The Fable (2019)
Director: Kan Eguchi
Cast: Junichi Okada, Fumino Kimura, Mizuki Yamamota, Koichi Sato, Yuya Yagira
The Fable is a 2019 action comedy about a genius assassin forced to live a year of normal life but gets dragged into a whirlwind of chaos involving the Osaka underworld.
The Fable is the nickname of the genius assassin that this movie revolves around. After a massive killing job, he is forced to take a year off to live as a normal person, something that he has never done before. All he has ever known is to be trained as an assassin and be an assassin throughout life. Paired up in disguise with his partner as his sister, he is ordered to live a year without killing. Things go well as he awkwardly tries to adapts, find a job and meets a girl, Misaki that he is interested in until the Osaka criminal world gets him dragged in when Misaki gets caught as the underworld clashes in a fight for power. Making things harder is the fact that his reputation has put two young assassins on a hunting trail to find him and take his title of The Fable.
The Fable, named Sato for the year leave, is a peculiar character played by Junichi Okada. Wrapped up in his lifestyle as an assassin, he has weird habits like sleeping naked in the bathtub and disguising his bed, for example. In fact, he is naked doing a lot of things. What might seem general knowledge to everyone else is something that he needs to observe and try to learn in the process of being normal. It doesn’t help that he has odd tastes in what is funny and he is so calm and collected that everything is in his control as he faces the normal world around him. There is no doubt that the fighting scenes that he does is very fun, both in creativity and simple execution and style, however, the heart of the film is in how it pairs the fish out of water story and where a lot of the comedy lies. Most of the dark humor and slapstick comedy does land pretty well.
The fighting scenes are both close hand to hand combat and gun fights. The first scene and the last big fight is both larger scale and the more impressive part of the action element. In the opening scene, its already obvious that style is going to be apparent as the bullets hitting its targets are all probability and arrows as it hits set up in a hand- drawn trajectory zooming in and out. In the big final third act, its a spectacle on a massive scale through a disposal facility.
Taking home the Fantasia Best Action film this year, The Fable is a ton of fun to watch. Junichi Okada delivers an outstanding character as Sato. Not only the main character but also the two assassins who want to take him place has a lot of moments between fanboy-ing and trying to take him down. Its this sudden change in character that makes them hilarious. Its a side plot but these little elements puts more stakes on the line and keeps the action going. However, some of the little flaws here goes to some truly over the top characters that are a touch generic and annoying. The story has a lot of characters in and out that don’t always get enough presence, making it a little hard to place as a result. All this is easy to look past because The Fable is well-paced, has great comedic timing and some odd but charming characters paired with nicely choreographed action sequences.