B efore I begin my review, I’d like to say that this review won’t be very criticial. This review is coming from my perspective as a fan. As part of the #NJPWTogether Project, New Japan Pro Wrestling finally released “My Dad is a Heel Wrestler” to global audiences. Bear in mind that regional restrictions apply so make sure to check your region can watch the movie.
Hiroshi Tanahashi stars in his first feature film as a dad hiding a secret from his son. My Dad is a Heel Wrestler is the story of Takashi Omura. Once the top wrestler or “Ace” in the fictional Lion Pro-Wrestling, an injury forced him to change his character into the dastardly Cockroach Mask.
During his 10 years as Cockroach Mask, Omura is married and had a son named Shota. At his school’s show and tell, Shota mentions how his dad would feed him protein to make him strong. The mention of the proten made Shota’s friends curious as to what his dad’s job was.
One day, Shota’s curiosity leads him to a Lion Pro-Wrestling show ehre he discovers his dad is actually the wrestler named Cockroach Mask.
What happens next is a lesson in trust and being honest with your family.
As a fan, this film was a lot of fun. Don’t expect an overly-dramatic wrestling film. This movie still focuses on the relationship between father and son and accepting yourself for who you truly are.
The cameos in this film were fun from start to finish. We had the likes of KUSHIDA, Togi Makabe, Hirooki Goto, Tomohiro Ishii, Young Lions such as Kawato Hirai and many others.
Only a few of the wrestlers who did a cameo get the chance to speak as that opportunity is only for the likes of Ryusuke Taguchi and a few seconds of words from Kazuchika Okada…I mean…Dragon George.
We all know Okada is afraid to face the great Dragon George. All I’m saying is that there are a lot of wrestler cameos within the film. When the camera goes to Dragon George, you can tell that he is a focal aspect of the movie.
It’s funny because the story of Omura and Dragon George is basically the rivalry of Tanahashi and Okada in real life. All we did was skip the rise of Dragon George to becoming the Ace of Lion Pro. Instead of seeing Okada cry in Wrestle Kingdom 10, we jumped to Okada winning in Wrestle Kingdom 11.
The old vet had to compete with the top guy and Omura did his best to hang with Dragon George to the very end.
The camerawork for the wrestling matches were clearly meant for a different audience. I’ve gotten so used to the amazing camera angles used by NJPW.
As a fan, this movie was feel-good fun. If you want a more critical take, you can check out my serious review at the #CafePuro section of Smark Henry where I discuss the storyline and technical aspects of the film.
I won’t spoil too much of the movie so you’ll have to time to enjoy the movie yourself. You can check out “My Dad is a Heel Wrestler” on NJPW World. (Regional Restrictions Apply)
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