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Japan Review: Karthi and Raju Murugan's latest outing is underwhelming and riddled with misfires

Karthi's 25th film Japan fails to strike a chord due to the weak writing and screenplay

Japan Review: Karthi and Raju Murugan's latest outing is underwhelming and riddled with misfires
Karthi in Japan

Last Updated: 03.09 PM, Nov 10, 2023


Story: When a murder and heist at a popular jewellery shop becomes the talk of the town, the police begin the lookout for the most wanted thief, Japan

Review: When it comes to entertainment, Karthi's films have always managed to offer an ample dose of it, but Japan clearly misses the mark. And considering the film comes from the stable of acclaimed filmmaker Raju Murugan, whose last piece of work was the thoroughly intriguing Lalagunda Bommaigal from Modern Love Chennai, it only adds to the disappointment.

The director, who is known for making socially conscious films like Joker, has dipped his hands into a full-throttle commercial cinema with Japan, but the problem here is that he packages a bit of his social commentary in the proceedings, which backfires.

Karthi is an expressive actor and this might be the first time in his career that he wears such a deadpan look throughout the film that we begin to wonder if Karthi was even interested in playing the character. One could argue that it is due to the alignment of his teeth, but that just doesn't cut the mustard. His dialogues, too, appear in a muffled and redundant tone, making it hard to connect with the emotions of Japan Muni, the person.

On paper, Japan is an interesting character, a thief who wants to live his life to the fullest and is also HIV positive (the condition doesn't add any weight to the story). 

As an eccentric thief, we expect more life, fun, drama and colour in Japan, but all we get is some zestless, bland and overly preachy dialogues that get so boring after a point that it begins to feel like a punishment. Some of the pop culture references, too, feel thrusted into the dialogues. The flashback scenes in the film, especially Japan's childhood scenes with his mother, only compounds the problem. Neither do they evoke any sympathy and nor do they help the plot. The only useful piece of information we get is why Japan is named after the country.

The film begins with a murder and heist (worth Rs 200 crore) at a popular jewellery showroom in Coimbatore, and when the cops join the dots, they draw a connection to the most wanted thief, Japan. But Japan claims that he is not responsible for the theft. Thereafter the plot goes up the spout.

Cops from three states, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala are on the lookout for him, with the Kerala Police always arriving on the spot after the criminal has left. Japan, on the other hand, is interested in meeting his crush and former film co-star Sanju (Anu Emmanuel).

Yes, Japan makes movies on his heists and releases them in a rundown theatre with the sole mission of outperforming Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol's Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge's two decade-long run at Maratha Mandir! And the cops have no clue about it. The 'film inside the film' is even more mind-numbing and can be billed as a cringe-fest. Adding to the woes is the VFX scenes, which appear amateurish.


It wouldn't be wrong to say that Japan doesn't have a leading lady and doesn't need one as well. Sanju has to be one of the weakest women characters penned by Raju Murugan and her presence in the film is mere tokenism. And her appearance throws a spanner in the works of an already slow-paced narration.

The only supporting actors that manage to make a bit of an impact is Vijay Milton as a smart cop disliked by the rest of the department and Japan's trusted aide played by Vagai Chandrasekar. Sunil once again gets stereotyped as a villain with a comedy touch and this time around, he hardly evokes any laughter. Jithan Ramesh as Gangadharan, Japan's nemesis is plain annoying and the actor goes over the top in every single scene!

Comedy has always been Karthi's forte and there are scenes where his prowess could have been put to good use. But Japan is so underwhelming that we stop caring for the film altogether, after a while.

The technical aspects like GV Prakash Kumar's music does not come to the rescue either. Japan is Karthi's landmark 25th film, but sadly, this would go down as a debacle in his career.

Verdict: Karthi's 25th film Japan barely entertains and ends up as a damp squib.The Raju Murugan film is a complete misfire on all aspects. 


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