HARD DAYS on Netflix is a new Japanese thriller. If the story seems familiar it’s because this is a remake. The original movie is a South Korean production. It’s very character-driven and the lead isn’t likable. Read our full Hard Days movie review here!
HARD DAYS is a new Netflix addition from Japan (org. title: Saigo made Iku). However, this new thriller isn’t an original story. Instead, it’s the remake of a South Korean crime thriller from 2014. Having seen the original many years ago, I already knew the story. This Japanese remake has a few changes, but not for the better.
Also, it’s a few minutes longer, which it really didn’t need to be. The original was 1 hour and 51 minutes, but this is 1 hour and 58 minutes. Why? Who knows?! There is an end-credit scene early in the credits, so make sure you watch that as well.
Continue reading our Hard Days movie review below. Find it on Netflix from November 30, 2023.
A very unlikable lead
The fact that this story (in every version) has a very unlikable lead is an intriguing starting point. He is a corrupt cop, who is always preoccupied with his own deals and plans. Even when driving to see his mom in the hospital, he is busy working several other angles.
Then he gets word that his mom has passed away, while still trying to get to the hospital. And yet, he doesn’t even have the common sense to then use this fact to his advantage, when something goes wrong and he’s stopped for a routine check by traffic officers.
That’s how far up his own butt this guy is. Also, all of this happens within the opening scene of the movie. From there on, things only get worse. He hit a man with his car while getting to the hospital and is hiding the body in the trunk of his car. He ends up placing this dead body in his mother’s casket.
The word “cremation” makes him light up as he realizes this is a solution to yet another of his problems. And again, he seems to forget time and place, while his wife and daughter are grieving the loss of a family member. The lead character is a dirtbag in both the original and the remakes, so I don’t mind it. In fact, it works.
However, the strange situations that occur due to his selfish stupidity are just irritating in this version. Usually, it’s somewhat entertaining for the audience to see him land in new hot water constantly. Not in Hard Days, which is a damn shame.
This is the third remake
I can’t say that Hard Days is a bad movie because it really isn’t. However, I definitely prefer the original South Korean movie and recommend watching that. It has the English title of A Hard Day. And no, making it plural for this Japanese remake did nothing good.
Also, this isn’t even the best remake. It’s the third.
In 2021, there was a remake from the Philippines with the same English title. Then in 2022, we got a remake from France with the English title Restless (org. title: Sans répit). Now, in 2023, we’re getting this Japanese remake which doesn’t make much sense to me.
The French remake follows the original story pretty closely but is nearly 20 minutes shorter with a runtime of just 1 hour and 35 minutes. It’s more of an action, crime, thriller hybrid. Apart from watching the original (and best) take on this story, I would recommend the French version for a quick-paced and tighter story.
Watch Hard Days on Netflix now!
Michihito Fujii is the director of this Japanese thriller on Netflix. He also wrote and directed the 2023 Netflix movie The Village. The movie has already had a movie theater release in Japan, but now the rest of the world gets to see this story. The screenplay comes from director Michihito Fujii and Kenya Hirata.
However, the original script that it’s based fairly closely on, comes from Seong Hun Kim. Since making A Hard Day which is now Hard Days in this Japanese remake, Seong Hun Kim has made more movies you should check out if you haven’t already. Movies such as Tunnel (2016) or the Netflix series Kingdom.
MORE FROM SEONG HUN KIM
As already mentioned, this isn’t even the first remake, which says a lot about the core quality of the story. For this one, I didn’t much care for the ending. It’s open-ended in a way (depending on how you interpret it), which isn’t new or wrong. I just didn’t like the way the Hard Days ending played out. Maybe I just wasn’t engaged any longer.
Hard Days (org. title: Saigo made Iku) is on Netflix from November 30, 2023.
Director: Michihito Fujii
Screenplay: Michihito Fujii, Kenya Hirata, Kim Seong-hoon
Stars: Junichi Okada, Gou Ayano, Hayato Isomura, Tetta Sugimoto, Ryôko Hirosue
Already running from a mess of problems, a desperate cop thinks he’s gotten away with a hit-and-run. But there was a witness, and they’ve got his number.