Reviewed By

Christopher Armstead
First, allow me to start off by just taking a few seconds to congratulate writer / director Alejo Mo-Sun on his movie 'Hirokin'.  I've been following the path of this film for a little while, I know the trials and tribulations that it took to get it made, and simply by the fact that its completed and available for us to see is an accomplishment.  We here at the FCU know that making any kind of movie is difficult, and we're really not even in a position to criticize, much less actually make movie, not that this is ever going to stop us.  All that being said, we have to judge the work like any other work, no matter what path it took, and with that said, 'Hirokin' did leave us a little wanting.

In the future humans have spread, like the virus that we are, into the cosmos and have landed on a planet called Aradius which we mercilessly mined for their valuable mineral Araidium.  I think that's what it is called.  We've also slaughtered, enslaved, and subjugated their people, as we are wont to do.  Our person of note on this planet is the human Hirokin (Wes Bentley), a relatively simple man who just wants to be left alone to be with his Aradian wife Terra (Mercedes Manning) and their young son.  Unfortunately, the evil overlord of this planet, Griffin (Julian Sands) won't allow this simple man to live his simple life as he has kidnapped this family and put them in the arena for his rather insane murder games. 

Hirokin, left for dead, is rescued by the kindly warrior Honsu (Rodney Charles) who tells this nearly dead dude to walk towards the sun.  Eventually, after walking in the desert dying, Hirokin is found by Aradian rebel leader Moss (Angus Macfadyen) and his hot daughter Maren (Laura Palmer) and they will nurse my man back to health, and hope he joins them in their rebellion to bring down the evil Griffin.  Unfortunately, Hirokin, once healthy, just wants revenge for his slain wife and it isn't interested in Moss' rebellion… but he isn't ready.  He doesn't know The Way.  What is 'The Way'?  It's kind of like that thing Neo can do?  Being able to see stuff that most of us normal people can't see?  Apparently the Aradians used to have this special power until we beat it out of them, but Moss still kind of has it.  Thing is, he sees that the force is strong in this one, which I think kind of makes Hirokin an Aradian.  I'm a little sketchy here. 
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It's time for some Miyagi type training for Hirokin where he will get repeatedly bitch slapped by Moss until he knows The Way.  And once he knows The Way, Griffin and his oppressive right hand man Kore, decked out in Crusader: No Remorse gear, will be made to suffer for their crimes.

I wonder, especially with filmmakers, how often things they have seen in other movies unconsciously affect their work.  For instance, as a single example of many in this film, Kore.. who is very Vaderish to begin with… speaking with a villager who just sold out my man Moss, with my man taking offense with Kore as he wasn't honoring the deal, to which Kore told him to be thankful that he is alive.  Which aligns very close to what Vader told Lando about their Han Solo deal.  My point being was there was lot of… say… derivative moments in Hirokin, and I'm curious was this by design, or perhaps things are ingrained into our psyche and we actually believe that we have come up with some of these things.  I think someone should do a white paper on this. 

That nonsense aside, I will say this about 'Hirokin' in that it is one ambitious piece of work.  The other world concept is ambitious, the scope is ambitious, and the style is certainly ambitious… but it is this grand ambition that is probably this films undoing.  Far be it from me to tell a dreamer to tone down his vision, but this vision could've used some toning down.  Some streamlining.  Some compression… if only to make it more manageable.

The scope was so far reaching that there were times, at least for me, that following the story became a bit challenging.  And while we do understand that words are cheap, and action can be expensive, I just wanted fewer words.  Plus the words weren't always clear, particular when Angus MacFadyen got going.  I could hear what my man was saying, I'm just wasn't understanding it.  Since the pace of the film was so slow, and since a lot of what was going on screen wasn't that interesting, we were left focusing on things such as the derivative nature, the fact that Wes Bentley's trademark intense glare can't substitute for actual sword fighting, wondering if Angus MacFadyen is crazy for real or is it just typecasting, or just being amazed that beautiful women must seriously grow on trees in the movie business because even this lower budgeted epic had more than its fair share.  Truth be told, the cast on the whole was very impressive, including FCU fave Max Martini and the lovely Jessica Szhor in addition to the cast members we already mentioned. 

I really wanted to like 'Hirokin' and there were things to like about this film.  It looked nice, had some great shots of some open vistas, and it had some interesting themes, but what it needed was a much tighter edit to move things along faster, and also to keep this particular scatterbrained movie watcher's mind from wandering, and a more focused story to get the audience more involved into this story.  And while I do recognize that this is no real compliment, take solace in that I have seen worse.  Way worse.
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