Day 9: Best Villain

Mmm… since most villains end up as lame ducks, it’s difficult to pick one that is completely badass. But I guess I’ll go with these three since they have some potential.


Yuki Michio (MW)
The potential comes largely from the manga, where Yuki is one destructive murdering sonofabitch who doesn’t bat an eyelid whether he’s chopping up body parts or fucking people (all puns intended) and their lives. Yet, Yuki can be playful, needy, coy and nice. It’s all pretty sick, but there’s a delicious thrill in having a villain who is so diabolically fun. The film diluted Yuki to a fanatical terrorist, but still, I thought Tamaki Hiroshi did a great job with the very limited material (he just needed a much better hairstyle). The fact that Yuki survived the plane crash means he can continue his plans to end the world, which is actually kinda awesome.


Chae Do-woo (Story of a Man)
Do-woo is really only awesome for the first half of the drama, but still, Kim Kang-woo played him with such delicious understated malevolence and complexity that I ended up rooting for Do-woo rather than the hero of the drama. Again, Do-woo survives the people who were out to take him down, and the open ending makes it seem that he is actually the one who gets the last laugh. Yum.


Dongfang Bubai (Xiao Ao Jiang Hu)
For the uninitiated, he is a character from one of Jin Yong’s wuxia stories Xiao Ao Jiang Hu who practised a kind of martial arts that required castration, and thus he became an effeminate person who then set out to rule the martial arts world (and also took on a male lover). The castration and effeminate bit meant that actors both male and female have played this character (eg: Brigitte Lin in Swordsman II & The East is Red). I don’t have much love for either the story or character, but well, you’ve got to hand it to the guy who willingly sacrifices his little brother in favour of world domination. That takes some real guts.




Occasionally you come across a live-action adaptation where it is better not to have read the the source material in advance, so that the adaptation has a fighting chance of standing on its own. MW is one such film – it worked fine as a standalone action film, but once you factor in the source material (the manga MW by Tezuka Osamu) and how much was left out in the adaptation, the second watching renders the film more pedestrian, even disappointing. It has some merits and pretty decent acting, but even as a standalone, it does unfortunately leave much to be desired.

Fifteen years ago on a remote Japanese island called Okino Mafune, a deadly chemical weapon called MW was released, killing all the inhabitants bar two boys who managed to escape. However, the whole incident was covered up. Now adults, Yuki Michio (Tamaki Hiroshi) has become a banker while Garai Yutaro (Yamada Takayuki) is a Catholic priest. Yuki is actually a serial killer on the hunt for those responsible for the MW incident, and Garai, tied to Yuki by their shared past, has become his reluctant accomplice… Continue reading