Five men plot to steal a large sum of money from the local yakuza, but everything does not go as planned and the men find themselves hunted down by contract killers. Written by
Hans Wadsten <email@example.com>
The first Takashi Ishii movie I watched was his excellent rape/revenge thriller 'Freezer', but his reputation as an exciting director with a lot of potential mainly rests on his yakuza movies, of which 'Gonin' is perhaps the best known. This is a really impressive movie, very dark, strange and violent. The bare bones of the plot - a group of guys decide to rob some gangsters, the gangsters vow revenge - is one that we have seen many, many times before in American movies, but Ishii manages to put a fresh spin on it, with unusual characters, and consistently original direction. I was fascinated from beginning to end. The ensemble cast are all excellent, but the most memorable performances are by Naoto Takenaka (who later appeared in 'Freezer', and Tsukamoto's astonishing 'Tokyo Fist'), who plays the unhinged salaryman Ogiwara, and cult figure Beat Takeshi, who plays Kyoya, the ruthless eyepatched hitman. Takeshi steals every scene he is in, and plays one of the nastiest characters of his career, only really topped by the psycho he played in his own 'Boiling Point'. 'Gonin' is highly recommended to anyone who enjoys doomed caper films, a genre that has its fair share of classics from 'Bob Le Flambeur' and 'The Killing' to 'Reservoir Dogs' and 'The Usual Suspects'. Add 'Gonin' to the list of those crime classics. Yes, it's that good!
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