The Amamiya Brothers prove why they are the hotshots in the HiGH&LOW universe as they boost the action and deepen the drama in their spin-off, The Red Rain.
Just like HiGH&LOW The Movie, The Red Rain goes for adrenaline rush right on the onset. Takeru, Masaki, and Hiroto Amamiya show off their motorcycle riding skills and hand-to-hand combat as they obtain some important items in exchange for cash from a dubious gang. Despite the success of their so-called mission, Takeru leaves on his own and his two younger brothers are left bewildered. A year goes by and the Amamiya Brothers are still in search for their aniki (the Japanese honorable term for an older brother or a superior). During those times, they get involved with some troubles at the S.W.O.R.D district while following a tip that Takeru is in the Nameless Street. That explains why Smoky is familiar with him (Not because they worked together in Criminologist Himura and Mystery Writer Arisugawa). Masaki and Hiroto search at the Rude Boys’ bomb-stricken terrority but Takeru is nowhere to be found.
On the day of their parents’ death anniversary, they expect to be reunited with their aniki. Instead, they meet a woman who is being chased by a group of white-suited gangsters. Aika Naruse has some clues about Takeru’s whereabouts.
After Mugen defeats Hyuga Group and the gangs of S.W.O.R.D. protect their land from Iemura Group; this time, The Amamiya Brothers seek justice and take revenge on Kamizono Group – another gang that’s affiliated with the powerful Kuryu. With a little help from a female hacker and the boys of Sannoh Rengokai, The Amamiya Brothers try to expose the illegal transactions of this dangerous syndicate.
Some scenes in the movie were filmed in my country. The action-packed opening sequence took place in Manila’s historic Walled City where the university I graduated from is located. The other familiar locations include The Manila Cathedral, Manila Central Post Office, Binondo (Chinatown), and Manila American Cemetery located in Fort Bonifacio which is only 30 minutes away from my current residence. Regardless of the time of the year, the heat in this city always goes beyond 30 degrees Celsius. So, while watching this flick, my thought goes from “Why did I not stalk them when they’re filming nearby?” to “They must’ve felt so uncomfortable, wearing suits and leather jackets, in this temperature.” the entire time.
Some shots are impressive but not quite as stylish as the Korean movie Master which used some of the same filming locations.
The Red Rain is a part of EXILE TRIBE’s comprehensive entertainment project so no wonder it ticks a lot of items from the list of action movie clichés.
The opening includes an explosion because that’s just what legit badasses do. Masaki and Hiroto walked away from the blaze in a bit of a slow motion providing viewers some ample time to swoon at their handsome faces.
- Tragic Backstory
Fights are meaningless without anything emotionally at stake so the spin-off gives us a glimpse of the Amamiyas’ good ol’ days with a revelation that I actually did not expect. The main actors’ teenage counterparts (Tatsuomi Hamada as young Takeru, Akira Onodera as young Masaki, and Taiyo Yoshizawa as young Hiroto) effectively showcased the brothers’ backstory, and as expected, it’s an adorable but tragic one.
- A Woman Is Involved
There’s always a girl waiting to be saved and Hiroto’s tsundere-ness is no match against her charms. The pink motorcycle rear seat is just too cute and I just went “aww” at the scene when he hugged her and uttered the exact same line that his older brother once said.
- The One-Liner
“Use your fist to protect things that are important to you.”
Takeru mentioned this line several times as if trying to justify his decision to take the violent route.
- Chase, guns, and glasses
An action movie is not without an exhilarating pursuit while firing guns at the same time but Kamizono’s armed members have such terrible aim, they make the defenseless leads look like they’re impervious to bullets. On top of this comes a poetic revenge that requires an entrance by shattering window glasses.
- The Villain Survived (or did he?)
Even though the brothers spend their entire life wanting to kill the bad guy and they spend the film’s entire plot chasing after him, in the end, he only gets beaten to a pulp. The movie doesn’t totally cross the gangster genre and tries to retain its yankii genre by not allowing its main characters to commit a crime. As Takeru said, he should be the only one who has to get his hands dirty.
- The Cliffhanger
After risking everyone’s lives to obtain the evidence that could take the villains down, they don’t hand it over to the proper authorities. Instead, they pass it to a “trustworthy” person who will continue the fight.
Directed by Yudai Yamaguchi, The Red Rain stars Takumi Saito, EXILE TAKAHIRO, Sandaime J Soul Brothers’ Hiroomi Tosaka, and Miyu Yoshimoto.
With two of EXILE TRIBE’s most powerful vocalists on-board, the movie comes with both energetic and dramatic theme songs.
Undeniably melodramatic and a tad old-fashioned but visually satisfying with its impressive action scenes and the fierce presence of its lead actors ( I die every time they do a close-up shot of Omi’s side profile); the movie pays homage to the long-established action genre and solidifies the Amamiya Brothers’ status as legends in the world of HiGH&LOW. The Red Rain paves the way for two more upcoming films called End of Sky and Final Mission.