Hazard tells the story of Shin (Joe Odagiri), a student who, in a fit of soul-crushing boredom, hops on a plane to New York City in search of adventure. More precisely, Shin is seeking “hazard“, his catchphrase for all the danger, excitement and mystery that America has to offer.
Upon arrival, Shin is laughed at, thrown from his cab, robbed and ultimately dumped in the middle of an armed robbery. Lucky for him the shotgun-toting thieves both speak Japanese! Lee (Jai West) and Takeda (Motoki Fukami) are a couple of freewheeling part-time stick-up artists who earn their living selling speedball-laced treats from their Mr. Kool ice cream truck. They take Shin under their wing and proceed to educate him in the ways of American life. Before long, Shin is getting high, shooting guns, jacking cars and reading Walt Whitman. Shin’s successful integration is hastened by the fact that Jai West’s Lee manically and effortlessly rambles on in both Japanese and English, punctuated with copious “a’ights” and “ya know wha’m sayin’s,” creating a kind of inner-city Japanese slang that has to be heard to be believed.