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Ginshiro (Morio Kazama) is a moviestar already past his prime, but
he'll do everything to ride the wave a little longer. Then though he gets
his girlfriend Konatsu (Keiko Matsuzaka) pregnant, which is bad,
career-wise - also because he has already become involved with another
woman, Tomoko (Chika Takami), who's better for his career. So he persuades
Yasu (Mitsuru Hirata), a slightly naive member of his entourage and
professional bit player, to marry Konatsu and become her daughter's dad,
to which Yasu quickly agrees because he has always been in love with
Konatsu, and half-heartedly, Konatsu agrees to this deal as well,
basically because she doesn't have too much choice in the matter if she
doesn't want to anger Ginshiro, who she still is in love with. And after
all, Yasu might not exactly be handsome or smart, but he's a decent guy at
least and he worships the ground she's walking on.
Yasu knows he doesn't
have too much to offer to a woman, but he figures if he works harder, he
might be able to change that - thus he is no longer content with being
just a bit player but also starts stunting on the side - and without
formal training, he gets injured a lot.
After Tomoko breaks up with
Ginshiro, he tries to steal Konatsu away from Yasu again, but she has
started falling in love with Yasu, turns Ginshiro down and actually goes
through with the wedding. After that, Ginshiro falls into a deep
depression, not made any better by professional problems like the fact
that work on his new film might be shut down. Eventually, he doesn't even
show up on set anymore, and it's up to Yasu to drag him back. There is one
glitch though: Ginshiro's film that's threatened to be shut down requires
a very complicated and possibly lethal stunt to get back on track, a fall
down an extremely long staircase, and no stuntman in all of Japan is
willing to take the risk. Yasu says he'll do it though, because the
wellfare of him, his wife and her unborn daughter are directly linked to
Ginshiro's success, and should he die, she'll at least be able to collect
His willingness to take the fall in the film makes
Yasu the star of the production at least for a few hours, and he even
earns Ginshiro's respect, who has so far only treated him like dirt.
Ultimately, Yasu falls down the stairs, survives it bruised and battered,
then climbs up half the staircase once more, as if to prove something. To
make the happy ending perfect, Yasu doesn't only survives his fall,
Konatsu's daughter is born the very same day ...
Of all the films genre veteran Kinji Fukasaku had made in his then 20
year career, it was for some reason this one that earned him multiple
awards. Sure, the film is an insightful story about filmmaking in general,
and action movies in particular, but then it's all wrapped up in the
context of a cute romantic comedy - and that's the film's problem, it's so
cute, so harmless, so inoffensive. Granted even, there are a few pretty
good jokes in this film, but it lacks any kind of edge to be a really good
film. That all said, Fall Guy is still ok entertainment, the characters
are all fleshed out and likeable, the direction is competent to say the
least, and lovers of Japanese genre cinema will love the film for its many
injokes, it's just no film that really deserves a special place in Kinji
Fukasaku's versatile career.