EmptyPusan International Film Festival
Esteemed director Junji Sakamoto's action thriller harks back to the political preoccupations of "KT" in its indictment of the usual dirty triptych of state leaders, conglomerates and yakuza. He packages this for a popular audience by casting Tatsuya Fujiwara of the "Deathnote" series. Yet, despite some hard-hitting combat and kinetic car chases, "Chameleon" ends up feeling like a makeover of 80s TV action.
Internationally, a DVD-based Asia genre film audience may be motivated by the cult status of "Deathnote" to take an interest in anything starring the series' main lead. Aficionados of Japanese cinema may also want to keep up with Sakamoto's repertoire. Neither groups will be very impressed.
The film starts on a breezy, comic key as a gang of con artists pull off a wedding scam. They incidentally capture footage of a kidnapping, and become targeted by a paramilitary unit serving corrupt politicians. The film is unsure of its own footing in handling this multi-genre item, and fails to provide enough political insight or adventurousness.