LIFF 27 - HK: Forbidden Super Hero - Cinema Review

'A film prominently featuring this much underwear has not right to be this boring.'

With new girl at school Aiko (Fumika Shimizu) held hostage by a group of masked robbers, would-be hero Kyosuke (Ryôhei Suzuki) barges in to save her. Disguising himself in what he thinks is one of the criminal's masks, he is disturbed to find that what he has put on his head is actually a pair of pants... little does he know that the pants give him super 'pervert powers', transforming him into superhero, Hentai Kamen.

Kyosuke's first dabble in applying underwear to his face is also the first, though sadly not last, time that HK: Forbidden Super Hero tells us its one and only joke. There should be a lot to like about Yûichi Fukuda's jolly film, but this is a piece that will quickly erode any charm it might have built up, the director obsessing over providing shot after shot of Kyosuke in various states of female dress or undress, posing in front of the camera, pontificating as he has to find his next pair of pants to boost his superpowers; which essentially boil down to having a large crotch and shoving it in various people's faces.

HK: Forbidden Super Hero is one of those legion of films which proves that having a good idea (bringing Keishû Andô's underground, parodical Manga to the big screen) isn't enough. You also need a good script, something which Fukuda's self-penned work is really lacking.

The result is that, after about half an hour and an effective funny prologue, there are no jokes to speak of, some very one-dimensional, un-funny villains and a plot going nowhere, and HK becomes something of a bore. It's no longer funny watching muscle-bound Suzuki posing in underwear and the central 'question' the film seems to pose (can a pervert also do some good?) isn't worth 90 minutes of your time.

Eventually the director confirms that he had indeed ran out of ideas, by finishing on the atypical blockbuster fight, pulling something gigantic enough to matter in this situation out of nowhere and guaranteeing a thoroughly un-involving finish. A film prominently featuring this much underwear has not right to be this boring.

HK: Forbidden Super Hero plays LIFF again on Wednesday 20th November at 16.00 in The Everyman.

The 27th Leeds International Film Festival (LIFF) takes place from the 6th-21st November at cinemas around the city, including Hyde Park Picture House and Leeds Town Hall. Tickets and more information are available via the official LIFF website.

By Sam Turner. Sam is editor of Film Intel, and can usually be found behind a keyboard with a cup of tea. He likes entertaining films and dislikes the other kind. He's on , Twitter and several places even he doesn't yet know about.

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