Review: Ace Attorney (2012)

Directed by:
Cast: , ,

Distributed in Australia by:

Regular visitors to our website would know that we just love Takashi Miike. And why wouldn’t you? From his early crazy films like Ichi the Killer and Gozu, to commercial films like Crows Zero and Ninja Kids!!!, to the more recent critically acclaimed films like 13 Assassins and Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai, he has just proven himself to be one of the most prolific, imaginative and skillful directors working in the world today. Just how many directors can you name who can work at this pace and yet consistently produce films of such high quality? The subject of this review, Ace Attorney, is based on the very popular Nintendo computer games that sold millions of copies and have a massive fan base. So does the film adaptation live up to Miike’s usual high standards, and will it please die-hard fans of the game franchise? Read on to find out!

In the near future, the world isn’t a very safe place any longer, and crime rates have risen to such an epic level that even the courts of law can no longer handle the huge demand. So a new system of justice is put in place, one where the prosecutor and defendant present and examine evidence in a rapid-fire series of attacks and counter-attacks. Young attorney Phoenix Wright gets his first big case when his boss is murdered, and the young hero has to step up to find the truth and fight for justice…

The film feels quite silly but certainly makes for great entertainment. The story is over the top and Miike has the visual style to match it. Phoenix Wright’s hairstyle is just awesome and though it may not be one that you will be asking for the next time you are at the hairdressers, for reasons I can’t quite explain, it just seems a perfect match for Phoenix especially when he yells ‘objection’. The use of holographic screens to present evidence is inventive and adds to the intensity of the courtroom scenes. The story, based on different games in the series, is full of twists but presented in a way that never becomes confusing for the audience. The cast seems to have had fun making the film and many of the performances are very funny.

With Ace Attorney, Takashi Miike has managed to do what Hollywood has been trying to achieve (but without much success) for years, i.e. turning a popular video game into a successful movie and potential franchise. This is a must-see film for fans of the director and of the original video games, and the best thing is that mainstream audiences should have a lot of fun watching this film as well.

8 attorneys with crazy hairdos out of 10.
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