City Hunter (2024) Review | Ryo Saeba’s Latest Jump to Live-Action is a Hit

City Hunter is an entertaining movie for both long-time fans and those new to Ryo Saeba's adventures.

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There’s a new City Hunter live-action film, but before, most anime fans were not at all looking forward to live-action movies or shows based on their favorite titles. Thanks to some acclaimed adaptations like One Piece and Yu Yu Hakusho though, there has been a renaissance in the realm of live-action anime adaptations.

As Netflix is among those leading the charge when it comes to adaptations, it’s no surprise that the streaming giant started to help bring the iconic 80s classic City Hunter to live-action. While the franchise has gotten lots of live-action versions before (including the Jackie Chan one), this latest adaptation promises to be the most faithful one yet.

Based on the trailer, the show definitely looks more like City Hunter than the previous projects. But does it succeed in bringing the iconic anime/manga to life and being an entertaining film? Well, it’s safe to say that this new film knocks it out of the park in both.

Ryohei Suzuki and the Cast Shine in Netflix’s New Live-Action Anime Adaptation

For this new live-action adaptation, Ryo Saeba is played by Ryohei Suzuki while Misato Morita takes on the role of Kaori Makimura, forming the series’ iconic duo.

Given that Ryo Saeba is the central character of the series, the movie will live and die by how well it brings Ryo to life. Thankfully, Ryohei Suzuki pulls off the role of the iconic sweeper incredibly well.

In the original manga and anime, Ryo is a funny guy who is a grade-A pervert with an incredible knack for shooting, though he also becomes serious when needed. Ryohei Suzuki portrays all of these qualities of Ryo well as he’s a joy to watch on screen, whether it’s in action scenes, comedic moments, or more serious parts.

Sure, Ryo’s perverted side may not be that funny to some, but I got a sense from Suzuki’s portrayal that he uses this as a mask at some points as he’s still shown to have a caring side.

As for Kaori, Morita also does a great job of bringing Ryo’s partner to life in live-action. Though do take note that given this film’s story sees Ryo and Kaori before they become proper partners, Kaori is still quite new to the whole sweeper thing, so she’s not yet as experienced as in the latter parts of the anime/manga.

Of course, Kaori does get to shine a lot in this film as she serves as sort of the emotional core of the story. What’s more, Kaori and Ryo in the film have great chemistry together, even though it has not yet developed romantically at this point.

Aside from the two main stars, the rest of City Hunter’s cast is also great, though it’s undeniable that Ryo and Kaori are the focal points, both in terms of the story and the various action scenes.

Dazzling Action Scenes with a Dose of Comedy

If I were to describe the City Hunter movie, I’d say that it’s an action-comedy with heart. Given this focus on action, I’m happy to report that the film does feature lots of great action scenes.

Sure, the fights here aren’t John Wick levels of intricate in terms of choreography, but what City Hunter has is a sense of fun. A lot of the fights are quite comedic which works well with both the story and Ryo as a character.

In a way, you can think of the film’s action scenes as throwbacks to classic action movies of past decades in that they’re just a ton of fun without being too grim.

Make no mistake, there are some darker moments here, but I found that the film balances both these aspects well.

It’s What You’d Expect, But in a Good Way

With its entertaining action scenes and great performances from the cast, City Hunter is already a must-see. But what about its story?

Well, it’s quite gripping, and it has a lot of nods and story elements that are sure to delight fans of the original anime or manga. However, don’t expect too much as this film’s story is still fairly standard. Not bad mind you, it’s just that the story acts more like a vehicle to deliver the action and to deepen the relationship between the characters.

In a sense, City Hunter’s story is what you’d expect, though that should be a good thing for fans of the source material as it doesn’t try to reinvent the series like other live-action adaptations would. Instead, it captures the spirit of the original well, even though it’s set in the modern day instead of glitzy 80s Japan.

It helps that the film’s scenes in Shinjuku are actually shot on-location in Kabukicho. It’s a small miracle that the production was able to film there given how busy the area is, but it helps a lot in giving the City Hunter the same vibe as the original.

City Hunter (2024) Final Verdict

City Hunter is not the type of live-action anime adaptation where its creators want to make something entirely different from the original. Instead, it’s a film where the cast and crew are focused on bringing the classic City Hunter to life in live-action in a way that will delight long-time fans, all while having more modern flourishes that are sure to entertain newer viewers.

Sure, it doesn’t exactly reinvent the wheel as far as action films go, but it offers such an entertaining mix of set pieces, character moments, and comedy that it’s something that I can easily recommend watching on a weekend. In fact, I’d even say that City Hunter is now one of my favorite live-action anime adaptations to date.

The new City Hunter film is now streaming worldwide exclusively on Netflix.