I AM A HERO, the manga-adapted film whose original work was what inspired Korean zombie-themed blockbuster film Train to Busan, follows the story of an unlikely hero who suddenly finds himself amidst a zombie apocalypse. Suzuki Hideo (played by Oizumi Yo) is a 30-something aspiring manga artist who currently works as a manga assistant. With his chance of debuting bleak, his girlfriend breaks up with him. Meanwhile, a mysterious disease spreads throughout Japan.
The next day, Suzuki receives a call from his girlfriend. Because she sounded weird on the phone, Suzuki decided to check up on her. And, surprise, surprise, his girlfriend has transformed to a zombie. Barely making out of the house alive, Suzuki rushes to his workplace (i.e. the manga artist’s house), and sees a grisly scene—his colleagues have all turned into zombies.
All hell breaks loose as zombies start attacking citizens on the street. Suzuki then meets schoolgirl Hayakari Hiromi (played by Arimura Kasumi), and they go on an adventure to escape from the hoard of zombies…
Overall, the film is okay-paced, gory and keeps you on edge. I became a fan of apocalypse-themed films after watching Train to Busan, so there’s no way I’m going to miss out on watching I Am A Hero. Compared to Train to Busan, I Am A Hero is far more violent, and while Train to Busan focuses on kinship and human relationship, I Am A Hero casts its spotlight on the protagonist, and how he, from being a wimpy (and overly polite) common guy, becomes a hero that rises to the occasion. Also, while almost every character in Train to Busan has a story and purpose in the film, I wouldn’t say so for I Am A Hero. For example, the initial leader of the survivors is a jerk, but we don’t know why or how he became the leader.
And a special mention on Arimura for portraying the most useless female lead ever. All she ever did in the film was sleep or sit around like a doll. Yes, an emotionless doll. I’ve seen enough films and dramas starring Arimura (i.e. Love That Makes You Cry, Eien no Bokura Seaside Blue, Erased), and I’ve given her acting enough chances, but my, every time I see her, my heart dies a little. Initially when I watched Love That Makes You Cry, I thought her detached way of acting was duly because of the character she’s portraying, but in the other shows I see the same emotionless face. It just feels as if she really can’t act?
Back to her role in I Am A Hero. Yeah, all the time she was just sitting around like a sack of potatoes, and she really is of no help to the others, who are all trying their best to fight off the zombies and survive. At the back of my head I really wished the protagonist would just pull a savage move and feed Arimura to the zombies. Problem solved. It’s really soooooo infuriating to see a character that serves no purpose. Why even bother having her in the story? Is she supposed to be immune to the virus (considering she became a half-zombie after being bitten by an infected baby), and if she is, why isn’t there any special mention of this? It would’ve been better if the story didn’t have Arimura’s character—instead of wasting screen time on a character that sits around (literally), why not spare the attention to the other characters and, you know, develop their character a bit more?
I also wished there were more actions between the zombies and the characters. Only the last 30 minutes or so were filled with solid action (with Suzuki shooting the shit out of the zombies with his rifle and others hacking the zombies with whatever tools they have).
In conclusion, I Am A Hero can be a good film on its own, but since it served as the inspiration for Train to Busan, there’s no way to not compare these two films. Train to Busan wins in all aspects—storytelling, characters’ story and purpose, and action. I do applaud Oizumi for his acting in the movie, and his character as an underdog turned hero is surely inspiring, albeit not anything new. If you like blood spilling (everywhere) and basically zombie-themed films, you might want to give this film a try.
Shuntaro: What will be the next case? I wonder… Asuka: What are you expecting? Junpei: Then, should I request something? Shall I invite you all to my wedding ceremony? Asuka: Is it with Yuki-chan? When did it become like that? Junpei: Are you surprised? The other day, she said that she would listen to me for 3 minutes. Shuntaro: What’s 3 minutes? Junpei: Until recently, I only had 3 seconds. It’s an amazing progress, right?
MOST MOST DAME ARASHI └ VS嵐 #160 | 2012年01月03日 ♦ New Year Special (なでしこジャパン Team VS 松本潤+「ラッキーセブン」 Team VS 嵐+バナナマン&新庄剛志&GACKT) Jumping Shooter ♦ 松本潤 going running past 大泉洋 to get the (easier) upper goal.