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Part of the cycle of genre and Yakuza movies that Suzuki directed for Nikkatsu in the early to mid sixties, this film is one of his most memorable. It may not be as well known here as other films in this cycle, probably due to the period setting (1925), and the fact that the middle section has no fighting or action, as it focuses on the fugitive yakuza hiding in the crew of a tunnel construction project.
Suzuki's design sense shines here, with bridges, trains, boats serving as a modern architectural counterpoint to the beautiful Japanese open vistas. It is interesting how similar the themes of this movie are to recent genre films such as Bangkok Dangerous, and how different the execution. The action scenes are short bursts of stylized fighting mixing gunplay with samurai action. The story is more engaging than Suzuki's other Yakusa films. I got the feeling that the director was trying his best to explode the strict confines of the genre, while delivering a commercial product. The buildup to the extraordinary final confrontation, a choreographed samurai style fight inside and outside a traditional Japanese house, is very satisfying. Also interesting are the weird touches like the red boots two of the movie's characters wear.
In my humble opinion, another classic from Mr Suzuki.
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