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  1. Crying Freeman ( クライングフリーマン ) August Entertainment, 1995 Not available in the U.S. (for reasons unknown) Directed by Christophe Gans (Silent Hill, Onimusha) Based on the manga by Kazuo Koike (Lone Wolf and Cub, Lady Snowblood) and Ryoichi Ikegami (Sanctuary, Mai the Psychic Girl) Running Time: 102 minutes Not Rated (suggested R). Contains graphic violence, nudity, sexual situations and profanity. Cast Mark Dacascos (The Crow: Stairway to Heaven, The Chairman in Iron Chef America) as Yo Hinomura/Crying Freeman Julie Condra (Mark's wife) as Emu O'Hara Byron Mann (Ryu in Street Fighter: The Movie, Detective Sung in Dark Angel) as Koh Tchéky Karyo (Bob in La Femme Nikita, Jean Villeneuve in The Patriot) as Detective Netah Rae Dawn Chong (Squeak in The Color Purple, Claudia in Highlander: The Series) as Detective Forge Masaya Kato as Ryuji Hanada Yoko Shimada (Mariko in Shogun, Mieko in The Hunted) as Lady Hanada Mako (1933-2006) (Kanemitsu in RoboCop 3, Nakano in Highlander III: The Sorcerer) as Shido Shimazaki Synopsis One morning, while painting the landscape on the hills of San Francisco, CA, a Canadian woman named Emu O'Hara witnesses the murder of a Yakuza member at the hands of a man who sheds tears after each kill. He introduces himself to her as "Yo." Because of this, Emu is marked by Chinese Mafia rule as Yo's next victim. When she returns to her hometown of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, members of the Shimazaki clan and an Interpol agent named Netah are on the scene in hopes of using Emu as bait to lure in Mr. Yo - infamously known in the crime world as "Crying Freeman." Yo's mission is further complicated when Emu reveals that she is in love with him. As a result, Yo must now protect Emu from both the Shimazaki Clan and "The Sons of the Dragons" - the Chinese Mafia that brainwashed him and trained him to be the perfect assassin. Lowdown Time and time again, it has been proven that manga and anime titles do not translate well in western cinema - especially during the manga/anime boom of the 1990s. During this time, Crying Freeman generated a cult following here in the U.S.; but in France, both the manga and anime were so popular, the people over there decided to adapt it into a live-action film. And so, with the cooperation of the city of Vancouver, BC, Canada, along with Tohokushinsha and Toei Co. Ltd., the French came up with this movie. And what a disappointment it was. First off, certain key characters had to be westernized to keep up with the limited budget while filming in Vancouver - namely Freeman's lover Emu (played by American actress Julie Condra) and the detective Nitta (now Netah, played by French actor Tchéky Karyo with a slurred American accent). Second, many of the actors delivered sub-par performances. Byron Mann, who already crippled his career in Street Fighter: The Movie, gave a really bland portrayal of Freeman's partner Koh. Julie Condra is really hot, but she just can't act. Veteran Japanese actors Yoko Shimada and Masaya Kato and the late Mako practically wasted their time on this film. As for the storyline, it's a disaster. It destroys everything Freeman is about. In the manga, Freeman is supposed to be an indispensable asset to the 108 Dragons, regardless of his mistakes. The movie, however, shows him as expendable to the Sons of the Dragons. In that case, why all the time spent on tattooing and training him in the first place? Is there at least anything good about this film? Actually, there is. The fight scenes are very well choreographed and filmed, and you get to see the potential of Mark Dacascos' martial arts skills outside Only the Strong and Only the Brave. The highlight is Freeman's final battle with the Hanada clan at his home. So overall, Crying Freeman is a disappointing adaptation, but surprisingly entertaining as a martial arts film. Rating: C- References The Internet Movie Database
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