Writtem by Nobuhiro Hosoki
The big-budgeted Japanese action flick "Midnight Eagle" is based on a Tetsuo Takashima novel that covers a journalistic investigation into foreign agents in relation to an aircraft crash, addressing the current vulnerable state of the Japanese military system. An award-winning photo journalist, Yuji has become deeply disenchanted by the bombings in the Middle East; seeing enough war, he has changed his venue to the Japanese Alps to shoot nature.
One starry night, near a snowcapped peak, he witnesses a plane crash into the mountain that turns out to be a top-secret American stealth bombe with a nuclear weapon on board. Yuji is originally employed by his journalist friend Ochiai (Hiroshi Tamaki), who accompanies him to the crash site to figure out why such craft are being allowed into Japanese airspace. On their way to the crash site, they soon realize that they're not the only ones investigating. The government's Self-Defense Forces and armed enemy soldiers (hinted at being North Korean) are engaged in a heavy shootout.
Meanwhile Yuji's sister-in-law, Keiko (Yuko Takeuchi), also a journalist, is also trying to get to the bottom of the story herself, together with her colleague. Keiko had raised Yuji's young son due to his inability to support him after the devastating death of his wife. Cut to the heroic photographer, who meets the wounded self-defense Major, Akihito Saeki (Eisaku Yoshida), who was inspired by Yuji's photos to work in the military. The three make their way to the crash site where they find themselves surrounded by enemy forces. They are forced to kill enemy agents to protect themselves and the wreckage, in which a bomb is ticking away. With all the tension heating up, Prime Minister Watarase (Tatsuya Fujii) faces the instant decision whether to act to save a few lives or endanger millions more.
Director Narushima covers many elements to keep us engaged throughout the film, such a creating a moral debate about Japanese self-defense and foreign policy. Ozawa delivers a captivating performance to portray the various aspects of his tormented character. Takeuchi's is a subtle yet memorable presence. Even though there's a loose moment of too much dialogue in the middle, the gut-wrenching moments keep coming.
Directed by Izuru Narushima
Based on a novel by Tetsuo Takashima
Director of photography: Hideo Yamamoto
Edited by William Anderson
Music by Takeshi Kobayashi
Production designer:Hajime Oikawa
Produced by Michihiko Umezawa, Masakazu Yoda, Teruo Noguchi, Tomiyasu Moriya and Kei Fujiki
Released by Shochiku Company/Universal Pictures (Japan).
Running time: 131 minutes. This film is not rated.
Cast: Takao Osawa (Yuji Nishizaki)
Yuko Takeuchi (Keiko Arisawa)
Hiroshi Tamaki (Shinichiro Ochiai)
Eisaku Yoshida (Major Akihiko Saeki)
Yoshihiko Hakamada (Toshimitsu Fuyuki)
Nao Omori (Major Kensuke Saito)
Ken Ishiguro (Tadao Miyata),
and Tatsuya Fuji (Prime Minister Takafumi Watarase).