6 February 2007 | squelcho
Made for TV Miike mayhem
The further you delve in to the Miike back catalogue, the more obvious it becomes that the guy had the art of dramatic pacing down to a tee from very early on. TV production involves fast shooting schedules and slick editing: both of which Miike excels at.
This bloody yakuza revenge flick arrived a year after the excellent Bodyguard Kiba/ Chiba remake, and a year before Black Triad Society. You can see the template being developed for that movie, and the succession of increasingly brutal yakuza movies like Agitator, Kikoku, and Deadly Outlaw Rekka in the wild intro, the disposable spaghetti style henchmen, and the close quarters kamikaze gunfights.
Inspiration isn't a crime, so the familiar elements from the early works of Fukasaku, Gosha, and Nakajima count as a big plus for me. Some action movies sag during the necessary lulls between the blam blam set pieces, but Miike easily fills those scenes with subplots that eventually implode around the finale. A finale which in this case bore a passing resemblance to both Machinegun Dragon and the awesome DOA.
Bunta Sugawara and Sonny Chiba probably inspired a whole generation of Japanese kids to make high octane action movies. A job well done in this case. If you like the straightforward bad boy rebel yakuza style, then don't hesitate to grab yourself a copy. The setup is offbeat, and it sets the tone perfectly for the duration.