A mysterious virus suddenly spreads throughout Japan causing widespread panic. People infected with the virus are called ZQN. The ZQN attacks people with superhuman strength and their victims will also become ZQNs. Hideo Suzuki happens to meet a female high school student, Hiromi Hayakari. They ran away from the city together, but Hiromi has already been bitten by a baby ZQN. The baby ZQN however did not have any teeth and Hiromi is in half state of being a ZQN. They then meet Nurse Yabu at a shelter. Yabu hopes she can draw an antibody from Hiromi. -Based on the manga series ‘I am a Hero’ by Hanazawa Kengo.
For the past few months, I have been hearing praises for “Train to Busan”, South Korea’s contribution to the zombie/undead genre. After watching it, I was left unimpressed, as it was a bit too tame for my personal tastes. I sought something more graphic, gory, and indicative of a more adult take on the genre. Fast forward to two hours ago, having finished I AM A HERO, and I am still giddy with excitement. The film is impressive in almost every conceivable way; As a film based on a well-respected manga, I did not expect much from the movie. Usually, movies made from manga reflect a very sophomoric take on the story, to appease more “sensitive” audiences. This film, however, goes all out with the blood and gore, and keeps all of the useless stuff (sex, romantic interests, comedy) to a minimum.
The directorial style is indicative of an understanding in how to perfectly translate manga to film, the cinematography is impressively nuanced and clear in its presentation, and the acting is superb all around. The real stand out, however, are the special effects. Every single instance of a head exploding, an arm being ripped off, and blood spewing from an open wound is handled with so much love and care, that even Hollywood films could learn a thing or two about being restrained with showcasing blood and gore, but when something is shown, it should be done with this much knowledge and skill in the craft.
I was thoroughly engrossed with how the story transpired, and I was happy with the lack of romantic interest in favor of creating a story about an ordinary guy thrust into a very extraordinary situation. For anyone with a more discerning horror/action/comedy palette, give this film a watch. I guarantee that it will satisfy even the most ardent of gore hound, while still appeasing the average movie fan. Overall, the best Japanese film (outside of anime) I have seen all year. I offer a very enthusiastic recommendation.
Check out the first couple minutes of the film in this exclusive teaser video: