"As the prime operator in the Chinese Mafia, Crying Freeman's callous killings have earned him world notoriety. Only his tears hint at his inner struggle against his murderous destiny. Leading the 108 Dragons - an elite fraternity within the Chinese mafia - Crying Freeman serves up a murderous helping of bone-crushing violence, callous killing and naked destiny."
Original Story: Kazuo Koike Director: Johei Matsuura/Shigemori Yamauchi Music: Hiroaki Yoshino Copyright: Toei Video Co. Ltd. Language Format: English Language Running time: 50/51/54/49/100 mins Certificate: 18/18/18/18/18(cut) Label: Manga Video Catalogue no: MANV 1015/MANV 1020/MANV 1024/ MANV 1030/MANV1039 Price: £8.99 each Release Date: 1993-5 Crying Freeman Box Set Language Format: English Language Running time: 302 mins (3 tapes and a Crying Freeman graphic novel) Certificate: 18(cut) Label: Manga Video Catalogue no: MANV 1163 Price: £39.99 Release Date: 11th November 1996
Adapted from the manga about a man who is forced into becoming an assassin for a tong gang. The hero, Freeman, sheds tears every time he is compelled to kill. In this sombre opener, he becomes involved with a lonely woman, the artist Emu Hino, whom he is instructed to execute because she was witness to a gangland murder. The video is typically Japanese in its juxtaposition of beauty, tenderness and extreme violence. I found this a rather uneven work; some scenes, particularly those with Emu Hino, are remarkably sophisticated, while others lapse into comic-book crudeness. And it is extremely bloody, with a body-count in double figures.
FREEMAN may surprise those who have only seen the early Manga Video releases. It has much to commend it; it's exciting, attractively animated and the British-dubbed dialogue is well cast and well acted. In the absence of any subtitled editions this well-produced and modestly priced edition seems the one to collect. [Geoff Cowie]
The second volume of the 'manly fantasy adventure' is disappointing; the hero's promotion seems a bit implausi- ble and the fat Bayasan, who was apparently a more sympathetic character in the graphic book version, comes over as a childish nutter. There is a silly James Bond-ish plot and little else to interest the more discerning viewer, except that the American villainess is rather good looking. [Geoff Cowie]
Again, fairly brainless stuff, but quite a lot of fun, with attractive visuals, violent action, tasteful artistic nudity and more violent action. In this one Freeman takes on an African guerrilla organisation while Emu's loyalty and love are tested. [Geoff Cowie]
Better than the two previous chapters; this is a well-paced kidnap thriller with plenty of incident and some new characters. The protagonists have a tendency to remove all their clothes revealing large animal tattoos. Violent, only a little silly and quite fun. Caution - explicit sex. [Geoff Cowie]