Caution, Hazardous Wife Delights But Falters—Fantasia Review

Caution, Hazardous Wife image of wife and husband Nami and Yuki Isayama pointing guns at each other.

While the action and acting are entertaining, Caution, Hazardous Wife suffers from a long runtime that drags the film down. 

Caution, Hazardous Wife, written by Yukiko Manabe, original story by Kazuki Kaneshiro and directed by Tôya Satô, is a spin-off from a television series. It will likely draw some comparisons to Mr. and Mrs. Smith as it’s about a couple whose professions aren’t what they led each other to believe. Both agents hide their jobs from the other. Then when wife Nami Isayama (Haruka Ayase) suffers memory loss due to a gunshot, Yuki Isayama (Hidetoshi Nishijima), under orders, moves with his wife for a job. However, if she regains her memories and refuses to cooperate with his organization, he must eliminate her. The couple at the center of this story is adorable. While the action and acting are entertaining, Caution, Hazardous Wife suffers from a long runtime that drags the film down. 

Great Chemistry Between Leads

The acting and chemistry between Haruka Ayase and Hidetoshi Nishijima are lovely. The drama with other side characters ranges from over the top to subdued. There is no lack of quality performances. Everyone delivers in this Caution, Hazardous Wife. Haruka Ayase gives a staid, gentle performance as Nami. As someone who lost her memory and was a special agent, it’s unsurprising that Nami is quiet, just absorbing the information around her. Haruka Ayase does a great job. Hidetoshi Nishijima”s performance as her husband also shines in each scene, conveying a mix of care and suspicion. When their characters are smiling, it’s a challenge to resist the corners of your mouth turning upwards.   

The rest of Caution, Hazardous Wife drags thanks to the story and side characters. There is too much happening in this film. There’s a man seeking vengeance against Nami, a mayoral election conflict connected with shady people, betrayal, and it’s all coming to a head. The film spends too much time building all these connections that wind up harming the film. Some characters are not even pivotal to the ending, so what was the purpose beyond excessive padding of the runtime?

Action Does Not Come Soon Enough

Caution, Hazardous Wife poster of husband and wife, Yuki Isayama and Nami Isayama holding guns. Nami is wearing a red dress and smiling. Yuki is in a suit and looks grim.
Caution, Hazardous Wife. Courtesy of Fantasia International Film Festival.

The story is gripping but becomes convoluted as they add villain after villain into the film. The pacing is the biggest roadblock in Caution, Hazardous Wife. For most of its almost 2-hour runtime, there is little action, especially from our leads. Since the trailer gave the impression of action-packed, it’s disappointing. Unfortunately, we get action briefly in the beginning via Nami’s dream, then brief encounters around the middle, and all the action in the last thirty minutes.

The fight sequences are entertaining. It’s not the best fight sequence. But on a scale of bad to stunning, it’s closer to the latter. It’s action-packed, complete with a hilarious exchange between husband and wife amid the battle, but it may be too little too late after all it took to get there. Still, the fighting and gunplay are exciting. They don’t use too many edits to give the appearance of action. So the thrilling fight choreography is engaging. It’s just unfortunate there was not more of it. The ending is not that surprising either, given some obvious foreshadowing earlier. A neon sign would be subtle. 

Caution, Hazardous Wife is filled with great acting, drama, and an adorable love story at its center. Yet, most of the film’s runtime, a snail crawl pace, makes it challenging to watch. Unfortunately, despite the loving couple at the center, there is not enough to save this film. However, if audiences know that there’s little action throughout most of the film, they might enjoy the movie. 

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