Hiroshima Death Match (1973)

Not Rated   |    |  Action, Crime, Drama

Hiroshima Death Match (1973) Poster

A young criminal joins a yakuza family to kill the gangsters who beat him up, but falls in love with his boss' widow niece, piling up enemies and corpses along his wayward way.


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11 September 2005 | fertilecelluloid
| Deliriously anarchic crime drama
The focus of this highly engaging second installment is Kin'ya Kitaoji's "Shoji Yamanaka" character, a brooding, shy, impulsive man who places the highest premium on his love for his boss's niece, a humble, passionate woman who vows to wait for him when he is incarcerated for a series of brutal murders.

The political machinations of the yakuza world provide bloody, non-stop thrills in this deliriously anarchic crime drama that is never less than fascinating for its attention to personal details and vivid pictorial exploration of a criminal, country-wide hornet's nest.

Despite the impressive performance of Sonny Chiba as an ultra-psychotic "torpedo" and the weighty presence of Bunta Sagawara (who takes a back seat in this episode), the film does belong to Fukomoto. His turn as Yamanaka is extraordinary and he makes us empathize with the character. Fukasaku's handling of the romance is deft and touching without ever becoming cloying.

Once again, the action sequences are brutal and unforgiving and the camera-work by Sadaji Yoshida is, at times, mesmerizing. The film's final twenty minutes, where Yamanaka is hunted in the rainy laneways of Hiroshima, are quite beautiful.

A plaudit should also go to composer Toshiaki Tsushima who delivers a driving, organic, highly memorable score.

Another triumph.

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