Crying Freeman (1995)
Director: Christophe Gans
Tchéky Karyo/Detective Netah
A seemingly unstoppable Samurai assassin named The Freeman (Dacascos) sees his world turned upside down when he falls for one of his intended targets (Condra). With a power struggle going on within the underworld and The Freeman’s head being offered as a way up to anybody who chops it off, our two lovers find themselves fending off a horde of tough-as-nails attackers in every chop-socky way imaginable. WAAAAAAAA-YAAAAAAAAAAAAA!
I’ve wanted to see this bad ass flick for a while now. Being that it still doesn’t have US distribution, it took me a couple of years to get my dirty paws on it. Well, my long mission has finally been accomplished, I lost a couple of good men in the process and burned down some villages, but I’m proud to say: this jerk-off now owns it. Break out the champagne!
Based on the Japanese anime of the same name, "Crying Freeman" is a stylish, over-the-top festival of gunplay and fight sequences that made me curse out loud with joy more than once. Props go out to Christophe Gans for having done his “John Woo” homework and applying what he learned here. Witnessing the action pieces in this puppy was quite a treat. Gans filmed them as if they were a religious experience and he sure had me kneeling at the altar. I’m talking gripping slow motion, slick angles, feathers, ambers, drapes floating about and a poetic aura present through it all. Marc Dacascos (Freeman) should also get a couple of “Margaritas” tossed his way for impressing the living shite out of me with his gravity defying physical prowess. Wait 'till you see this dude go up a door (you’ll have to see it to believe it) or jump in the air horizontally between two assailants to then kick the crap out of them. HOT DAMN! This boy is nuts!
On a sour note, the film did lose me slightly during its middle section. After paying up two solid action pieces early on and establishing an engaging love story, the flick moved into this whole supernatural jive that I had a hard time digesting. The Freeman’s roots are explored via flashbacks, some tacky witch came into play and a subplot involving a crooked cop kicked in. I’m still not sure if it was the way it was written that turned me off or the way that it was executed, but I’ll lean towards execution more. The biggest sin in regards to that whole section is that the love story is somewhat abandoned. I was grooving on it from the get-go and didn’t dig its dismissal. My last peeves would have to be that some of the dialogue was a tad corny at times, and that Rae Dawn Chong showed up briefly to stink up the joint (girl can’t act). But…
Just when I thought that this Freeman wouldn’t live up to its first block and that it would degenerate into an average offering, it swiftly side-kicked me in the nuts by putting out a last segment that was beyond enthralling. What a massacre! I LOVED IT! Martial arts sequences, gun fights, sword play, explosions…I mean the damn works! When the end credits rolled, I had a huge smile on my face. With its orgy of violence finale, the flick definitely made up for its weaker mid-section and made the whole a goddamn fun trip. When all was said and done, I was "Crying Freeman" alright! Crying for more yo!
We get a storm of bullet hits, a knife in the throat, a knife in the back, arrow mayhem, sword carnage and machine gun slaughters left and right. YOU WILL SEE RED!
Mark Dacascos (Freeman) is perfect for this part. The man is pumped up like a champ, is awesome at fighting and is very photogenic. He can also act. Julie Condra (Emu) underplays it and I got a lot out of her expressive eyes and plump lips. Tchéky Karyo ( Detective Netah) does ok but his presence annoyed me somewhat. Was it the part? The acting? It was both. Rae Dawn Chong (Forbe) just never did it for me. I think her acting is weak and her close-ups painful. Yôko Shimada (Lady Hanada) does great as the seductive/deadly cock tease. Masaya Kato (Ryuji Hanada) was kool when he fought and grunted, but when the man had lines…I didn’t buy it. Mako (Shido Shimazaki) also pops up here and he’s solid as always. This dude is everywhere!
T & A
Some Asian lady goes topless as she bounces off some dude’s engine like a horny banshee. The ladies will be happy to know that Dacascos goes nude at the drop of a dime here (no dick shots though). Julie Condra also strips down but for some reason, we don’t get to see squat. Too bad...baby looks yummy!
Gans must eat, sleep, shit and piss "style" on a daily basis. The visuals that he injects in here are freaking mad! The action is well choreographed, the slow motion is always well used, the shot composition is nuts, the play on sound and silences are gnarly and the fight choreographies are bang on! NICE!
The score sports some heavy guitar riffs with that Asian feel popping in now and then. Potent stuff!
"Crying Freeman" wound up being the "money". It grabbed me by the collar for its first half, let go of me slightly for its second part and then proceeded (without warning) to whoop my ass like nobody’s business for its final act. I was black and blue after this one and that’s a GOOD thing! I still don’t get why this flick didn’t get a wide release in the States, I still don’t get why Dacascos isn’t a huge star yet, I still don’t get why that chick stood me up last Friday night (that’s my own shit going on) and I still don’t get why there isn’t a sequel to this well crafted adrenaline shot yet! There’s a lot of shit I can’t grasp but one thing I do know: SEEK AND VIEW THE FREEMAN!
"Crying Freeman" was filmed for $ 8 million, with financing from Asia, Europe and America.
For some odd reason, the film doesn’t have U.S. distribution. How movies like "The Mangler 2" get distribution and not this gem is beyond me!