Dogged by poor performances

Dogged by poor performances

Following in the footsteps of Quill and 10 Promises to my Dog, Wasao hits Hong Kong cinemas with high expectations as yet another celebrity hound-themed Japanese movie.

Based on a true story, Wasao, the busakawa (ugly but cute) Akita Inu dog, embarks on a journey to Ajigasawa, a fishing town near Mount Iwaki.

The furry white dog seems to cheer everyone up. Dog-lover Setsuko (Hiroko Yakushimaru) helps the homeless Wasao, but the peaceful town is left in disarray by an unidentified animal resembling Wasao which is digging up farmers' crops and frightening local children.

Wasao's story reflects various issues affecting the daily life of the locals, such as friendship, family, love and death. Despite taking place in a picturesque fishing town near rugged mountains, the fine scenery and Wasao's undeniable cuteness fail to relieve the movie's tedium. The overly simple plot is stretched too thin. The story's pace drags quite considerably, while the film lacks depth and the characters are underdeveloped.

Yakushimaru's performance is flat and dull, and not powerful enough for the main (human) character. Even Wasao, playing himself, fails to shine as the "celebrity dog".

People who aren't especially keen on animals will find it hard to stay interested through the movie. And even for genuine dog-lovers, Wasao may still be a bit of a bore.

YP rating: 2/5

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