• Takashi Miike's greatest movies

    by kluseba | created - 57 minutes ago | updated - 3 seconds ago | Public 

    I discovered my first Takashi Miike movie ten years ago at the tender age of twenty years. As time went by, this director's vibrant, expressive and experimental style has become my favourite. While it was difficult to find his movies a decade ago, things have improved thanks to globalization. I have now watched twenty-six of his movies and continue to discover new films every now and then. Please take a look at this list of my favourite Takashi Miike movies, ranked from best to worst. Give this unique director a chance!

      Refine See titles to watch instantly, titles you haven't rated, etc
     
    Blade of the Immortal
     
     

    1. Blade of the Immortal (2017)

    18A | 140 min | Action, Drama

      6,8
     
      10
     
    72 Metascore

    Cursed with a life of immortality, a samurai is tasked by a young girl to help avenge the death of her father. Based on the manga series by Hiroaki Samura.

    Director: Takashi Miike | Stars: Takuya KimuraHana SugisakiSôta FukushiHayato Ichihara

    Votes: 14 592 | Gross: $0.15M

     
     

    98% - This dynamic action movie with its unique characters, stunning locations and surprising plot based upon a popular manga is as epic as it gets.

    Audition
     
     

    2. Audition (1999)

    16 | 115 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

      7,2
     
      9
     
    69 Metascore

    A widower takes an offer to screen girls at a special audition, arranged for him by a friend to find him a new wife. The one he fancies is not who she appears to be after all.

    Director: Takashi Miike | Stars: Ryo IshibashiEihi ShiinaTetsu SawakiJun Kunimura

    Votes: 70 872


     
     
    Available on Amazon
     

    94% - This movie starts as a fragile drama that slowly turns into a gloomy mystery thriller and ends as brutal horror film.

    Les affranchis de Shinjuku
     
     

    3. Les affranchis de Shinjuku (1995)

    16+ | 100 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

      6,7
     
      9

    Amidst a Chinese and Japanese mafia war, a lawyer for the Chinese mob finds a rift forming between him and his corrupt police office brother.

    Director: Takashi Miike | Stars: Kippei ShînaTomorô TaguchiTakeshi CaesarRen Osugi

    Votes: 2 020


     
     
    Available on Amazon
     

    93% - The director's breakthrough movie that defined his career convinces with complex characters, revolting decadence and some food for thought.

    Gozu
     
     

    4. Gozu (2003)

    16 | 129 min | Crime, Drama, Horror

      7
     
      9
     
    58 Metascore

    A yakuza enforcer is ordered to secretly drive his beloved colleague to be assassinated. But when the colleague unceremoniously disappears en route, the trip that follows is a twisted, surreal and horrifying experience.

    Director: Takashi Miike | Stars: Yûta SoneKimika YoshinoShôhei HinoKeiko Tomita

    Votes: 11 047 | Gross: $0.05M


     
     
    Watch on Tubi
    Go to tubitv.com
     

    92% - This highly experimental and at times surreal gangster movie pushes its genre boundaries in an astonishing way.

    Kamisama no iu tôri
     
     

    5. Kamisama no iu tôri (2014)

    117 min | Adventure, Horror, Sci-Fi

      6,5
     
      9

    A group of high school students are forced to play a game of death without knowing who, why or how.

    Director: Takashi Miike | Stars: Ryûnosuke KamikiLily FrankySôta FukushiShôta Sometani

    Votes: 4 351

     
     

    89% - This dystopian science-fiction movie based upon a manga doesn't only offer stunning special effects but also some food of thought.

    Ichi the Killer
     
     

    6. Ichi the Killer (2001)

    18 | 129 min | Action, Comedy, Crime

      7
     
      8
     
    55 Metascore

    As sadomasochistic yakuza enforcer Kakihara searches for his missing boss he comes across Ichi, a repressed and psychotic killer who may be able to inflict levels of pain that Kakihara has only dreamed of achieving.

    Director: Takashi Miike | Stars: Tadanobu AsanoNao OhmoriShin'ya TsukamotoPaulyn Sun

    Votes: 51 517 | Gross: $0.02M


     
     
    Available on Amazon
     

    84% - This satirical, overwhelming and brutal gangster movie might be Takashi Miike's roughest film to watch.

    Yakuza Apocalypse
     
     

    7. Yakuza Apocalypse (2015)

    R | 115 min | Action, Comedy, Horror

      5,5
     
      8
     
    62 Metascore

    In the ruthless underground world of the yakuza, no one is more legendary than boss Kamiura. Rumored to be invincible, the truth is he is a vampire-a bloodsucking yakuza vampire boss! Among... See full summary »

    Director: Takashi Miike | Stars: Hayato IchiharaRiko NarumiShô AoyagiKiyohiko Shibukawa

    Votes: 3 711


     
     
    Watch on Prime Video
    included with Prime
     

    83% - This unpredictable, satirical and overwhelming gangster movie includes comedy, drama and science-fiction events that make for an unforgettable ride.

    Family 2
     
     

    8. Family 2 (2001 Video)

    80 min | Crime, Drama

      5,3
     
      8

    In this continuation of "Family", it is discovered that the one who gave the order to assassinate the Mitsumikai Boss is the one and only Boss of the Japan Mafia: Mr. Nishiwaki. Hideshi ... See full summary »

    Director: Takashi Miike | Stars: Ken'ichi EndôKôjirô HongôNaoko InoueKôichi Iwaki

    Votes: 39

     
     

    82% - This complex gangster movie in two parts convinces with a detailed story line that is intellectually challenging and visually impressive. The unforgettable ending offers much room for interpretation.

    Dead or Alive 3
     
     

    9. Dead or Alive 3 (2002)

    Tous publics | 89 min | Action, Comedy, Crime

      5,7
     
      8
     
    34 Metascore

    The ace cop of a totalitarian police force and a drifting android play their parts in a post-apocalyptic society. They are destined to fight. Their encounter will change them forever.

    Director: Takashi Miike | Stars: Shô AikawaMaria ChenRichard ChenJason Chu

    Votes: 2 313


     
     
    Available on Amazon
     

    81% - This quirky science-fiction movie has a plot that is so strange that it gets more and more addicting as the film progresses.

    Shield of Straw
     
     

    10. Shield of Straw (2013)

    117 min | Thriller

      6,2
     
      8
     
    35 Metascore

    A team of cops must protect an accused killer with a billion-yen bounty on his head.

    Director: Takashi Miike | Stars: Takao OsawaNanako MatsushimaGorô KishitaniMasatô Ibu

    Votes: 2 344

     
     

    80% - This gritty, realistic and sinister action-thriller follows a cop who must protect a despicable murderer with a bounty on his head.

    Family
     
     

    11. Family (II) (2001)

    111 min | Action, Crime

      5,6
     
      8

    When the mobster Iwaida Nishikawi is executed by the hit man Takeshi, his family chases the killer. Takeshi's brothers Takashi and Hideshi Miwa try to find Takeshi, who is hidden with the ... See full summary »

    Director: Takashi Miike | Stars: Ken'ichi EndôKôjirô HongôNaoko InoueKôichi Iwaki

    Votes: 246


     
     
    Available on Amazon
     

    79% - This complex gangster movie in two parts convinces with a detailed story line that is intellectually challenging and visually impressive.

    Dead or Alive: Hanzaisha
     
     

    12. Dead or Alive: Hanzaisha (1999)

    16 | 105 min | Action, Comedy, Crime

      6,8
     
      8
     
    49 Metascore

    A yakuza of Chinese descent and a Japanese cop each wage their own war against the Japanese mafia. But they are destined to meet. Their encounter will change the world.

    Director: Takashi Miike | Stars: Shô AikawaRiki TakeuchiRenji IshibashiHitoshi Ozawa

    Votes: 7 421 | Gross: $0.00M


     
     
    Available on Amazon
     

    78% - This quirky gangster movies comes around with an unforgettablle ending that is worth the wait.

    Terraformars
     
     

    13. Terraformars (2016)

    108 min | Action, Horror, Sci-Fi

      4,7
     
      8

    In an attempt to colonize Mars, 21st century scientists seed the planet with algae to absorb sun light and purify the atmosphere, and cockroaches who in turn spread the algae as they feed. ... See full summary »

    Director: Takashi Miike | Stars: Rinko KikuchiRila FukushimaKane KosugiTakayuki Yamada

    Votes: 1 839


     
     
    Watch on Tubi
    Go to tubitv.com
     

    76% - This underrated science-fiction film based upon a manga got terrible reviews but this movie is thoroughly entertaining and surprising despite its weak special effects.

    Rainy Dog
     
     

    14. Rainy Dog (1997)

    95 min | Crime, Drama

      7,1
     
      7

    A Japanese assassin stranded in Taiwan must take work from a local crime boss to make ends meet when suddenly a woman from his past delivers a son to him.

    Director: Takashi Miike | Stars: Shô AikawaLi Wei ChangShih ChangXianmei Chen

    Votes: 2 270


     
     
    Watch on Tubi
    Go to tubitv.com
     

    74% - This calm drama set in Taiwan and centered around a lonely gangster, his mute son and a desperate prostitute takes some time to grow but might be one of the director's most memorable films.

    Shin Jingi no Hakaba
     
     

    15. Shin Jingi no Hakaba (2002)

    13+ | 131 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

      7
     
      7

    A barkeeper saves a Yakuza boss' life and thus makes his way up in the organization. However his fear of nothing soon causes problems.

    Director: Takashi Miike | Stars: Ryo AmamiyaNarimi ArimoriYoshiyuki DaichiHirotarô Honda

    Votes: 1 821


     
     
    Available on Amazon
     

    73% - This remake of one of the greatest gangster movies ever released doesn't reach the quality of the original film due to some lengths but is nevertheless a bleak character study that will haunt you for a while.

    First Love, le dernier Yakuza
     
     

    16. First Love, le dernier Yakuza (2019)

    12 | 108 min | Action, Comedy, Crime

      6,8
     
      7
     
    77 Metascore

    A young boxer and a call girl get caught up in a drug-smuggling scheme over the course of one night in Tokyo.

    Director: Takashi Miike | Stars: BeckyBengalMasayuki DeaiMami Fujioka

    Votes: 4 256

     
     

    72% - This vibrant Yakuza film convinces with quirky characters even though it certainly doesn't reinvent the genre and is at times too predictable.

    Dead or Alive 2
     
     

    17. Dead or Alive 2 (2000)

    12 | 97 min | Action, Comedy, Crime

      6,8
     
      7

    Two contract killers cross paths in the middle of the same job and realize they are childhood friends.

    Director: Takashi Miike | Stars: Shô AikawaRiki TakeuchiNoriko AotaEdison Chen

    Votes: 3 457


     
     
    Available on Amazon
     

    71% - This surprisingly quiet movie that takes some time to grow shows the conflicts, downsides and fates of a gangster career and offers some food for thought.

    13 assassins
     
     

    18. 13 assassins (2010)

    Tous publics | 141 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

      7,6
     
      7
     
    84 Metascore

    A group of assassins come together for a suicide mission to kill an evil lord.

    Director: Takashi Miike | Stars: Kôji YakushoTakayuki YamadaYûsuke IseyaIkki Sawamura

    Votes: 61 089 | Gross: $0.80M


     
     
    Available on Amazon
     

    70% - This remake of an influential sword fighting movie takes the first half to introduce the different characters and finishes with some of the most intense battles ever shown in cinema.

    Toppuu! Minipato tai - Aikyacchi Jankushon
     
     

    19. Toppuu! Minipato tai - Aikyacchi Jankushon (1991 Video)

    93 min | Action, Crime

      5,4
     
      7

    A comedy about a daring policewoman in leotards, who defeats criminals using gymnastics.

    Director: Takashi Miike | Stars: Aiko AsanoMinako FujimotoDaisuke NagakuraHiroko Nakajima

    Votes: 67

     
     

    69% - This experimental mixture of action, comedy and thriller elements with four quirky female lead characters was the second movie made by Takashi Miike but the first to be officially released.

    Blues Harp
     
     

    20. Blues Harp (1998)

    107 min | Crime, Drama, Music

      7
     
      7

    Ambitious yakuza Kenji befriends harmonica-playing bartender Chuji, who moonlights as a part-time drug-dealer for the opposing gang. Their friendship is threatened by Kenji's plans for ... See full summary »

    Director: Takashi Miike | Stars: Hiroyuki IkeuchiSeiichi TanabeSaori SekinoMickey Curtis

    Votes: 996

     
     

    68% - This interesting mixture of a drama and a thriller focuses on the dangerous friendship between a bartender and a gangster.

    Redi hantaa: Koroshi no pureryuudo
     
     

    21. Redi hantaa: Koroshi no pureryuudo (1991 Video)

    78 min | Action

      5,9
     
      7

    Two care takers are obliged to tend to a child and take care of him overnight when his mother fails to collect him at the end of the day. It turns out to be a more difficult task than first... See full summary »

    Director: Takashi Miike | Stars: Yoshie KashiwabaraNaomi MorinagaKôsuke MoritaIsao Murata

    Votes: 61

     
     

    67% - This action thriller made on a shoestring budget was the first movie directed by Takashi Miike and already convinces with fluid storytelling and an interesting lead character.

    Gyakuten saiban
     
     

    22. Gyakuten saiban (2012)

    135 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

      6,6
     
      7

    This movie is based on the second and fourth cases in the popular video game Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. The plot follows Phoenix Wright, a novice lawyer, who faces off against expert ... See full summary »

    Director: Takashi Miike | Stars: Hiroki NarimiyaTakumi SaitohMirei KiritaniAkiyoshi Nakao

    Votes: 2 589

     
     

    66% - This quirky courtroom drama based upon a manga is surprisingly grounded and sympathetic as it shows the director experimenting with a new approach and genre.

    Shinjuku autoroo
     
     

    23. Shinjuku autoroo (1994 Video)

    94 min

      6,4
     
      6

    Shoichi Yomi spends ten years in a coma after a gang fight in Hiroshima. After waking up he immediately sets off to meet up with his yakuza brother Eto in Shinjuku. But it doesn't take long... See full summary »

    Director: Takashi Miike | Stars: HakuryûYumi IoriRuby MorenoKiyoshi Nakajoe

    Votes: 104

     
     

    64% - This relentless action movie follows a criminal outcast who plans on organizing some changes in his life after having spent ten years in a coma in prison.

    La loi de la rue
     
     

    24. La loi de la rue (1999)

    105 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

      6,9
     
      6

    A group of Chinese youths living in Japan struggle to make their way in life and eventually find trouble with the local crime syndicate.

    Director: Takashi Miike | Stars: Kazuki KitamuraTomorô TaguchiDan LiNaoto Takenaka

    Votes: 1 388


     
     
    Available on Amazon
     

    63% - Ley Lines is rather a drama than a gangster movie as it follows the lives of social outcasts who try to make their dreams come true by any means necessary.

    Sukiyaki Western Django
     
     

    25. Sukiyaki Western Django (2007)

    18A | 121 min | Action, Western

      6,2
     
      5
     
    55 Metascore

    A nameless gunfighter arrives in a town ripped apart by rival gangs and, though courted by both to join, chooses his own path.

    Director: Takashi Miike | Stars: Hideaki ItôKôichi SatôQuentin TarantinoMasanobu Andô

    Votes: 14 533 | Gross: $0.05M


     
     
    Available on Amazon
     

    50% - This quirky western sees Takashi Miike exploring yet another genre but the film remains an overall rather superficial tribute to the classic movies of the fifties and sixties.

    Full Metal gokudô
     
     

    26. Full Metal gokudô (1997 Video)

    18+ | 102 min | Comedy, Crime, Sci-Fi

      6
     
      4

    An inexperienced gangster is killed alongside his strong, respected boss and awakens to find a mad scientist has given him a new body made partly of his boss and partly of indestructible bionics.

    Director: Takashi Miike | Stars: Tsuyoshi UjikiTomorô TaguchiTakeshi CaesarKazuki Kitamura

    Votes: 1 718


     
     
    Available on Amazon
     

    40% - This violent science-fiction gangster potpourri was made on a shoestring budget and might be too experimental for its own good.

    Crows Zero II
     
     

    27. Crows Zero II (2009)

    13+ | 133 min | Action

      7,3
     
      3

    Tension escalates and violence ensues when a young student unwittingly breaks a non-aggression pact between two rival high schools.

    Director: Takashi Miike | Stars: Shun OguriKyôsuke YabeMeisa KurokiNobuaki Kaneko

    Votes: 4 378

     
     

    33% - This brutal gangster movie based upon two rival high schools overstays its welcome, lacks depth and features too many characters.

    Partager via Gmail Delicious Technorati Yahoo! Google Bookmarks Blogmarks Pin It

  • Ladies and gentlemen!

    Over the past few weeks, I have watched five quite outstanding Japanese movies released between 1955 and 1975. They have all been released by Arrow Films with plenty of excellent bonus material. In a time when traveling has become difficult due to the coronavirus pandemic, the cinematic world helps us discovering new cultures, landscapes and languages. I have always been interested in Japanese cinema since my early childhood but copies have always been hard to find in the Western world. I'm grateful that this has gradually been changing in a globalized environment and it's particularly interesting to discover some cinematic masterpieces of the past that have never been shown or released in Canada. These movies might be old but they are certainly everything but boring. Please read my reviews about the different sword fight, gangster and arthouse movies below. 

    Chiyari Fuji / Bloody Spear at Mount Fuji (1955) - Intelligent drama that criticizes social conventions in feudal Japan - 7/10 

    Chiyari Fuji / Bloody Spear at Mount Fuji (1955)

    Bloody Spear at Mount Fuji is a chanbara film which means a sword fighting movie. Released sixty-five years ago as we speak, it has become one of the most influential films of its genre even though it has been overlooked by audiences from abroad for much too long. This movie has a particular vibe since the sword fighting only occurs during the last ten minutes of the film which makes for a surprisingly brutal finale.

    Before this unexpected conclusion, this movie could rather be categorized as a drama that quietly and cleverly criticizes social conventions and restraints. The film follows a group of people who travel from the country side to Edo. We meet a desperate father who sees no other solution to pay his depts than selling his daughter into prostitution. There is a traveling single mother and her daughter who earn a very modest living by dancing and singing at festivals. The film introduces a master who likes to socialize with his servants instead of keeping his distance. All these characters and events are connected to the protagonist of the movie who is a spear carrier with a remarkable sense of duty. He wants to help people in need, encourage those around him and even develops a tender romantic relationship on his journey. Just as the movie seems to conclude with a happy ending, a dramatic turn of events leaves the audience on a most sinister impression.

    This intelligent movie convinces in many departments. The characters are profound, interesting and diversified. The numerous side stories are sometimes serious, sometimes humorous but always entertaining. The locations varying from busy town streets over traditional inns to beautiful country roads bring traditional Japan to life in an authentic manner. The camera work is calm and careful and rather observing than flamboyant which fits the tone of the movie.

    The film isn't without its flaws. The numerous side stories can't hide the fact that the movie is missing a precise guiding line. The locations end up being somewhat repetitive. The movie's slow pace hasn't aged particularly well. The fact that the movie only contains a few minutes of sword fighting scenes contrasts the rather gruesome and misleading title.

    If you are however prepared to watch an intelligent drama criticizing social conventions in feudal Japan instead of an intense sword fighting film, you are certainly going to appreciate this hidden gem with its unusual storytelling.

    Yakuza keibatsu-shi: Rinchi! / Yakuza Law (1969) - Intelligent, experimental and brutal gangster anthology that has stood the test of time - 9/10

     

    Yakuza keibatsu-shi: Rinchi! / Yakuza Law (1969)

    Yakuza Law is an anthology that portrays three different stories abot organized crime in Japan. The three stories are presented in chronological order as they take place during the Edo period, followed by the Meiji period and finally present-day Japan when the movie was released. The title is quite ironic since the three tales portray that the common laws don't matter to organized crime syndicates and that they even break with their own conventions when conflicts are at hand.

    This movie has aged quite well since the three tales portray their respective periods in authentic fashion. The cinematography is quite vibrant with dynamic cuts and zooms. The film's pace is frantic without lacking depth. The three different tales offer suprisingly profound conspiracies with a few intersting twists and turns. This movie is also quite violent as all tales end in sinister confrontations. This shouldn't come as a surprise as the opening credits already portray grisly torture sequences.

    In the end, Yakuza Law finds a surprisingly timeless balance between brutal special effects, intelligent plots and dynamic cinematography. Veteran director Ishii Teruo offers one of his most concise films that features numerous skilled veterans such as prolific actor Sugawara Bunta and television star Miyauchi Hiroshi. If you like brutal gangster movie without wanting to sit through the extensive length of contemporary Western cinema, then you should certainly give this overlooked gem a try. 

    Kyôfu kikei ningen: Edogawa Rampo zenshû / Horrors of Malformed Men (1969) - A murder mystery thriller that turns into a supernatural horror film - 7/10

     

    Kyôfu kikei ningen: Edogawa Rampo zenshû / Horrors of Malformed Men (1969)

    Horrors of Malformed Men is a quite experimental movie by veteran director Ishii Teruo that has been inspired by the tales of famous mystery and horror author Edogawa Rampo who had himself been inspired by Western authors such as Edgar Allan Poe. This experimental movie at the pulse of its time combines several of these tales. The main issue is that this fusion isn't always fluid and leads to two completely contrasting parts.

    The first half of the movie is a murder mystery tale. A medical student without any recollection of his past is trapped in a sinister asylum. He manages to escape when one of the guards attempts to murder him. The fugitive discovers the photograph of a recently deceased man from a prosperous family who looks exactly like him. The medical student decides to take the dead man's identity to find out the truth about his origins and escape from the police.

    The second half of the movie is a supernatural horror tale. The medical student travels to the island of a mad scientist who transforms perfectly normal humans into hideous freaks to create a better society. He gets captured, manipulated and threatened by the scientist and attempts to escape the island and prevent the scientist's megalomanic plans.

    It's probably a matter of prefence whether you prefer the first or the second half of the movie but they are so different from each other that few people will equally appreciate both parts. The first half is atmospheric, mysterious and surprising as it convinces with clever storytelling and intriguing characters. It recalls numerous European murder mystery films as especially the German Edgar Wallace films and the Italian giallo genre come to mind. The second half is much more brutal, experimental and frantic and ventures into experimental cinematography with hectic camera work, numerous flashbacks and colourful locations. It's a mixture of Japan's very own pink film genre of the sixties and American pre-war science-fiction and horror cinema somewhere between King Kong and Island of Lost Souls.

    In the end, Horrors of Malformed Men is certainly daring, entertaining and unconventional. However, the script is all over the place and the conclusion might even be too unconventional for most open-minded cineasts. Ishii Teruo should have created two different movies here instead of putting together two ideas that don't gel.

    Gendai yakuza: Hito-kiri yota / Street Mobster (1972) - Brutal, entertaining and fast gangster film without much substance - 7/10

    Gendai yakuza: Hito-kiri yota / Street Mobster (1972)

    Street Mobster is a violent Japanese gangster movie by prolific director Fukasaku Kinji who would later on direct influential genre masterpieces such as Battles Without Honor and Humanity, Graveyard of Honor and Yakuza Graveyard. Western audiences know him as the director of dystopian action thriller Battle Royale which was the last movie he was able to complete.

    The story of this movie is rather simple. It follows the life of a violent gangster who attacks the members of an inflluential clan who try to extort money from him and associates. He spends some time in prison but soon forms a new gang that is particularly violent. He ultimately gets injured and is temporarily forced to join a bigger family for protection. When another and even bigger family from Osaka tries to increase its influence in Kawasaki, the film's violent antagonist decides to disrespect common conventions and brutally disrespects the different gangster families. The three involved families come to the only reasonable conclusion: they must cooperate to eliminate the antagonist and his associates to preserve peace.

    The most interesting element about Street Mobster is its violent, nihilistic and egoistic antagonist who isn't interested in compromises, peace or truces. He desires to become the biggest gangster boss in the country by any means necessary. While this character is extremely dislikeable, he is brutally consequent and honest in his actions and therefore more complex and profound than one might think at first contact. The movie impresses with numerous violent scenes supported by dynamic camera work that have aged rather well and can still be considered offensive nowadays. The film has frantic pace and entertains from start to finish.

    On the negative side, there are very few characters to sympathize or empathize with. As opposed to Western gangster movies, even the victims and outsiders in organized crime come off as careless and despicable. The story is also extremely thin and quite predictable. The action scenes are quite intense but also rather repetitive. The movie impresses at first contact but lacks creativity, depth and diversity.

    To conclude, you should watch Street Mobster if you are looking for a particularly brutal, entertaining and fast gangster movie that has stood the test of time. This film certainly entertains while it last but doesn't leave any deeper impression due to its thin story line. Street Mobster is a feast for genre fans but can't compete with Fukasaku Kinji's later works. 

    Jingi no hakaba / Graveyard of Honor (1975) - Gangster movie masterpiece - 10/10 

    Jingi no hakaba / Graveyard of Honor (1975)

    Graveyard of Honor is one of the best and most influential Japanese gangster movies ever made. If it had been more popular abroad, this movie might have the same reputation as The Godfather, Once Upon a Time in America and The Untouchables have today. This film was later on re-imagined by legendary Japanese director Miike Takashi.

    The original movie by Fukasaku Kinji is an adaptation of Goro Fujita's novel of the same title and partially based upon real-life gangster Ishikawa Rikio. The film's antagonist starts as an ambitious gangster who assaults and steals money from numerous families but is unfit to be a permanent member of any family due to to his unconventional and violent behaviour. Things spiral out of control when the antagonist assaults the boss of his current family and is banished from Tokyo for ten years. The gangster spends some time in prison before moving to Osaka and becoming a drug addict that hangs around with unreliable junkies and sick prostitutes. He quickly returns to Tokyo and brutally clashes with the only friend he had left who has become an influential gangster boss. The antagonist is now hunted down by two gangster families and the police as he fights for survival while trying to organize some changes in his life.

    There are many brutal Japanese gangster movies released between the late sixties and late seventies but Graveyard of Honor stands out for multiple reasons. The movie features numerous interesting characters such as the sick prostitute who accompanies the antagonist or his estranged friend that he met in prison. The movie has many violent action scenes that have aged surprisingly well but also some quiet dramatic parts that emotionally portray the downfall of the ambitious antagonist. The cinematography is absolutely outstanding with parts of the movie filmed in black and white as well as in sepia to introduce changes and flashbacks that give the final result an experimental mockumentary style. Despite these unconventional elements, the movie is coherent, entertaining and fluid from start to finish.

    To keep it short, anyone who likes gangster movies should know, buy and appreciate Graveyard of Honor. The movie has recently been reissued in a boxed set with Miike Takashi's re-imagined version by Arrow Films. This boxed set is a little bit expensive but crafted with much care and certainly worth every single penny.

    Partager via Gmail Delicious Technorati Yahoo! Google Bookmarks Blogmarks Pin It

  • Jingi no hakaba / Graveyard of Honor (1975)

    Graveyard of Honor is one of the best and most influential Japanese gangster movies ever made. If it had been more popular abroad, this movie might have the same reputation as The Godfather, Once Upon a Time in America and The Untouchables have today. This film was later on re-imagined by legendary Japanese director Miike Takashi.

    The original movie by Fukasaku Kinji is an adaptation of Goro Fujita's novel of the same title and partially based upon real-life gangster Ishikawa Rikio. The film's antagonist starts as an ambitious gangster who assaults and steals money from numerous families but is unfit to be a permanent member of any family due to to his unconventional and violent behaviour. Things spiral out of control when the antagonist assaults the boss of his current family and is banished from Tokyo for ten years. The gangster spends some time in prison before moving to Osaka and becoming a drug addict that hangs around with unreliable junkies and sick prostitutes. He quickly returns to Tokyo and brutally clashes with the only friend he had left who has become an influential gangster boss. The antagonist is now hunted down by two gangster families and the police as he fights for survival while trying to organize some changes in his life.

    There are many brutal Japanese gangster movies released between the late sixties and late seventies but Graveyard of Honor stands out for multiple reasons. The movie features numerous interesting characters such as the sick prostitute who accompanies the antagonist or his estranged friend that he met in prison. The movie has many violent action scenes that have aged surprisingly well but also some quiet dramatic parts that emotionally portray the downfall of the ambitious antagonist. The cinematography is absolutely outstanding with parts of the movie filmed in black and white as well as in sepia to introduce changes and flashbacks that give the final result an experimental mockumentary style. Despite these unconventional elements, the movie is coherent, entertaining and fluid from start to finish.

    To keep it short, anyone who likes gangster movies should know, buy and appreciate Graveyard of Honor. The movie has recently been reissued in a boxed set with Miike Takashi's re-imagined version by Arrow Films. This boxed set is a little bit expensive but crafted with much care and certainly worth every single penny.

    Partager via Gmail Delicious Technorati Yahoo! Google Bookmarks Blogmarks Pin It

  • Gendai yakuza: Hito-kiri yota / Street Mobster (1972)

    Street Mobster is a violent Japanese gangster movie by prolific director Fukasaku Kinji who would later on direct influential genre masterpieces such as Battles Without Honor and Humanity, Graveyard of Honor and Yakuza Graveyard. Western audiences know him as the director of dystopian action thriller Battle Royale which was the last movie he was able to complete.

    The story of this movie is rather simple. It follows the life of a violent gangster who attacks the members of an inflluential clan who try to extort money from him and associates. He spends some time in prison but soon forms a new gang that is particularly violent. He ultimately gets injured and is temporarily forced to join a bigger family for protection. When another and even bigger family from Osaka tries to increase its influence in Kawasaki, the film's violent antagonist decides to disrespect common conventions and brutally disrespects the different gangster families. The three involved families come to the only reasonable conclusion: they must cooperate to eliminate the antagonist and his associates to preserve peace.

    The most interesting element about Street Mobster is its violent, nihilistic and egoistic antagonist who isn't interested in compromises, peace or truces. He desires to become the biggest gangster boss in the country by any means necessary. While this character is extremely dislikeable, he is brutally consequent and honest in his actions and therefore more complex and profound than one might think at first contact. The movie impresses with numerous violent scenes supported by dynamic camera work that have aged rather well and can still be considered offensive nowadays. The film has frantic pace and entertains from start to finish.

    On the negative side, there are very few characters to sympathize or empathize with. As opposed to Western gangster movies, even the victims and outsiders in organized crime come off as careless and despicable. The story is also extremely thin and quite predictable. The action scenes are quite intense but also rather repetitive. The movie impresses at first contact but lacks creativity, depth and diversity.

    To conclude, you should watch Street Mobster if you are looking for a particularly brutal, entertaining and fast gangster movie that has stood the test of time. This film certainly entertains while it last but doesn't leave any deeper impression due to its thin story line. Street Mobster is a feast for genre fans but can't compete with Fukasaku Kinji's later works.

    Partager via Gmail Delicious Technorati Yahoo! Google Bookmarks Blogmarks Pin It

  • Kyôfu kikei ningen: Edogawa Rampo zenshû / Horrors of Malformed Men (1969)

    Horrors of Malformed Men is a quite experimental movie by veteran director Ishii Teruo that has been inspired by the tales of famous mystery and horror author Edogawa Rampo who had himself been inspired by Western authors such as Edgar Allan Poe. This experimental movie at the pulse of its time combines several of these tales. The main issue is that this fusion isn't always fluid and leads to two completely contrasting parts.

    The first half of the movie is a murder mystery tale. A medical student without any recollection of his past is trapped in a sinister asylum. He manages to escape when one of the guards attempts to murder him. The fugitive discovers the photograph of a recently deceased man from a prosperous family who looks exactly like him. The medical student decides to take the dead man's identity to find out the truth about his origins and escape from the police.

    The second half of the movie is a supernatural horror tale. The medical student travels to the island of a mad scientist who transforms perfectly normal humans into hideous freaks to create a better society. He gets captured, manipulated and threatened by the scientist and attempts to escape the island and prevent the scientist's megalomanic plans.

    It's probably a matter of prefence whether you prefer the first or the second half of the movie but they are so different from each other that few people will equally appreciate both parts. The first half is atmospheric, mysterious and surprising as it convinces with clever storytelling and intriguing characters. It recalls numerous European murder mystery films as especially the German Edgar Wallace films and the Italian giallo genre come to mind. The second half is much more brutal, experimental and frantic and ventures into experimental cinematography with hectic camera work, numerous flashbacks and colourful locations. It's a mixture of Japan's very own pink film genre of the sixties and American pre-war science-fiction and horror cinema somewhere between King Kong and Island of Lost Souls.

    In the end, Horrors of Malformed Men is certainly daring, entertaining and unconventional. However, the script is all over the place and the conclusion might even be too unconventional for most open-minded cineasts. Ishii Teruo should have created two different movies here instead of putting together two ideas that don't gel.

    Partager via Gmail Delicious Technorati Yahoo! Google Bookmarks Blogmarks Pin It





    Suivre le flux RSS des articles
    Suivre le flux RSS des commentaires