Bullet Points: Crying Freeman
Before I begin I want to send out Happy Birthday wishes to a man I truly believe is one of the more underrated action heroes in action entertainment history, Mark Dacascos.
In this installment of Bullet Points, I will be reviewing Crying Freeman. The film stars Mark Dacascos in the titular role and is based off a popular manga (that’s Japanese comic books to us American folk). Crying Freeman is the story of a potter named Yo Hinomura, who unwillingly becomes an assassin for a clan known as “Sons of the Dragons”. He gets the nickname Crying Freeman because he sheds a tear after every kill.
This is a movie I remember hearing about but never could track down back in the 90’s when it was originally released. I’ve since come to learn that the movie was never released in the United States, which would explain the trouble I had finding it. But thanks to the Internet, the world is much smaller now than it was in 1995 so let’s get into the Bullet Points…
- Love Story: A good portion of the movie deals with the relationship between Yo and Emu O’Hara (what an awful name). Emu witnesses Yo kill two Yakuza guys and instead of fearing the man, she becomes fascinated with him. Unfortunately for her, there’s a little “Sons of the Dragons” rule that states anybody who sees the Freeman must die. When Freeman tracks her down at her home in Vancouver, instead of killing her, he ends up making love to her. Yo ends up falling in love with her and defies the “Sons of Dragons”. The romance turned out to be quite real as Dacascos ended up marrying the actress who plays Emu, Julie Condra, and they are still married to this day.
- This Ain’t No Marvel Movie: People today see the words “comic book movie” and they no doubt think of one of the many blockbusters put out by Marvel Studios. This is not that kind of movie… there’s a lot of story here and not a ton of the over the top action and almost non-stop excitement. The movie moves at a very deliberate pace. That’s not to say when the Freeman gets to do his assassinating that business doesn’t pick up… just don’t expect a wild roller coaster ride from start to finish.
- Supporting Cast: Dacascos does a great job in the lead role, but he does get some help from some experienced action stars including Mako who plays Yakuza boss, Shudo Shimazaki and is recognizable from his roles in movies like Conan the Barbarian, An Eye for An Eye and R0bocop 3. Rae Dawn Chong of Commando fame plays one of the detectives in the movie. And Byron Mann plays Freeman’s “Sons of the Dragons” ally, Koh. You may remember Mann from movies like Street Fighter and Sniper 3.
If you are a Mark Dacascos fan, this is a must see for you. If you are a manga fan, this one would also be of great interest to you. My only complaint with the movie is it felt a little long… but this seems to be the case with a lot of comic book movies as they want to get the origin story in there a long with the main story of the film.
Dacascos delivers in the fight scenes and you’ll definitely be rooting for him as he basically takes on the entire Yakuza at the end of the film.
Here’s a few more Bullet Points before I wrap this one up…
- Vancouver: So many movies and TV shows are filmed in Vancouver, British Columbia but it is always portrayed as a different city. This is the first time to my recollection that they admit to being in Vancouver for at least a portion of the movie.
- Birthday Suit: It seems fitting that I review this particular Mark Dacascos movie on his birthday, since he spends a few scenes in his “birthday suit”. At least he had the courtesy to put on a jock strap when the Yakuza interrupted his night of passion with Emu.
- Piece of Art: Emu’s character in the film is an artist and she actually paints a picture of Yo. It really is a quality painting and it would look great in the Bulletproof Action offices. I wonder if it still exists? Maybe Mark Dacascos has it in his home?
- Disposable Gun: The Crying Freman never uses the same gun twice for a kill. In fact, his guns have a self destruct feature so the murder weapon is always destroyed.