Hitoshi Matsumoto’s Films – Saya Samurai Trailer and Big Man Japan for Hollywood Remake

June 6, 2011

Hitoshi Matsumoto of the comedy duo Downtown, recently told fans he had a big announcement to make. Known for having a playful and almost sadistic sense of humor at times, fans didn’t know what to expect until he announced that his film, “Big Man Japan” (Dai-Nipponjin in Japanese) was picked up for a remake by Hollywood. (We mentioned Big Man Japan previously in an article about Japanese films on Netflix.)

I know that a lot of people really hated the film, but I enjoyed parts. I like the idea of the hero being a little down and out and not exactly popular with the people he’s supposed to be protecting (a la Will Smith’s “Hancock”). I enjoyed some of the dry jokes as per Matsumoto’s style. I didn’t like the monsters he fought or the fight scenes for that matter, or the pacing of the film.

I can see the potential that Hollywood sees in the film, and hope that remaking a relatively weak, in-joke laden film with a great basic concept will work.

The remake rights for the film were picked up by Columbia Pictures, and a producer and writer are said to already be established.

Matsumoto’s latest film is Saya Samurai or Saya-zamurai which seems to center around a retired samurai’s relationship with his young, strong-willed daughter. It looks like a comedy drama with the main character seeking some kind of redemption or to win the respect of the daughter. One of the lines I keep hearing about it is “a samurai without a sword”… as can be seen in the trailer for the film below.

Personally, I’m looking forward to the film, but I’m prepared to be disappointed. I do think Matsumoto has potential and a good sense of how to subtly play on an audiences senses of comedy and tragedy.

Anyway, here’s the trailer for Saya Samurai (or Saya-zamurai if you use the direct Japanese pronunciation.)