams of becoming the greatest general under heaven. One day, he has a fateful encounter with a young man Eisei (Ryo Yoshizawa), the true heir to the Qin kingdom throne. Together, they seek to reclaim Eisei’s throne and unite the Warring States under a single banner. KINGDOM is the live-action adaptation of the manga series of the same name.
The first thing to mind is the scenery used in the movie. Sure it is your standard vast scenery that is probably used before in every other Chinese inspired sword fighting movie, but they were mostly on point. The main character Shin and Eisei also grows onto you and were given decent amount of time to develop their characters throughout the movie. While it would have been nice to see the other characters get more development time, the movie is already 2 hours long so something has got to give.
Same goes for the bad guys in the movie that some could have gotten a bit more screen time to develop their characters, or at least better developed fight scenes rather than a quick spar ending with the finishing move. A plus point though for bad king whose casting was spot on. We couldn’t help but cheer when he got what he deserved at the end. Special mention also to the greatest general as we couldn’t help but wonder which shampoo he uses as no matter what the action, his hair gracefully flowed along.
Action wise, there was nothing much to shout about throughout the movie. No major matrix special effects or the outlandish superpowers that some sword fighting movie bring to the table. Just a boy learning how to fight based on discipline, hard work and instinct to survive.
Considering that the movie has both Masami Nagasawa and Kanna Hashimoto taking on lead female roles and a fitting theme song by ONE OK ROCK (Wasted Nights), the movie scores extra bonus points with us. Other than that, there is nothing else we could point out that puts Kingdom above the current blockbusters showing now.
Overall Kingdom is a still a fun movie to catch if you need something of good entertainment value to kick back and relax after a long week at work.
Ratings: 3.5 out of 5
Movie stills courtesy of mm2 Entertainment.
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