Made in Japan | Chicago Reader

Made in Japan

This caustic satire about Japan's amoral, profit-driven colonialism in Asia was released in 1993, before Japan's economy collapsed, so the film has lost some of its edge. Takahashi (Henry Sanada) is an engineer dispatched by a construction giant to a military-run country—a thinly disguised Thailand—where his company is competing with another Japanese firm for a bridge-building contract. When a coup erupts, he, a coworker, and their counterparts at rival companies reluctantly band together as they try to escape. Director Yojiro Takita (The Yen Family) finds lots of comedy in the Ugly-Japanese behavior, corruption, and fish-out-of-water mishaps. But a march through a vermin-infested jungle that cements the men's friendship is too slapstick, and Takita also panders to action fans by lingering over the gore and stunts in the long battle sequences. Still, the film is a smart social study, counterpointing the sardonic portrayal of Japanese businessmen stationed overseas with a heartfelt appreciation of their predicament and resourcefulness. In Japanese and Thai with subtitles. 115 min.

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