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Rusty Knife More at IMDbPro »Sabita naifu (original title)

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Fine Japanese noir

Author: samhill5215 from United States
15 September 2009

There's much to like about this film for noir enthusiasts. Moody characters, flawed protagonists, a great soundtrack, loose women, expert use of shadows to underline the plot, and much, much more. This is one that'll keep you riveted to the end. That said, there's some cheesy stuff as well. In particular plot elements that sometimes pop up rather conveniently take away from an otherwise very neat movie. The dialog can be stiff although some of that may be a result of the translation from the Japanese. Some sound effects, or rather their absence left me wondering. For example in the chase scene it looked as if the trucks were smashing each other yet there was no sound of the crash, just of the racing engines. In fight scenes the punches weren't always accompanied by the sound of a punch, or you could hear one but see no punch. Finally the choreography of the fight scenes left much to be desired. People flew around without being touched and punches were thrown that obviously did not connect. The studio should have taken lessons from Hollywood about staging fights. But all in all, a fine movie that also reunites two fine actors, Yujiro Ishihara and Mie Kitahara, who two years earlier starred in "Crazed Fruit".

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Rusty Knife (1958)

Author: mevmijaumau from Croatia
22 May 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Here's another of Nikkatsu noir films, made to compete with the French and American films of the same genre on the Japanese box office (you can sense the inspirations because one of the villains in this film likes to throw in random French phrases here and there a la Del Boy Trotter). Rusty Knife is a directorial debut of Toshio Masuda, who went on to become one of the most popular Nikkatsu directors, and who was also thrown out of a kamikaze training school in 1945 for his anti- militaristic beliefs. The film stars Nikkatsu regulars like Akira Kobayashi, Joe Shishido in a small role, and the Yujiro Ishihara-Mie Kitahara pairing like in the previous film of the Eclipse set, I Am Waiting.

Rusty Knife refers to the protagonist, who, like the characters from I Am Waiting, is haunted by his past for he had to murder someone with a knife, and has since been trying to go straight edge. Obviously, these films were very, very studio formula-driven, but Rusty Knife has an advantage at handling this plot point, because much of the hero's characterization takes its roots in the incident, while the characters' pasts in I Am Waiting weren't touched upon in detail. Also, as made clear by the fullscreen-to-NikkatsuScope-widescreen switch between the two films, Rusty Knife is more action-based and flows like a thriller.

The movie has a stable plot for the most part, but Mie Kitahara's presence doesn't have much depth, unlike in IAW. Here, her character isn't really that important and the other female character is almost pointless. The bad guys are better done this time, however, the final confrontation is an anti-climactic let-down and it resorts to the age- old cliché "let's just have the villain die by getting run over by a randomly approaching car, instead of giving the protagonist bloodied hands".

Rusty Knife has a typical noir plot; not anything special but entertaining. Despite this, the film suffers from severe technical hiccups. Crucial sound effects sometimes aren't heard (truck chase scene), the music is inserted awkwardly (truck chase scene), the fight choreography is bad and the punches obviously don't connect, and the scene where Kobayashi's character drives a motorcycle through the city with his girlfriend is so obviously shot against a studio backdrop, looks very unrealistic, and is truly baffling. I mean, why is it even there?

The film opens and closes, much like IAW, with a jazzy tune sung by Yujiro Ishihara, but it doesn't fit the movie's thrill-oriented tone as opposed to IAW's melancholy feel. It just seems out of place here. Overall, Rusty Knife is followable enough, but it truly suffers from its flaws.

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A nice little Japanese noir film

Author: planktonrules from Bradenton, Florida
14 March 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I recently have watched several early Japenese film noir projects by director Toshio Masudaand have enjoyed them very much. While I doubt if they'd be considered classics, they are tough little films that pack a lot of entertainment into them. "Sabita Naifu" ("Rusty Knife") is another one of his excellent noir films.--and the first film he directed.

The story is set in a relatively new town where the old style Japanese mobsters have taken hold. The problem is that repeatedly witnesses to various mob crimes have refuse to testify--either because of fear of retribution or because of payoffs. Early in the film, the District Attorney thought he had a lead on some witnesses but they are found by the mob first and killed. The only lead the DA now has is a man named Tachibana--who just got out of prison for killing a man who apparently raped his girlfriend (and the girlfriend committed suicide following this assault). Tachibana at first just wants to be left alone--he wants to reform and lead a normal life now. But, when he learns that the man he killed was NOT the only one who raped his girlfriend (it was, he just learned, a gang rape--and the man he killed was NOT the ringleader), he decides to seek justice. To complicated matters is a new friendship he's formed with a nice young lady--and how this actually is related to the rape and suicide is something you'll need to see for yourself.

The acting and directing were all very good--direct, brutal and exciting to watch. While I have seen better Japanese noir, it is still very, very good noir and well worth seeing if you like crime films.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Great story

Author: zetes from Saint Paul, MN
7 September 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The best of the three Nikkatsu Noir films I've seen so far in the new Eclipse box set. Yujiro Ishihara and Akira Kobayashi star as two former criminals who are outed as witnesses to a murder committed by a local yakuza boss. The police are trying to convince the two to come forward so they can finally get a conviction against the smooth criminal, and the gangsters are trying to pay them off, with the threat of death looming on the horizon. This is just a very well written story, very complicated but not difficult to follow. The film-making is also quite good. Ishihara in particular gives a fantastic performance. His Crazed Fruit and I Am Waiting co-star Mari Shiraki has a major role. Jo Shishido of Branded to Kill fame also has a minor role as the guy who originally outs the two guys in a blackmail attempt. He meets an unfortunate fate.

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