Yakuza | Varied Celluloid

Beyond Outrage

Posted by Josh Samford On June - 4 - 2014

Beyond Outrage (2012)
Director: Takeshi Kitano
Writers: Takeshi Kitano
Starring: Beat Takeshi, Toshiyuki Nishida, Tomokazu Miura, and Fumiyo Kohinata

The Plot: This sequel to Takeshi Kitano’s 2010 film Outrage takes place in the years following the events of the first movie. Otomo (Beat/Takeshi Kitano) is shown serving time in prison with very little interest in the yakuza life. However, the police are soon rattled when a government official is revealed to have been murdered in what appears to have been a yakuza execution. Corrupt detective Shigeta (Yutaka Matsushige) is placed on the case along with his straight-edge partner, and Shigeta immediately begins investigating the new leader of the Sanno-Kai syndicate, Kato (Tomokazu Miura). Detective Shigeta instigates as much turmoil in the Sanno-Kai syndicate as he can, but when his first attempts to cause internal struggle within the group is foiled, he turns to Otomo in order to find an ally. Otomo had a falling out with the Sanno-Kai, but will he be pressured back into “the life”?

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Jeans Blues: No Future

Posted by Josh Samford On June - 3 - 2014

Jeans Blues: No Future (1974)
Director: Sadao Nakajima
Writers: Takeo Kaneko and Sadao Nakajima
Starring: Tsunehiko Watase, Meiko Kaji, and RyƓhei Uchida

The Plot: Hijiriko (Meiko Kaji) is hostess at a bar, Jiro (Tsunehiko Watase)nis a low-rent hood who is working with his buddies on their biggest score yet. In the same night, both of these outsiders run away from their jobs, but Jiro happens to take all of the prize money from this “big score” and now all of his old friends want him dead. So, with a laundry list of people searching for them, these two find a bond with one another and are soon enjoying their newfound riches. However, few great things are meant to last.

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New World

Posted by Josh Samford On July - 25 - 2013

New World (2013)
Director: Park Hoon-jung
Writers: Park Hoon-jung
Starring: Lee Jung-jae, Choi Min-sik, Hwang Jung-min, and Park Sung-woong

The Plot: New World is a South Korean gangster film that details a very tumultuous time in the history of Goldmoon, a legendary organized crime group. Similar to the yakuza in Japan, these gangsters are somewhere between legitimate enterprise and vicious crime outfit. When the head of this group is killed by way of a car accident, a war between factions seems like it may be on the rise. On one side there is the business-minded, but quite psychotic, Joong-gu (played by Park Sung-woong), and on the other there is Jung Chung (Hwang Jung-min) – a young man who enjoys only the finest things in life and isn’t afraid to be shallow. Stuck in between these two is Jung Chung’s right-hand-man, Ja-sung (Lee Jung-jae). Ja-sung is actually an undercover police officer, and after years of working within Goldmoon he is being set up to be second in command of the entire enterprise. However, Ja-sung no longer wants this life. With a child on the way, he hopes to finally leave this awful business behind him. Unfortunately, his commanding officer, Chief Kang (Choi Min-sik), refuses to allow it. He wants Ja-sung to continue until he is at the very top of the ladder. This is why he instigates a new operation, codenamed New World. Chief Kang believes that, by making the right moves, he can manipulate the organized crime business in Korea and have them obey his will. However, in this rugged and violent world, nothing falls together without blood being spilled.

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Bohachi Bushido: Code of the Forgotten Eight

Posted by Josh Samford On May - 15 - 2013

Bohachi Bushido: Code of the Forgotten Eight (1973)
Director: Teruo Ishii
Writers: San Kaji (screenplay), Kazuo Koike & Goseki Kojima (manga)
Starring: Tetsuro Tanba, Yuriko Hishimi, Goro Ibuki, and Kyoichi Sato.

The Plot: Bohachi Bushido tells a heartwarming story about forced prostitution, extreme violence, and cult activities. It begins in the Edo period where we find The Bohachi, a group that lives by a very distasteful code. They regularly track down women and then molest them until they no longer have regular desires or emotions. The group uses these brainwashed women for both financial and political gain, and when they save the wandering assassin Shino (Tetsuro Tanba), they assume that they now have the muscle needed in order to bring their group to a higher level. However, Shino is a man who takes orders from no one. When this group presses him to join their ranks, they quickly develop an enemy that they are unprepared for.

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Onibi: The Fire Within

Posted by Josh Samford On March - 11 - 2013

Onibi: The Fire Within (1997)
Director: Rokuro Mochizuki
Writers: Toshiyuki Morioka
Starring: Yoshio Harada, Reiko Kataoka, Sho Aikawa, and Kazuki Kitamura

The Plot: Onibi: The Fire Within follows Noriyuki Kunihiro (Yoshio Harada), an old-school yakuza who is recently released from prison. He has a reputation for being a bit of a loose cannon, a general powder keg just waiting to explode at any moment. It seems that Kunihiro’s time in the joint has helped to relax his soul and now that he’s out, he wants nothing more than a peaceful existence in mainstream society. This new peaceful mentality, of course, does not last long. An old yakuza acquaintance, Naoto Tanigawa (Sho Aikawa), shows back up in Kunihiro’s life and asks him to come work for his gang. Kunihiro explains his desperation to keep away from that side of life, but having no real way of earning any money he is forced to eventually take a job as a driver for this gang. During one of Kunihiro’s driving jobs, a few of Tanigawa’s goons get their heads bashed around while trying to collect money from the wrong group of people. When this happens, Kunihiro is forced to step in and do what he does best: lay a beating. Thus begins Kunihiro’s slide back into the lifestyle that he tried so hard to escape. Ultimately, as he gets more and more involved in the criminal lifestyle, his own nature will prove to be his greatest enemy.

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