A westerner named Casey, studying Ninjutsu in Japan, is asked by the Sensei to return to New York to protect the legendary Yoroi Bitsu, an armored chest that contains the weapons of the last Koga Ninja.
Based on a novel by Ryosuke Kakine, Heat Island is a comical look into not so usual day in the life of street gangs in Tokyo. There are three group of gangsters, and a pair of thieves who are out to get/retrieve a bag full of stolen money. One thing leads to another and turns into a fine mess that keeps everyone involved on their toes.
Kakizawa (Tsuyoshi Ihara), Momoi (Shigeki Hosokawa) and Orita (Matsuo Suzuki) are professional thieves who steals only from gangs and politicians. They pull a heist on illegal casino run by gang family Matsutanigumi and steals north of eighty million yen. Orita decides he wants out from the trio, and gets blessings from his buddies. While drinking at a bar celebrating his retirement, Orita runs into Takeshi (Naoya Urata) and Satoru (Shouhei Suzuki) who are members of street gang "Guilty" run by Aki (Yu Shirota) . Takeshi was beating up a girl (Yoko), and Orita butts in and ruffs up Takeshi. Takeshi decides to ambush Orita as he's comes out of the bar, and beats him up with a bat. Takeshi flees with Orita's bag containing his share which amounts to 30 million yen. Aki is furious when he finds out that Takeshi stole a bag filled with cash as it must belong to a "professional" gangster who would be coming after them to retrieve the money. They realize that their life might be in danger if the owner decides to put a hit on them. Aki decides to give the money back to the owner but he's not sure where to locate him. He puts a feeler out on the street to see if anyone is looking for them. Dragon's Tail - a South American gang who're spying on Matsutanigumi learns about the heist, and decides to go after the money. Matsutanigumi visits Asakawagumi run by Kuroki (Kosuke Toyohara) to get permission to look for the stolen money in their turf. Kuroki decides to rip off the money if he finds it. Matsutanigumi finds out about this, and aren't one bit happy about this. They decide to follow Kuroki to find Aki (and they succeed). Koroki blackmails Aki to hand over half the money as protection money. Aki feigns ignorance about the money. In the mean time Jun (Yu Koyanagi) who's a member of Guilty suggests to hide the money bag at one of his girlfriend Yoko's (Chiaki Ito) place (same Yoko who Orita saved). He switches bag's content with Yoko's Louis Vitton bag. Yoko goes to the hospital where Orita is staying with her Vitton bag not knowing that Jun put Orita's money into it. Dragon's Tail finds Orita and steals the money. In the mean time Aki negotiates with Kuroki at his office. Kakizawa, and Momoi follows Aki to Kuroki's office, and so does Matsutanigumi. All converges at Kuroki's office and pandemonium breaks loose. Ryuichi (Sosuke Takaoka) who just got fired by Kuroki tracks down Dragon's Tail, and retrieves the money. The money still has fate's hand awaiting in stall.
There's some blood and killing, but the story maintains good humor and irony sprinkled at all the right places. You need to see the story to its end to see all the twisted story winds to their conclusions. The plot is excellent, and screen play is also excellent. All the actors are top notch in their performance especially Yu Shirota who played Aki. He really steals the show burying all the senior actors who has much more acting experience than him. All this amounts to a quality film that's worth watching.
Great movie to watch, and is highly recommended.
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