PLOT: "Set along a backdrop of a fictitious second world war at an international city in Asia.
In Japan, Lieutenant Colonel Yuki (Yusuke Iseya) recommends the creation of spy training school "D Kikan". Meanwhile, Kato (Kazuya Kamenashi) is facing capital punishment for his refusal to follow a superior's order. Kato is then scouted by "D Kikan". He goes through a harsh training regiment and faces his first mission as a spy.
In order to seize American ambassador Graham's confidential documents "Black Note." Kato infiltrates into an international city. A battle to gain possession of the "Black Note" ensues between Kato, a mysterious woman named Rin (Kyoko Fukada), the British Spy Agency, the Soviet Spy Agency and the radical army in Japan." (asianwiki.com)
Tall order, the plot and period settings, but unexpectedly, they worked well enough, with choice decisions on shoot locations (in Singapore, especially the railway station), and select propping. The wardrobe was "inspired" (code for "some forgivable slips" :p) and acting was pedestrian for most, but then again, I was starring at SG-locations and trying to figure them out, until the end of the movie when I googled more about this film LOL
And yes, this film was shot in both Batam Island in Indonesia and in "downtown Singapore" (looks like Raffles Hotel at some points too…).
I had no prior knowledge of JOKER GAME and it's pedigree, which simplistically means to me "filmed in Singapore", to which a whole chunk of was, along with the period street backlot studios on Batam Island.
Directed by Yu Irie, the pacing was excitable, although the ending felt a tad contrite and frivolous, compared to the seriousness of the beginning and middle, actually.
The casting of Kazuya Kamenashi (Member of Jpop group KAT-TUN) as "Jiro Kato" was surprisingly flaccid, with his breath of reactions severely limiting. The one and only main actress Kyoko Fukada as "Lyn" was so one dimensional, her still portrait photo wielded more character, IMHO.
As a "character face", I remember Yûsuke Iseya from previous films "Casshern", "13 Assassins" and as "Aoshi Shinomori" obsessed with "Rurouni Kenshin"! Acting as the cool as cucumber "Yuki", the director of D Agency, he equipped himself well with silent verve and steady stoicness, methinks!
Seriously tho, without him anchoring this film, this might have easily turn into a farce of historical proportions! I overstate, of course :p
Based on the novel "Joker Game" by Koji Yanagi (published August 28, 2008 by Kadokawa Shoten), the story might seem a tad convoluted, but the premise is plenty intriguing, especially the establishing of a "fictional" spy company in "D Agency", which might warrant a sequel or franchise series?
Regardless, it was an interesting watch (if only to see how SG was filmed lol) and worth a DVD rental at best … a solid 2 and a half box of popcorn, out of 5 boxes.
#watched via online streaming, murky dark at it's best, but a decent direct bootleg, if any.