Andalucia: Revenge of the Goddess
Original Title: アンダルシア 女神の報復
Release date: June 25, 2011
Director: Hiroshi Nishitani
Novel by: Yuichi Shinpo
Screenplay by: Junya Ikegami
Cast: Yuji Oda, Meisa Kuroki, Hideaki Ito, Erika Toda, Masaharu Fukuyama
I have to come clean with this movie — at times I felt it was really good and at others I just wished it were over. Though it was predictable most of the time, Andalucia: Revenge of the Goddess still held some surprises.
Stemming from the series starring foreign diplomat Kosaku Kuroda (Oda) — starting from the 2009 Amalfi: Rewards of the Goddess (アマルフィ 女神の報酬), and continuing with the early 2011 TV series, Diplomat Kosaku Kuroda (外交官・黒田康作) — Andalucia follows Kuroda, who’s investigating the death of a Japanese investor in the north of Spain, as he is prepping for an important international conference.
The main suspect and/or possible next target is Yuka Shindo (Kuroki), a young clerk from Victor Bank who must get away from it all.
Let’s start with the basics. You don’t need to watch the first movie nor the series to understand what is going on in Andalucia. If you’ve followed it all, you’ll find one or two hidden gems where you’ll go “Oh, look! It’s Masaharu Fukuyama reprising his role as a journalist from Amalfi.” Just as you’ll find yourself saying “Why in the world would Erika Toda play two different characters in the same universe?” Other than that, their casting is pretty much wasted.
Shot in Spain with a large non-Japanese cast, Andalucia seems to be a hybrid between an action crime and a simple drama. It’s not Mission Impossible by all means and Meisa Kuroki is no Angelina Jolie in any of her action films, but it’s got two or three interesting sequences that make it distinctive. The slow paced Japanese film feature is there, so it definitely will bother action fans — there are moments when it gets excruciatingly slow.
But we’re here to talk about Meisa Kuroki, because let’s face it, Andalucia is a vehicle to build her up as the mixed-race queen that she is. Of course, her talents would be better suited in a sunny place full of sandy beaches like Las Islas Canarias than fully covered up from head to toe because it’s so freaking cold — you think I’m going on a perverted tangent, but it’s a made point when the director did the close-up of Kuroki’s belly when she was trying to hide you-know-what in you-know-where. We also know that with proper material and training, Meisa Kuroki can be Bond Girl material — in which case she will need to speak perfect English (as per Bond requirements).
Andalucia is a pool full of languages, from bits of German, Italian, and Japanese with intermittent English and Spanish, which makes it pivotal to focus when people talk with their different accents. Kuroki is the one with the most lines in Spanish — seriously, is it because she’s mixed race? — and she actually is not half bad. She’s a little bit awkward at times, but it really looks like she made an effort to sound as natural as she can.
Overall, Andalucia could have been so much worse or so much better. The corruption scandal and the drama were all there, so why weren’t we as connected to the material?
P.S: This has nothing to do with sex appeal, but that kissing scene with the music montage was so awkward. I’m sure there could have been a more subtle way to play with that.