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Bodyguard Kiba (V) More at IMDbPro »Bodigaado Kiba (original title)

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13 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Bodyguard Kiba

7/10
Author: I_John_Barrymore_I from United Kingdom
22 March 2006

There's next to nothing in terms of the visual brilliance he would later show, but Miike's film is a solid, exciting Yakuza/martial arts hybrid that moves along at a snappy pace and never outstays it's welcome.

Junpei, a low-level Yakuza, steals 500 million yen from his boss. While he's being interrogated, a stroke of good luck saves his life and lands him in prison for five years. Upon release, he hires invincible professional bodyguard Kiba to escort him to the hidden loot, so he can find his girlfriend and escape forever. Every step of the way the two are ambushed by angry Yakuza, and even angrier students from a rival Dojo who are mortified by Kiba's alleged comments that his Karate is more effective than theirs.

It's a fun ride, with plenty of action and neat twists. The plot allows for both martial arts and gun-play, so there's something for everyone to get their teeth into. The two main characters, Junpei and Kiba, have great chemistry, and they form a tenuous bond - Miike's brotherhood theme raising it's head, although it's explored better in later films.

Thoroughly enjoyable.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Miike finally disappoints

5/10
Author: lastliberal from United States
22 August 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I have seen some very good work from Takashi Miike - Ichi the Killer, Graveyard of Honor - but this was a real disappointment. There were only a few instances of fighting and two were a real disappointment.

The basic story is simple. A failed boxer and minor thug named named Junpei (Daisuke Nagakure) decides to take a Yakuza group's money and run. He gets caught and sent to prison after hiding the money. When he gets out of prison, he hires Kiba (Takeshi Yamato) to go get the money with him so he can return it and free his girl. Only he doesn't know she is with someone else now. Did he think she was going to wait for him? There was one instance where one Karate master took on seven with various weapons. The whole thing was over in a minute! At the end, there was a Rocky/Apollo Creed match between the bodyguard and a local cop. It lasted 30 seconds! There was just too little action and too much talking.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

The first watchable Miike

5/10
Author: olz_15 (olz_15@hotmail.com) from Australia
11 October 2009

This is a fairly stock standard straight to video yakuza film. Although the actor playing Kiba is incredibly wooden, the rest of the cast make up for this. This is early Miike, so there's nothing terribly excessive yet, but it is competently told with some nice lighting, camera-work and stunt work. The Kiba sequels are pretty terrible though.

The pacing is really good in this one as well. I often find pacing an issue with Miike films, but the plot is quite tight, and the few unnecessary scene are short and often involve some entertaining stunts.

There is a really beautifully shot sex scene in this one as well, which is very surprising for a gritty v film

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Pretty good, but not for everyone

7/10
Author: planktonrules from Bradenton, Florida
13 May 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Every time I watch a film directed by Takashi Miike I am not sure what to expect. Some times you get the incredibly sick and violent sort of film that turns me off--such as "Ichi the Killer" or "Audition". I know that these both are cult favorites, but those who don't love these films usually hate them because of their brutality and violent images. Oddly, there's another Miike that is whimsical and even family-friends--with such wonderful titles as "Zebraman", "The Great Yokai War" and, my personal favorite "The Happiness of the Katakuris". Because his films seem to go from one extreme to another, I really am hesitant any time I watch one of his films.

It is very odd, then, that a violent yakuza martial arts film wasn't really THAT hard to watch--though it also is odd what the director could not get away with and what he could--at least for an American watching the film. While he COULD show repeated rapes, hot & sweaty sex and lots of punching and kicking, like other Japanese films, there is no frontal nudity (though there is LOTS of nudity otherwise) and whenever people are depicted doing drugs in a graphic manner, the image is all pixilated. I assume it must be against the rules of Japanese censors to show someone injecting drugs or even filling a syringe with a drug--as every shot was done this way. Now I do find it odd that you CAN portray rape and extreme violence but no pubic hair--not that I wanted this in the film, but which is worse for kids or teens to see? Now I do not want to make this review a criticism of Japanese cinema--heck, I have a lot more complaints about American cinema any way! These are just a few observations and a viewer might want to know what they're in for when they see this movie.

The film begins with a dumb young punk doing something very, very stupid. He steals 500,000,000 yen from the mob. They catch the dummy but he's lucky and able to avoid death by being sent to prison for five years. When he gets out, the mob is waiting to kill him AFTER they beat the whereabouts of their money out of him. However, the dummy is no idiot and he arranges for the services of a bodyguard to meet him when he's released. And, luckily, he's got Kiba working for him--a very quiet and not particularly charismatic karate expert who seems unstoppable. It was nice to see that the guy in this role actually was awfully good at martial arts--though the cop who is supposed to be a karate expert obviously isn't. He ain't bad, but he's not very good either--despite what the film implies.

Not surprisingly, Kiba kicks the snot out of a lot of guys soon after taking this assignment. However, in an interesting and funny twist, the mobsters try to get Kiba killed by publishing an article where Kiba supposedly insulted all of Okinawan Karate--hoping this would get him out of the way. However, Kiba's sensei instead accepts the challenges and the scenes with him fighting the eight Okinawan experts is pretty cool---and funny.

Before the young dummy goes to get his stolen 500,000,000, he informs Kiba that he must find his long-lost girlfriend. Surprisingly, Kiba is a bit of a softy and helps the guy find her. But, despite the hot sex that ensues, this meeting with the ex- is NOT a good thing and leads to many, many dangers. I'd say more, but I don't want to ruin the film. Suffice to say that a lot of kicking and punching is involved and the final confrontation scene is exceptional...and bloody.

Overall, despite my description and copious amounts of sweaty sex, this is MUCH more family-friendly than "Ichi" and "Audition"....but that isn't saying much. While not a great film, the action scenes are generally very good, the plot decent and it ended on a high note. Worth seeing, but also pretty intense and NOT for younger audiences. This is still an adult movie.

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Early Miike worth skipping

2/10
Author: WraithApe from London, England
18 September 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Even the most ardent Miike fan would struggle to salvage anything praiseworthy from this low-budget thriller come karate flick, hamstrung as it is by a muddy colour palette and poor production values. It may appeal to fans of martial arts, but personally I have no love for that genre.

The story is pretty clichéd: small-time player Junpei betrays his Yakuza clan, the Soryu Group, and stashes away ¥500m before being arrested and doing 5 years in jail. After he is released, he aims to pick up where he left off with his old flame and recoup his ill-gotten gains, but realizing his former boss will be out for blood, he hires Dojo master Kiba to protect him. On returning to Tokyo, the Soryu Group's apparent kidnapping of his girlfriend leads him on a rescue mission that isn't quite all that it seems...

Any Yakuza film that features virtually no guns, where scores are settled by hand-to-hand combat, is pushing the bounds of credibility. That the villains then line up, one by one, to be round-housed into unconsciousness, just adds insult to injury. The film also has a very 80s feel to it, consummated in the faintly ridiculous final sequence, when the score bursts into a saxophone solo as the end credits roll.

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