Chameleon -- Film Review

BOTTOM LINE: Average con man action film with a backdrop of political intrigue.

Pusan International Film Festival
More Pusan 2008 reviews

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 "Death Note" series. Yet, despite some hard-hitting combat and kinetic car chases, "Chameleon" ends up feeling like a makeover of 1980s TV action.

Internationally, a DVD-based Asia genre film audience might be motivated by the cult status of "Death Note" to take an interest in anything starring the series' main lead. Aficionados of Japanese cinema might 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.