Japan Review | A Structurally Weak Satire With Interesting Meta-Humor

If you have the patience to analyze the characters in Raju Murugan’s Japan, you can see a very sarcastic commentary on how the system works. Japan has a lot of meta-humor that keeps the movie in a very engaging space. But the screenplay’s development is somewhat overconfident in this kind of humor that Raju Murugan sort of ignores the structural weakness of the script. Thus, this Karthi starrer ends up being a mixed-bag entertainer, which couldn’t give the audience that wacky high.

Japan is a notorious thief known for robbing major jewelers, and when he steals, the quantity will be hefty. The movie opens with a theft of 200 crores worth of jewelry, and the police eventually discover that Japan was behind it. Since the money involved came from ministers as well, there was pressure on police to find Japan at the earliest. Who Japan is and how police planned to capture him is what we see in this Raju Murugan film.

The introduction scene and the moments followed by that are actually a shocker for the audience. Raju Murugan deliberately pushes the length of that portion almost to make us take away all hope from this movie. But after that, the film returns to the kind of humor that works. The character design of Japan is somewhat similar to, say, Captain Jack Sparrow. He is drunk, philosophical, and very irreverent. And Raju Murugan’s plan is to make a slightly absurd-ish satire-like film that will keep you interested through the humor. But the emphasis on the absurd fun is making the movie compromise on the writing. The film doesn’t really have a solid conflict, and once the villain is introduced, there isn’t anything compelling about that character.

Karthi has a history of playing these irreverent, rugged characters, and Japan is one more addition to that list. The good thing is that he manages to make that character unique from the other ones with the kind of dialogue delivery and body language. The attire of the character also helps the actor in the process. Anu Emmanuel doesn’t have much of a challenge here as the heroin as the character itself was created to show the kind of madness Japan has with the money he makes from theft. Sunil plays the role of a corrupt police officer convincingly.

One of the surprises for me in this movie was director Vijay Milton, who plays the role of a police officer named Karuppusamy. Maybe because he isn’t a conventional actor, his anger and reactions looked genuine on screen, and the contrast with filmy anger created a different kind of fun. Vagai Chandrasekhar, as the religious aid of Japan, was fun to watch. Jithan Ramesh, KS Ravikumar, Sanal Aman, etc., are the other names in the elaborate film cast.

Towards the end of the movie, there is a sequence in the film where Japan narrates his own story in cinematic style. And during that narration, we could see him marking the characters in the movie. The one who got arrested just to get framed is addressed as the public who never gets to know the bigger picture. The police are obviously the tool of the system, and in the story, he somewhat explains how the normalized corruption made him that thief. It is actually the filmography of Raju Murugan that made me look at the satiric angle of the movie, and the flick sadly lacked the quality to make someone who doesn’t know the director figure out this layer of the story.

Japan is a risky experiment that combines spoofy satirical political commentary with an action comedy. While the political commentary aspect of the movie with subtly placed dialogue humor works in favor of the film, the film is struggling to have a compelling layout, ultimately making it a movie that could have been a laugh-riot.

Final Thoughts

While the political commentary aspect of the movie with subtly placed dialogue humor works in favor of the film, the film is struggling to have a compelling layout.


Green: Recommended Content

Orange: The In-Between Ones

Red: Not Recommended


By Aswin Bharadwaj

Founder and editor of Lensmen Reviews.