Hitman Yo (Dacascos) is a perfect killer. When a beautiful young artist witnesses one of his hits, the two fall in love, but must flee from their lives from vicious infighting between gangsters determined to control or kill Yo.
Take a Japanese comic book, move it west to the USA, then film the whole shebang as if Hard Boiled and Nikita never happened, and the result is this patchy addition to Manga's live canon.
The title refers to barechested hitman Yo (a remarkably wooden Dacascos), who runs around killing baddies in slow-motion, an act which causes him to shed a tear each time he performs it. The plot, to be fair, has an engaging premise. Yo is kidnapped and hypnotised by the 108 Dragons - a mysterious Chinese cult - to execute on command. Awesomely tattooed with a huge dragon, he bumps into beautiful virgin Emu (Condra), a witness to one of his professional knock-offs. After relieving her of her cherry, the lovebirds flee to Japan closely followed by the cult, the Vancouver police force, geisha girls and anybody else who fancies more barechested, slow-mo violence.
Adapted from Kazuo Koike's ace comic book, Crying Freeman can claim absolute perfection with its faithfulness to the original text. The script is identical in all but speech bubbles, the acting is paper thin and the action very colourful. There's plenty of occult talk by leather-clad blokes to up the cult appeal, and the nudity should prevent the audience from nodding off, but this $15 million kung fu fantasy really should have been better.
With the added feature of a solemn narration in terrible grammar, at times Crying Freeman could be mistaken for a brilliant comedy of errors. It does, however, possess a naive charm and should be applauded from the rooftops for taking itself ever so seriously.