The melancholy, homely Kamimura is a hit man who takes a job to kill a mob boss who's gotten greedy. The rival gang lord who hires Kamimura and his driver Shun pays them and sets them up in a hotel for a night while arranging safe passage on a ship. The son of the dead man comes to his rival and offers a partnership and cash in exchange for Kamimura's death. The boss considers his choice: morals or money? A maid at the hotel tries to aid the escape of Kamimura and Shun. As the two gangs close in, Kamimura chooses honor. Will his stoicism be his shroud? Written by
A Colt is My Passport (one of the most bad-ass titles ever?), starring Jo Shishido without his sunglasses, is the final, and definitely the best movie from the Nikkatsu Noir Eclipse box-set. It's directed by Takashi Nomura, by far the most obscure director on the set. Aside from this film, his only somewhat-not-that-obscure film is the Eastern- Western Fast-Draw-Guy (1961), which also starred Shishido and earned him the nickname Joe the Ace. As much as I'd like to see a spaghetti western made in Japan, it's unfortunately too obscure to be found.
This movie, however, has a Morricone-like soundtrack that sounds like it should accompany a spaghetti western instead, with all the whistles and gunshots and everything that goes with it. But what's really surprising is that this music fits A Colt is My Passport perfectly, especially its final scene.
Unfortunately, most of the plot is nothing to write home about, as the cool beginning and the orgasmically epic ending are simply too good for the middle portion of the film. The plot isn't really handled in an interesting way, and the token female character here is basically pointless (really, what purpose did she serve to the plot again?). So as I said, this film has to be seen specifically for the well-shot intro which shows the mob boss being assassinated, and the ending. Oh God, that ending. It's flawless. One of the best movie endings I've ever seen. Just... Holy sh*t. Those final 15 minutes more than make up for the cluelessness of the majority of the storyline.
What makes the visuals of this film way better than the other ones from the same set is that it's not simply a copy of American noir photography. Nomura's movie is mostly bright grey and taking place during the day, with cool contemporary architecture and memorable set- pieces, like the tavern window that looks like a rifle scope frame. Technically, it's a superb film, and the final fifteen minutes are brilliant, but sadly the middle portion of the plot loses itself a little.
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