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The Born Fighter (1966) More at IMDbPro »Kenka erejî (original title)

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Release Date:
9 November 1966 (Japan) See more »
In Okayama in the mid-1930s, Kiroku attends high school and boards with a Catholic family whose daughter... See more » | Add synopsis »
User Reviews:
The Wong Jing of Japan Strikes Again See more (9 total) »


  (in credits order)

Directed by
Seijun Suzuki 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Mitsutoshi Ishigami  screenplay (uncredited)
Kaneto Shindô 
Takashi Suzuki  novel

Produced by
Kazu Ôtsuka .... producer
Original Music by
Naozumi Yamamoto 
Cinematography by
Kenji Hagiwara 
Film Editing by
Mutsuo Tanji 
Production Design by
Takeo Kimura 
Art Direction by
Takeo Kimura 
Production Management
Masanori Yamanoi .... executive in charge of production
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Masami Kuzû .... assistant director
Sound Department
Yoshinobu Akino .... sound
Masatoshi Takase .... fight choreographer
Camera and Electrical Department
Hideo Kumagai .... gaffer
Other crew
Masaaki Honme .... dialect supervisor
Hiroshi Takao .... dialect supervisor

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Kenka erejî" - Japan (original title)
"Fighting Elegy" - International (English title) (imdb display title), USA (DVD title)
See more »
86 min
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Movie Connections:
Referenced in 100 Years of Japanese Cinema (1995) (TV)See more »


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4 out of 41 people found the following review useful.
The Wong Jing of Japan Strikes Again, 13 June 2009
Author: ebossert from United States

It has become clear that Seijun Suzuki is the Wong Jing of Japan, sporting an equally lame sense of "humor" that consists of hysterical behavior and incessant screaming within poorly constructed, thoughtless scenarios. It's no wonder this idiot got canned by Nikkatsu and subsequently blacklisted after his lame crapfest "Branded to Kill" (1967), which showcased ineptly constructed shootouts, gratuitous sexual content, lots of bad acting, and a preposterous ending with some dimwit acting hysterical in a boxing ring. If a director of mine dropped that pile of elephant compost on my desk, I'd fire his ass too.

As a viewer, I was unlucky enough to experience Suzuki's "Pistol Opera" (2001) first, which still holds the dubious record for "Worst Movie Ever Made" in my book. With "Princess Raccoon" (2005), however, Suzuki proved that his abject stupidity could yield a flawed, yet moderately entertaining film, but my patience is running thin. I've got lots of Asian movies to watch, and I don't like wasting my time with directors who have a 33% success ratio. "Fighting Elegy" (1966) just made it 25%.

At no point is this movie remotely funny or engaging. It uses the "40-year-old acting like a juvenile child" gag that – in and of itself – is utterly lame and it just grates on the nerves from the very first minute. Characters have zero complexity and the fight scenes are a disgrace in their artificiality and persistent use of biting, nosepicking, and people falling over each other. None of the fights look real and seem to be the victim of incompetent directing as the baddies look as if their swatting flies the entire time. The camera-work uses amateur ploys like random closeups and rapid editing for no apparently good reason. These tactics are sure fire points of condemnation when presented in modern day films, but somehow magically become "brilliant" and "masterful" when presented in a Japanese film released before 1970. Go figure.

Don't misunderstand me, because I really do like pre-1970 Japanese cinema. Seriously, I do. For example, of the 17 Yasujiro Ozu films I've had the pleasure of seeing, 4 were excellent, 5 were very good, 6 were good, and 2 were mediocre. That's an 88% success ratio, which means that I froth at the mouth to watch more of his films. However, the difference between a great director like Ozu and low-talent assclowns like Seijun Suzuki and Akira Kurosawa is that Ozu is capable of directing actors properly and understands that quaint realism can supersede thoughtless hysterical behavior and/or melodramatic fluff.

On a side note, I fired up a few of Suzuki's interviews that were included as special features on the DVD releases. It's uncomfortable hearing him pat himself on the back while gloating about the fact that he focuses on entertainment value first and foremost. The problem is that Suzuki's idea of "entertainment" results in contrived silliness mixed with uninteresting, undeveloped content. I fear that the only reason "Princess Raccoon" worked as an entertainment vehicle was because it had an implicitly interesting premise and was structured within a self-referential fantasy world where contrivance felt natural. Perhaps Suzuki should make another stage-play style musical, because his attempts at real life humor are abysmal and shallow at best.

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