First Love – The DVDfever Cinema Review – Takashi Miike

First Love
First Love is the third film I’ve seen from director Takashi Miike, who has made over 100 in his time.

I loved Audition, but was woefully disappointed with Terra-Formars, so how does this one fare?

The film centres around young boxer Leo (Masataka Kubota), who was orphaned as a baby, but the sad news continues when his doctor tells him he has a tumour at the base of his skull, posing the question of whether he’ll have the dangerous operation to remove it.

“We’re looking for a plot. Can you help us?”

In time, his path will cross with call-girl Monica (Sakurako Konishi, top, with Leo) – who keeps hallucinating about seeing a Japanese man wearing only his pants while dancing to Bhangra music, but elsewhere, the mafia are looking for a one-armed man called Wang, the head of a Chinese gang, because he had the other arm cut off by Gondo, one of the current pack we’re following.

Factor in corrupt cops, Triads, drugs, a lot of double-crossing and a man having his head chopped off in the street early on, and the scene is set for a great deal to happen within the 108-minute running time, including the brandishing of samurai swords in the last 30 minutes… so why is everything so damn slow? All too often, there are endless scenes of people talking about inconsequential things rather than getting on with any semblance of a plot, plus lots of screaming out of nowhere, as if that’s the only way to make your point heard.

My favourite character was Julie, a hot Japanese woman, always running about with no trousers on… even if she did scream for an inordinate amount of time. You get the feeling that in a relationship, she’d… erm… wear the trousers.

First Love is out today in cinemas, and is available to pre-order on Blu-ray, Amazon Video and DVD.

On the left, on the poster, the aforementioned Julie (Becky aka Rebecca Eri Rabone).

Detailed specs:

Running time: 108 minutes
Release date: February 14th 2020
Studio: Signature Entertainment
Format: 2.35:1
Rating: 1/10

Director: Takashi Miike
Producers: Muneyuki Kii, Misako Saka, Jeremy Thomas
Screenplay: Masa Nakamura
Music: Kôji Endô

Leo: Masataka Kubota
Monica: Sakurako Konishi
Julie: Becky (Rebecca Eri Rabone)
Fortune Teller: Bengal (Haruo Yanagihara)
Chiachi: Mami Fujioka
Yasu: Takahiro Miura
Ichikawa: Jun Murakami
Otomo: Nao Ohmori
Kase: Shôta Sometani
Doctor: Ken’ichi Takitô
Fu: Chun-hao Tuan
Gondo: Seiyô Uchino
One-Armed Wang: Cheng-Kuo Yen