‘Japan’ movie review: Karthi’s heist comedy is uninspired, dull and lengthy

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Karthi in a still from ‘Japan’

Karthi in a still from ‘Japan’
| Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Residents of Tokyo might just be curious why ‘Japan’ is among the hot topics in entertainment portals this Deepavali.

For starters, it is not Japan. It is, as actor Karthi tells a dozen times in this Tamil film, ‘Jappaan’. Very late in the second half, we get the reason why Karthi is named so: apparently, his mother wanted him to brave all odds and become powerful, much like the country.

Well, ‘Jappaan’ is indeed powerful. Within the first few minutes of the film, we learn of a robbery in a leading jewellery store in the city, and the police spot unmistakable clues that point out that Japan is behind it.

Japan (Tamil)

Cast: Karthi, Anu Emmanuel, Sunil

Storyline: The hunt is on for Japan, a ‘pan-India’ thief’, after a robbery at a jewellery store

He is, as promotional material suggests, a pan-India thief. Police in four states are behind him, something that leads to a tiring, lengthy sequence. In his latest heist, he has just stolen more than Rs 200 crore. But alas, the riches he has hidden cannot help us, the poor, unsuspecting audience who are subject to a lengthy, dull film that cannot decide if it wants to entertain or educate.

It starts off as a heist comedy, where we are introduced to who Japan is. He is unpredictable, he likes making films on himself, and he is a thief that police are on the lookout for. All these characteristics, perhaps, lead to the garish costumes, funny hairstyle and exasperating voice that Karthi exudes. While those could be excusable and passed off as character traits, a storyline that beats around the bush for eternity cannot.

A still from Tamil film ‘Japan’

A still from Tamil film ‘Japan’
| Photo Credit:
Special Arrangement

Director Raju Murugan’s ideas surface once in a while, and when they do, there is a wee bit of promise in Japan. Like the portion in which a ‘twist’ happens and the suspect has to start thinking afresh. Or the sequence in which an innocent man is let off after much custodial questioning. There are places where Raju Murugan’s core idea – who is really a thief and how do we define him – comes forth. But they hardly scratch the surface, and we are left with an assortment of characters that we wish never existed. While Ravi Varman’s cinematography and colour schemes match the character, the dreary, dark frames wear you out after a while. Composer GV Prakash’s tunes too hardly stand out.

Karthi is among Tamil cinema’s diligent actors, mainly because he chooses his projects and directors with care. Much like most of his work, he remains committed to the colourful character he plays here, but the execution of Japan, which happens to be the actor’s 25th film, leaves much to be desired.

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