Review: Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable

“Diamond is Unbreakable” is a live-action film adaptation of part four of the legendary manga series “Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure” by Hirohiko Araki. With over 115 volumes released, the manga has won over the hearts of fans around the globe.
The movie follows the protagonist Josuke Higashikata and his friends who possess supernatural powers as they face off against evildoers in the fictional town of Morioh.

I had the opportunity to watch the film’s world premiere at the Neuchâtel International Fantastic Film Festival 2017.
The following review may contain mild spoilers. I am not revealing critical plot details though. I have seen the anime adaptation of the same source material, so this review stands in direct comparison to that.

“Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable” was either going to be hot garbage or utter trash. It turned out to be the latter.

The acting

Before I delve into the bad stuff, I have to point out one good thing. Kento Yamazaki and Kamiki Ryunosuke’s performance was surprisingly stellar! It was more akin to voice acting than regular acting which definitely fit the nature of the movie. Sadly, their acting did not distract from the many flaws of “Diamond is Unbreakable”.

The script

Any details related to the previous three installations were erased from the script in an effort to make the film less complicated. That is not something bad in itself, but it left the film with major plot holes and lots of unexplained scenes.

These plot holes weren’t replaced by original content, though. They were replaced by literal silence. This made most of the dialogue unbearable and took away the suspense of the few fast-paced scenes the film had to offer. The opposing parties staring into each other’s eyes menacingly for minutes may work in an anime, but it does not in a real movie. At times, it felt almost as if everything substantial got cut out by mistake and the filler takes were the only thing that what was left to release.

What was really bizarre was the film’s artistic approach. At times, “Diamond is Unbreakable” felt like an anime reenacted by real people. At other times, it tried to be realistic. I could not pinpoint which of them Takashi Miike was going for. This also applied to the visuals: Some scenes were heavily stylized and color-graded while others remained perfectly natural. This disturbs the atmosphere and visual theme greatly.

The JJBA series is known for not taking itself too seriously, but this movie was the polar opposite of that. While there were some fun moments at the beginning, there are way too many cheap attempts to get an emotional response out of the viewer in “Diamond is Unbreakable”. I was unable to establish any sort of connection to the characters.

The CGI

Although the CGI was not as bad as it was in “Attack on Titan”, that is not to say that it was on par with Hollywood. The 3D models would have worked perfectly if they were used subtly. Unfortunately, the entire climax is one long 3D animation that was occasionally interrupted by corny dialogue followed by long periods of silence.

The so-called “Stands”, spiritual beings that follow the orders of their users in the JJBA universe, looked more like translucent plastic figures than supernatural spirits.

The music

Not only is the film’s musical score plagued by the same classical pieces that haunt many other live-action films, its odd timing clashes with the emotional tone of many scenes and destroys the atmosphere. While the anime series is known for its catchy music and fitting placement of retro tunes, none of the score was as memorable or iconic.

Conclusion

In the end, nothing that happened in the film really got me emotionally involved. The death of one of the most likable characters was forgotten quickly by the main characters. It didn’t affect their motivations at all. “Diamond is Unbreakable” hinted at a sequel with its ending and already set up the game board for the events that follow but I’m about as excited for the next movie as I am for my next dental appointment.

TL;DR

It was clear that “Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable” was not going to be Academy Awards material, but except for Kento Yamazaki’s and Kamiki Ryunosuke’s acting, it had nothing to offer. Never have I seen a film so emotionally dead and tonally confused. If I had to give it a score between 1 and 10, I would give it a 3.5/10 at best.

SHARE

Comments

  • AoZora

    Takashi Miike has lost his magical touch,, Somewhere I was apprehensive about this movie and I think I was right.. LA adaptions are tough task..

    I had no doubts about Kamiki’s performance.. YamaKen is hit or miss with me..

    • kashiyuka

      Kamiki never dissapoints

      • Zoe

        Kamiki has been slaying acting since he was, what, 2? 5? On the other hand, Kento is the type who improves by time. And that’s amazing as well.

    • yamakita

      I agree. Some stories are just hard to translate into live-action. At least with anime you can still preserve the characteristics of the characters, which is very hard to do with real human beings. I’m never big fan of live-action and most do a terrible job of translating regardless of genres.

      • Thomas

        It’s a shame that most directors try to deliver both realism and anime-to-life at the same time. Why not embrace the quirks and memes of JoJo and make something like Love Exposure by Sono Sion that doesn’t take itself seriously at all and thrives on being “odd” and unrealistic?

        • AoZora

          Love Exposure.. That movie was big bore to me.. Firstly it was lengthly and secondly I never understood what it was trying to tell. . With religion, panties, pervertism, crooked families etc all mixed up.. Considering Nissy, Mitsushima and Ando Sakura are all capable actors…

    • King Hide

      he usually directing 2/3 movies in a year so i am not suprise if all his movies now just garbage. but still looking forward to blade the immortal

      • AoZora

        As far as I know Blade of immortal has got bad reviews from all the critics.. But still if you are fan of Kimura or someone from the movie, go ahead and watch…

        • Neutron

          Ikr, Blade of immortal just come and go like a wind, and barely mentioned lol. Definitely not a Rurouni Kenshin’s type of movie where people talk about it for months and months (Phillipines’s fans are the biggest supporter and I remember when Takeru Satoh, Takei Emi, Munetaka Aoki and Keishi Otomo came to Manila, they are mobbed and get a Hollywood type of reception)

          • AoZora

            Yes, I liked rurouni kenshin… The trilogy is well made and Sato Takeru has done a fantastic job.. I am huge Takeru fan and not just because of RK, but also because of movies such as Bakuman, The liar and his lover, When cats disappeared from the world and the drama emperor’s cook..

            Each time he picks a movie he has something new to offer. He or his agency are pretty choosy about scripts.
            I am looking forward to Ajin, another LA adaptation. Hope it turnout well… It’s trailor looks promising..

        • King Hide

          i am hyped because the manga lol. but also i had huge expectation since takuya kimura and takashii miike in it. i read on metacritic it seems it just an ok movie

          • AoZora

            Yes, please watch if you were looking forward to it :p

        • Ann

          Eh? bad critics, the ones I read that were issued after the Cannes Festival (ok they were in English) were actually pretty good and the coco.to reviewer satisfaction was around 67%. As for the Japanese tweets, it was widely positive and it looked like the people who watched the movie were pretty happy with what they saw. It is a fact however the movie has been bashed by the Japanese sports & daily papers because the only thing they focused on was that the box office was well below a Kimura movie… which is true, but, hey the movie is PG12, how could someone expect that the box office would be around 40 millions?
          I still have not seen Mugen though but I think I will give it a shot when I get the opportunity and then I shall see

          • AoZora

            I am not talking about the sites which criticized based on BO collections and I cannot read ALL reviews….Sorry,If i have exaggerated.. The sites that I read actually criticized the sloppy direction,the sugisaki’s shrieking voice and Sota Fukushi’s bland acting…

            I have nothing against the movie but wanted to mention what I perceived about it.I am actually huge Kimutaku fan and its on my watch-list. Liking a movie is very personal…
            I read have 3 english reviews,one by Mark Schilling(Japantimes), one from variety and one from a film festival regular and 4 from Japanese sites..
            http://www.japantimes.co.jp/culture/2017/04/26/films/film-reviews/blade-immortal-film-version-manga-hit-goes-overboard-execution/

  • Azrul Hakim

    I am curious as well regarding the reception of the movie because from what I can gather from the limited news concerning the screening at Neuchâtel there is applause and standing ovation from the audiences. But nonetheless it is quite telling during Q&A session Miike said jokingly (might be it is true) CGI budget is limited. By the way I do believe Miike no longer be able to direct good movies (Terra Formars was teribble and Blade of the Immortal was so so and did not get any big responses that Rurouni Kenshin enjoys fews years back)

    Side Note: Scrolling at Miike’s biography kinda suprised that he is a Zainichi (Korean descent living in Japan. Learn something new here….

  • Thomas

    A new trailer for the film has been released!

  • M

    It looked like crap

  • I dont think I can watch this as YamaKen’s hair is tooo hideous. DX

  • Reileen

    Oh wow Thomas you made it to the premiere! :)
    Also, is this the first ever review of Jojo live action up in the net??

    We are getting Tokyo Ghoul over here, so most likely we can get Bleach, Gintama and definitely FMA too. I’ll still look forward to seeing Jojo if ever it makes it.

    • Thomas

      Now that you say it, it might really be the first review on the internet! (or at least the first English one)!

      That’s really nice :)! We rarely get any Japanese movies here!

  • sarah

    They had to cut half, cause the Joestars are mostly of british decent and since it’s japanese only, which I can’t believe they can’t find any caucasian that can speak Japanese or just pay a c list star. I mean hollywood actors to act in projects outside the u.s. But, that depends on the actor and how much they want.

    What I find funny is how shitty Japan can mess up a live action by changing things and then not even making anything new or imaginative to put in place of the stuff they cut out. I still cannot believe people thing Hollywood hasn’t grown CGI wise sing dragon ball came out. Like, GITs proved you can make a visually pleasing LA . I ran off topic , but what i’m saying in this run off is that I find the hypocrisy and delusionalism annoying and think about it everytime this happens.

    • Azrul Hakim

      Ok calm down honey, Hollywood do crappy moveis all the times with with their comic adaptations and strike gold one or two and I don’t see you bash America for this . As Thomas mention before Yamazaki and Ryunosuke were good. Regarding GITs it is the opposite CGIs were good but the acting was bad for most part, and has the most stupid plot twist I’ve ever seen at the end of the movie and ScarJo never mention this film again after taking a huge paycheck.

      • sarah

        I will not calm down … okay i’ll calm down. I bash Hollywood the same for it’s idiocy when they have a story that needs someone whose Japanese or any other person that’s not white and then get’s a white person that pisses me off. Honestly, as a Mexican i’m more furious with them with how long they have stereotyped my people. At least asians and blacks are no longer seen as stereotypes well not true asians still have a problem with Hollywood, but it’s not as bad as Latinx people. So don’t sit on your ass and think i’m all on there side.

        I’m only on there side when it comes to adapting live actions that can have race and country changes. Death Note can be told anywhere in the world the story itself is what is being used. Ghost in the Shell it’s been said time and time again she’s a cyborg. I will fight these, cause it’s childish and whiny to bitch about things that are and have been clarified. You are not seeing my point of view. It’s a lot easier to blame Hollywood. Any studio anywhere can be fucked up. Japan just ultimately shouldn’t do live actions that need the actual cast of non-japanese people. The story cannot be changed and the backstory as well those stories should stay the same.

        Now Japan kicks ass at live actions that deal solely in Japan and Japanese culture . Hollywood doesn’t have an excuse when it comes to this and I will always get on to them when they do this. But, that’s not what i’m talking about here. I’m talking about the bitter PC bitching about live actions that have been changed and have gotten consent from the mangaka or source writer and artist.

        Believe it or not you can be common sense angry and not angry. Hollywood makes me angry, but at the same time I will defend them when they are doing live actions that show no offense only to the animu weebs who can’t stand that it’s not all about Japan. There’s a difference between legit complaining and attention complaining. You want stuff to work get in on the ground floor of when these are being made and say your peace, but waiting for a trailer and then doing all you can to dislike it due to PC culture and ” Omg they changed his name and it’s in america my weeb animu heart how dare they .” Stupid shit like this just hurts everyone and makes these people look.. well like whiny weeb brats who want attention. That’s my point. Not about Hollywood in general, but I will say Hollywood isn’t no fucking saint and they do some fucked up shit. You can defend something and realize the problems that something has done.

        It’s ultimately more frustrating with Hollywood, cause they have more means and ability. But, i’m not gonna fault them on stuff like this and the movies and shows they will release. FMA and Unbreakable i’m sorry, unbreakable was gonna be shit and so will FMA, cause the stories characters and designs can’t be changed, cause it’s ingrained in the story. Unlike Death Note were you like I said could change the environment to India and it will still be Death Note cause the story follows an archetype that can change characters designs, but keep personality traits.

        • Neutron

          Japan adapt things close to them such as novel or manga into movies. Just like your country Mexico will adapt something closer to your culture and not from someone else. To suggest them not to do it is virtually impossible. You and I can rant as long we would like but we (I live in Singapore myself) can’t change the fact that adaptation for LA using Japanese actors and actresses will happen as Japan has only a sizable minorities (which includes ethnic Koreans, Ainu, Okinawan) and mostly foreigner are expats or comes South East Asia as a bride

          To make it easy I choose to criticize their acting, production value or editing (but I doubt any Japanese executives will read some random Japanese entertainment site in English anyhow) because Japan will not became as big budget as Hollywood or diverse in terms of race in our short lifetime. Being angry at Japan will not do us both any good because I still love what Japan offer to the world

        • The Dark Dudette

          “I bash Hollywood the same for it’s idiocy when they have a story that needs someone whose Japanese or any other person that’s not white and then get’s a white person that pisses me off”

          And then you went on to defend Hollywood live action adaptations that steal acting jobs from minorities. Haha . What are you smoking? The stupidity. The delusion. The hypocrisy.

    • The Dark Dudette

      Calm your butt down. Your Mexican origins don’t change the fact that you can’t compare Japanese live action adaptations to Hollywood ones. You are the delusional one. TheUSofA is a heterogeneous country that Japan is NOT. It has the resources, the money, the labour and the audiences willing to watch such movies to pull of any story with any number of ethnicities which Japan does NOT have.

      “I can’t believe they can’t find any caucasian that can speak Japanese or just pay a c list star.”
      This may come as a shock to you but no they couldn’t. You wouldn’t either if you tried in a country with only a mere 2% non native people where very few are white or British or both that can act. Your false equivalencies hold no water.

      Criticise their acting, the music, the cinematography, the direction …don’t try putting on the same platter as Hollywood. You could rant all you want about Hollywood not being fair ethnic minorities. The same argument just does not work for homogeneous countries

  • Himi Tsu

    I also were able to make it to the premier (THAT ALONE IS AWESOME) and to be honest, I really ENJOYED the movie. I didn’t know the original source, so I can’t compare. However, I enjoyed pretty much everything about it. I had some problems with some of the gore, but it wasn’t that much (and that’s enough is enjoyable, knowing it’s coming from Miike). The acting was awesome, Yamazaki Kento on top of everything. (Jojo’s mom was a bit odd to be honest, though I know her from other acting which were OK, I thought she wasn’t doing great there.).

    I liked the stands :) but again, I can’t compare, as prior to view the movie I knew nothing about them. And I will follow you about the after-death part, which brought me a “Humf”.

    In a whole, I thought it was a nice movie where lot of stuff happened and I didn’t see the time coming. I’ll highly welcome a Part 2.

  • Himi Tsu
  • the50-person

    Ah well, at least good acting cannot be overlooked. I’m happy that at least it isn’t an exact Kamisama no iu Toori 2.0…

  • Pingback: 実写版ハガレンのクオリティがヤバいwwwwwwwwwwwww | t()

  • precious

    I love all the actors- Yamaken, Kamiki, Okada, Yamada, Iseya, M Ariza, Komatsu. No complain at all. Looking forward.

  • Pingback: Live Action “JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable” Releases 5 Character Trailers | OTAKU-KAWAII | TOKYO EVENTS()