Making Manga into live action films has always been a dubious concept to me. The fantasy worlds of martial artists, giant robots, school love, and everything else in between just don’t seem to work as well when you don’t have the benefit of creating motion lines behind rigid stances to convey action. And no, I’m not prejudiced simply because I endured the 1995 live action version of Fist of the North Star starring Gary Daniels, Clint Howard, Downtown Julie Brown, Costas Mandylor, and Melvin Van Peebles. Twice. No, sir, that has nothing to do with my feelings on the subject. But seriously, how do you adapt a manga featuring characters named Kenshiro, Shin, and Ryuken and have NO Asians in it? Come on!!! Okay…breathe. Focus.
Now, a much more popular and broader-appealing manga, Slam Dunk, is out to break the curse of the crappy manga adaptation. For those not familiar with it, it’s the story of a rebel badass redhead dude named Hanamichi who joins a school basketball team just to impress a girl, but finds he has a real talent and bonds with his teammates as they make their way through competition. The story, which is unfortunately free of exploding heads and psychic cyborg hentai and such, has sold over 100 million copies in
For the live action movie, a lot of the cast and crew of the Yimou Zhang/Gong Li/Chow Yun-Fat pic Curse of the Golden Flower are coming onboard. Jay Chou, who played Prince Jai in that film, will star in Slam Dunk, and he’ll be backed by the cinematographer, art director, and action director of Curse as well. That means that we’re going to be seeing crazy colors, fast action, and probably not a whole lot else. I don’t know if it’d play here in America theatrically beyond a seriously limited release, but I’m sure stateside fans of the manga will be able to get a look at this one way or another soon enough.