Christopher Lambert’s character Paul Racine is a New Yorker who gets lucky with a mysterious oriental lady whilst on a business trip to Nagoya. After their night of passion he basically finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time having returned to her apartment just in time to see her decapitated for a transgression by the ninja assassin Kinjo whose face must never be seen by anyone. Incredibly Racine somehow survives the ninjas which really does transcend the bounds of realism given how easily they manage to butcher and savage far stronger opponents lying in their wake further down the line.
So Racine is in hospital and even watches my favourite ever TV programme ‘The A-Team‘ for a brief moment. He sure could have done with their help as he finds himself a man marked for death having seen the legendary Kinjo’s face and is interviewed by a rival ninja clan who protect and later teach him, by way of an older guy, some basic moves. There’s quite a few references to the Japanese code of honour and with Racine the witness in a murder he becomes the hunted (ah so thats how they got the title!) and how far this code goes is a recurring theme.
A train journey turns out to be one of the films high points as a slew of ruthless and shockingly violent carnage begins. Unlike most other films where there is the constant clanging sounds of swords in fights that go on for all eternity these ones involve a quick stab here and a slash there. It’s brutal and gruesome and is moderately successful in blending the old samurai mystique with modern Japanese society.
It’s a movie which just about scrapes over the halfway mark in the ratings due to its simplicity, pace and the pure fact that when I watched this I may have just been in the right mood for some pointless and unnecessary blood and gut violence.
Tokyo Fox Rating 6/10