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Old 23rd November 2015, 10:23 AM
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MacBlayne MacBlayne is offline
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Originally Posted by keirarts View Post
Still in a Yakuza frame of mind so watched ....

Massacre gun

Hamster cheeked Jo Shishido plays mob hitman Kuroda who is forced to kill his mistress by his boss. Realising what a heartless son of a bitch he is, and backed up by his brothers who have also been screwed over by the boss Kuroda decides to go to war. After some initial successes the war begins to get dirty with plenty of double crosses and betrayals. Eventually he faces off against the mobs remaining men on an empty freeway in order to settle things for good.
Coming a few years prior to the game changing Battles without honour or humanity massacre gun comes from Nikkatsu studios who cranked out a huge number of titles each year for their theatres. Therefore its a little more formulaic than Battles, however its not a film to write off as its still got plenty of style and attitude to recommend it. Shot in stark black & white, more an indication that the studio didn't consider it one of their A titles than any direct stylistic choice, (colour was reserved for their 'diamond stars') its delivers a noir style thriller chock full of Jazz and brutal violence. Stylistically it feels like a cross between the work of Sam Fuller and Don Siegel with a startling ending that really really delivers the goods.

Retaliation

Akira Kobayashi plays a Yakuza fresh out of Jail finding his 'family' decimated and the brother of the man he killed (played by ol hamster cheeks himself Jo Shishido) however grudges must be set to one side as Akira is offered a gig in a small out the way town where a new factory is being built bringing fresh opportunities. The only downer is the two rival families feuding over the land are having no luck whatsoever in getting the local farmers to sign away the line. Akira, with Shishido in tow must head to the town, get the signatures and take care of the local gangs which he does with some success. Things never go entirely to plan and our young thugs success prompts his new Yakuza bosses to decide to take things over. Royally pissed Akira and Jo go to war against their bosses leading to a bloody conclusion.
Given Kobayashi's popularity, Nikkatsu shell out here for full colour and the violence is as bloody as ever as the film delivers plenty of Yakuza on Yakuza violence mixed in with a tale of the importance of respecting rural traditions.

Youth of the beast

More Nikkatsu action. This one from director Seijun Suzuki who was almost as prolific as Jess Franco but as the 60's kicked in began to develop a style thjat would culminate in Tokyo drifter, widely considered one of his greatest artistic achievements (and one I'll watch tomorrow night when i'm not so tired)
Jo 'Hamster cheeks' Shishido is back as a thug who ends up working for a sadist Yakuza and his pimp brother. Jo begins to work for his rival as well and begins to play one side against another. It quickly becomes apparent Jo is looking for his friends killer and is using the mob to get the information he needs.
The ever present brutal violence is present as usual but Youth actually manages to stand out from other Yakuza flicks of the 60's and feels like a dry run for drifter. Surreal psychedelic backdrops, odd surrealistic thugs with gun fetishes, vivid colour scheme with each frame looking frankly beautiful. It feels like Mario Bava and Sam Fuller teamed up to deliver a crime movie. youth is well worth checking out.
I wrote reviews for a website a while back for Massacre Gun and Retaliation. Massacre Gun was a cracker. The climax is what 2.35:1 framing was invented for.
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