Acting boss Hirotani of the Ohara gang uses his friendship with corrupt cop Kuno to usurp a staged land deal that rival yakuza gang Kawade had arranged through local politicians. Open warfare erupts between the two gangs.
Okita finally is released from the joint, the world outside had changed dramatically, even how gang life operates. In Kinji Fukasaku's brutal character study, you find a yakuza that has a untamed rage & lack of respect for authority yet finds himself leading the remnants of the gang he once belonged to inorder to secure a area of their own... It paved the way for Fukasaku's Yakuza Papers series. Written by
Street Mobster is among my favorite yakuza films, and from one of my favorite Japanese directors. This is a great, less-popular Fukasaku film, and it really deserves more attention.
Okita is our "hero", if you can call him that. He's hot-heated, violent, and unapologetic. I can't think of a time in the film where he really shows restraint. He's just such an over-the-top, punk rockin' character who doesn't care about rival gangs or other thugs; he wants to do what he wants, when he wants to. And that's definitely the driving force behind the film, it's explosive nature. It's so unglamorous and filthy at times, and yet you have this sense of a man living his life, maybe not to it's full potential, but having a hell of a lot of fun doing what he's doing. And maybe he's not even enjoying it, everything else is just too conformist for him. He simply doesn't back down. So he really is a hero, a hero to the downtrodden. A counterculture icon, a raging machine.
With it's boisterous protagonist comes a slew of background characters who are really just there to make Okita the centerpiece. Aside from the prostitute that he raped years earlier and now forms a bond with (Whose name I can't even remember!) there are few other noteworthy characters. And that's really okay. When they speak, they speak to get Okita's reaction. If you don't like Okita, then you're probably not going to like the film. Me, I enjoyed this rebellious, non-conformist gangster, yelling and picking fights. It was just so over-the-top and the director clearly embraced the punk style that was emerging at the time of this film's release.
Speaking of release time, I just watched the film again a few minutes ago, and I still can't believe it was made in 1972. I'm sure you've heard it before, but it's way ahead of it's time. It looks 90s-ish to me. The shaky-cam and jump cuts stand out most as then-foreign techniques. Of course, now they've become the norm in films.
So that's my short review. I don't feel that there's a whole lot more ground to cover as Okita is really the main attraction. So if you're looking to kill 87 minutes and consider yourself a fan of exciting cinema, look no further than Street Mobster.
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