Sympathy for the Underdog (1971)

  |  Crime, Drama

Sympathy for the Underdog (1971) Poster

A yakuza gang gets driven out of Yokohama by a big gang from Tokyo. They relocate to Okinawa to violently start over.


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15 July 2005 | FrankieDees
| Brilliant Fukasaku yakuza picture which clearly inspired....
need I say it?...Tarantino. Kinji Fukasaku in my opinion inspired Tarantino more than any other filmmaker; De Palma, Scorsese, Suzuki among them. The dialog beats, the action beats, even the music seems all vaguely familiar to Tarantino's filmography. Fukasaku is THE yakuza director. While I'm sure most yakuza fans will opt for Seijun Suzuki who came first and who, no doubt, inspired Fukasaku, I compare it to Ford vs. Kurosawa. Ford clearly inspired Kurosawa but Kurosawa took these inspirations and combined them with his own sensibilities to make something truly unique. The same goes for Suzuki and Fukasaku. Watch this and the Yakuza Papers films which are sold together in a great box set and tell me this guy isn't the best. The narrative of Sympathy is not particularly original, it's the age-old small gang vs. big gang which can be seen in this all the way to the recent Miike films. What makes this special is the feeling of the film. The dialog, acting, music, cinematography, style all combine for an unforgettable visceral experience. It's impossible to watch this film and not be drawn in by Koji Tsuruta's performance as the ultimate bad-ass. Fukasaka is also the same man that made the ridiculously entertaining and witty Battle Royale and who died in the middle of Battle Royale II in which his son took over. Home Vision Entertainment did a great job on this DVD and I recommend any yakuza or action fan pick this up immediately.

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Release Date:

12 January 1971


English, Japanese

Country of Origin


Filming Locations

Urasoe, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan

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