Parents' Guide to

Hard Days

By JK Sooja, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Corrupt cop thriller remake has strong language, violence.

Movie NR 2023 118 minutes
Hard Days movie poster: Japanese man top half yells in anguish while Japanese man in glasses looks calm in bottom half

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

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Is It Any Good?

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This remake isn't as good as the original Korean version. Overly long at 2 hours, Hard Days is steeped in rain, worried looks, and uninspired action. The source material is interesting enough and has a few surprises, but there are too many problems that keep this thriller from being recommended over the original and generally as a drama. The criminal elements and characters do their best to look menacing and dangerous, but none really scare, and the motivations for everyone, including the main character, are simply nonexistent. Go Ayano as Yazaki is probably the lone highlight here, as he at least provides some moments of sheer insanity and uncontrolled abandon like when he occasionally unleashes anger and violence, but even still, because he lacks any context, backstory, and motivation for his actions, it's hard to care about him.

It's also hard to care about the main character, Yuji, as nothing about him is explained. Yes, he has a young daughter and a wife who wants to divorce him, but beyond that, he has no backstory and no character development, yet the viewer is supposed to care about him, what happens to him, whether or not he succeeds in getting away with his initial crime, or whether or not he lives. It's hard to tell if he is even supposed to be a good person or not. Also, he has the absolute worst poker face, and it becomes laughable how often this simply goes unnoticed. Some far-fetched fight scenes in the film's denouement stretch the limits of believability, which also leaves a bad impression, as the least a movie like this could muster would be exciting action set pieces, but nothing about the action is creative, new, or surprising. Put simply, just watch the very well-received original 2014 Korean film instead.

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