FANTASIA FEST 2021: ‘Caution, Hazardous Wife: The Movie’ is Action with Heart

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Caution Hazardous Wife : The Movie

Caution, Hazardous Wife is a Japanese live-action drama series with a couple who met through a blind date, married, and have secret lives they keep from each other — of the secret agent variety. It should be noted, though, that Caution Hazardous Wife: The Movie, which had its North American premiere at Fantasia Fest 2021, is a self-contained film version of the story. Only instead of a cooking class leading to stopping an abusive husband of a friend, the film deals with worldwide espionage, political intrigue, and more.

In Caution Hazardous Wife: The Movie, directed by Tôya Satô, Nami (Haruka Ayase) and Yuki (Hidetoshi Nishijima) live in a quiet and small coastal town called Tanami. The peacefulness, though, is about to be shaken by a methane hydrate processing plant being built on their shores. While the project is dear to the government, it’s beyond clear that its construction is covered in corruption. The corruption comes to a head with attacks on opponents of the project in one part of the story.

In the other, Nami is plagued with strange dreams. In her dreams, Nami isn’t the reserved housewife. Instead, she’s a solid badass fighting off Russian memories. Suffering from amnesia, Nami is unaware that these dreams are actually memories of her past. As we watch Nami come into the truth, we learn that Yuki isn’t only her husband but also a man tasked with keeping an eye on her in case she remembers her past.

One of the most exciting elements of this original film is that it brings together the cast from the drama back to a story that embraces action, comedy, and drama all in one package. But while Caution Hazardous Wife: The Movie wonderfully blends humor and drama, it’s the action of it all that pushes the film to the top of a watchlist.

While the last act of the film is where the bulk of the action is, saving it mostly for that section works in the film’s favor. Why does this work? Well, because we spend the rest of the film building up a connection to Nami. We watch her in her therapy sessions. We see the monotony building when she cooks dinner. It’s the banal moments that allow us to see how settled Nami is into her life. It’s this calmness that allows the film’s payoff, Nami’s transition into a secret agent, a success.

Nami is a force both physically and emotionally, and that’s what makes Haruka Ayase’s performance stand out against many of the other films I’ve seen during Fantasia Fest. She captures the duality necessary for the role and does so with charisma, vulnerability, and ferocity. But what puts a crown on top of the film’s third act is the physical chemistry between Nami and Yuki. While there was a small boundary between the two for most of the film, when they fight together, back to back, their love and communication shine. It’s an understanding that despite their lies, their love is real. And to pull that off in a large-scale action sequence? Caution Hazardous Wife: The Movie seals the deal.

Overall, Caution Hazardous Wife: The Movie is charming, funny, and filled with amazing fight choreography that isn’t just reserved for the male stars but prioritized in Nami’s character. It all just works.

Caution Hazardous Wife: The Movie is screening at the Fantasia International Film Festival

Caution Hazardous Wife: The Movie
  • 8.5/10
    Rating - 8.5/10
8.5/10

TL;DR

Overall, Caution Hazardous Wife: The Movie is charming, funny, and filled with amazing fight choreography that isn’t just reserved for the male stars but prioritized in Nami’s character. It all just works.